Cosmetic Surgery Tips

Can you do a hair transplant on a scar?

Progressive hair thinning and hair loss are worrying sights but waking up from surgery to discover that a section of your hair is missing is all the more distressing. Scars that are on the head, whether they are on your scalp or on your face, are very visible. Generally, these types of scars are caused by burns, surgery, skin grafts, radiation therapy, or an injury.

A hair transplant on a scar is a permanent solution to hide the visibility of this damaged area. By restoring the natural hair growth, you will no longer be able to see the scarring and you’ll be able to move on from it.

In this guide, we review the aspects of:

  • Can you do a hair transplant on a scar?
  • Do scars remain after hair transplant?
  • Will a hair transplant work on scarring alopecia?
  • When are you not a good candidate for hair transplant?

Can you do a hair transplant on a scar?

In order to protect an open wound from infection, our body first bleeds, then the blood clots to form a scab. The scab acts as a shield from bacteria and further external damage. Fibroblasts (a connective tissue cell that secretes collagen) then build restorative tissue beneath the scab formation.

Humans are born with all the hair follicles we will ever have – that’s a total of 5 million hair follicles. Hair doesn’t grow on a scar because the scarred area is new skin that doesn’t contain any hair follicles.

The growth of hair on a scar

When your skin becomes injured or burnt, the hair follicles in that location are destroyed and they don’t regenerate afterwards. Thus, the damaged area appears bald and with a slightly different skin texture and appearance.

Unfortunately, these scars are very visible on your head, especially if they are where hair grew before. A hair transplant on the scar is effective because it effectively covers the area meaning you won’t notice where the scar was.

Do scalp scars go away?

While scars won’t go away there are natural methods to reduce the visibility of scars. However, there isn’t a natural way to regrow hair here (only surgically through a hair transplant on scar tissue).

Eventually, the colour of your scarring can blend in with the surrounding skin, which means they become less noticeable. This process can be sped up using:

  • Aloe vera
  • Vitamin E
  • Honey
  • Coconut oil
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Lavender and olive oil
  • Lemon
  • Baking soda
  • Rosehip and frankincense

If your scar is on your face, makeup is sometimes an effective cover-up solution. Whereas if the scar is on this area of the scalp, wearing a hat or a headscarf is the easiest way to hide it although this isn’t always ideal. The most effective way to hide it on your head is with a hair transplant over the scar.

Can You Get a Hair Transplant on Scar Tissue?


When you contact us about your hair transplant, we will assess your scar and discuss the next steps with you. Since scars aren’t uniform, they are assessed on an individual basis. Therefore, the number of hair grafts needed is calculated depending on the size of the area.

Hair transplant procedure

Hair transplants can effectively cover areas of a scar by inserting individual hair follicles into the scarred skin. The blood supply to this skin is different compared to normal skin.

For that reason, more than one hair transplant on the scar may be required for a thick coverage of hair. As with a standard hair transplant, the hair grows 3-4 months after the procedure. Full hair growth is achieved after approximately 1 year.

During the hair restoration procedure:

  • Firstly, hairs are taken from a donor area (usually at the back or side of the head, but this will depend on where the scar is) using FUE hair transplant surgery.
  • Secondly, the hairs are placed into a nutrient-rich solution.
  • Thirdly, the transplanted hair follicles are inserted into the recipient area. The hair transplant procedures used depends on where the scar is, and what will achieve the best results.

Does a hair transplant on a scar hurt?

For all our hair transplant procedures we use a local anaesthetic that’s administered using the Sleep-Deep technique. This ensures that you are comfortable during the process.

We use this anaesthetic for normal hair transplants and for a hair transplant on scar tissue. Furthermore, it’s also used for transplants on the eyebrow (e.g. for alopecia eyebrows) and beard areas.

How can I hide scars from the FUT hair transplant procedure?

The FUT method of hair transplants is older than the FUE and used to leave a scar

In fact, your scar may not be caused by an injury but actually the result of an FUT hair transplant. FUT strip method hair transplants are an outdated technique that saw a strip of skin (full of hairs) removed from the back of the head.

This technique left a strip scar at the back of the head. Although it can be covered with long hair, it can also be visible. You can hide the transplant scars from a follicular unit transplant (FUT) with hair transplantation using the FUE method (follicular unit extraction).

This effectively inserts hairs into the scar, and when the hairs have grown the scar is no longer visible. Occasionally dot scars remain after the FUE procedure, but these are more naturally hidden by your hair than the strip scar.

Do scars remain after hair transplant?

Does an FUE hair transplant leave scars? The short answer to this is yes. All current hair transplant surgical procedures do. However, a carefully planned hair transplant should ensure no scar is visible to the naked eye. This depends on the skill and experience of the hair transplant surgeon.

In the following article, we discuss what these FUE scars might look like, the extent of them and how you can mitigate any visible scarring as a result of the surgery.

Can having an FUE Hair Transplant leave scars?

Even with modern hair transplant techniques, scarring after a hair transplant is inevitable. With most surgeries, there are always going to be pros and cons, from enhancing your appearance and regaining your confidence to potential scars and lengthy recovery times. 

While an FUE hair transplant is a very effective solution for various conditions such as male pattern baldness or a receding hairline, it will leave a small amount of scarring that is unnoticeable once the transplanted hair has grown back. Due to the nature of the FUE hair transplant procedure, the expected recovery time is often a lot quicker than other hair surgery methods, around 10-14 days. 

During the process, individual hair follicles will be extracted from the donor area on the back and sides of your head. As a result, small scars less than a millimetre in diameter will be present in the donor area from which each hair follicle has been extracted. These should be concealed when the hair grows to a length of grade 1 or 2. 

It is important to understand that a well-performed FUE hair transplant does not leave noticeable scars. This is dependent on the skill and experience of your hair transplant surgeon. At The Treatment Rooms London, we take pride in making sure our patients do not have noticeable scars following their surgery. This is one of the reasons why we are considered one of the number one choices for hair transplants in the UK. FUE Hair transplant scars

Hair regrowth after FUE hair transplant surgery at The Treatment Rooms London

Why does an FUE hair transplant leave scars?

FUE (follicular unit excision) hair transplant surgery involves taking each individual hair follicle and re-implanting it into areas that are balding. In order to extract a hair follicle, our surgeons need to cut around each hair using a small punch (0.7mm-0.9mm). This area of the scalp then heals in 2-3 weeks, creating small 0.7mm-0.9mm sized scars in the places where hair follicles have been taken out.

FUE Hair Transplant Surgery Diagram

Is it possible to have a scar-free hair transplant?

It is not possible to have no scar formation during an FUE hair transplant. The process must involve cutting around each hair follicle individually. Because of this, having scars is unavoidable. However, a core principle of FUE hair transplant surgery is the ability of the surgeon to conceal these scars. This means you won’t see the scars that form unless you cut your hair very short.

Hiding scars in FUE hair transplant surgery

One of the main benefits of FUE hair transplant surgery over FUT (strip) hair transplant surgery is that it is easier to conceal your scars. As the scars formed in FUE hair transplants are very small (0.7mm-0.9mm) it means they can be hidden by surrounding hair. One of the main factors your surgeon will need to keep in mind is not to take out too many hairs from the back of your head. Leaving plenty of hair at the back of your head will allow for any remaining hairs to grow and cover any scars.Before-and-After Hair Transplant recovery

1 week after hair transplant surgery- you can see the small dot scars are barely visible as hairs have grown to conceal them and this should improve as the healing process continues

If you wanted to cut your hair down to a grade 0 or 1, these scars may become visible as the surrounding hairs aren’t long enough to cover them. It is important to discuss this with your surgeon before undergoing surgery. You must be aware that you will have to keep your hair longer than a grade 1 at the back of your head after FUE hair transplant surgery.

Can I treat these scars?

If you want to cut your hair to a grade 0 or 1 and have a hair transplant you can conceal small dot scars. You can undergo scalp micropigmentation (a form of medical tattooing) to hide the small scars. The aim of the treatment would be to colour the scars a similar tone to your hair colour. This would help conceal any scars by blending the contrasting scar and hair colours together.

What can go wrong?

At The Treatment Rooms London, we often see patients who want us to correct a poorly done hair transplant procedure they may have received at another clinic. They often complain of large visible areas of scars at the back of the head. The main reasons why their scars are more visible than patients who have undergone a hair transplant at our clinic are:

  1. Too many hairs have been extracted from the back of the head. This means scars cannot be concealed by the remaining hair
  2. The surgeon did not spread out the extraction of hair follicles. This means too many hair follicles in a small area have been taken out, leaving patchy areas of no hairs

Examples of the above are shown in the picture below:skin necrosis and scars after hair transplant

On the right you can see a band of thin hair where the surgeon has taken out too many hairs

Are you looking to have a hair transplant?

Interested in finding out more? Visit our FUE hair transplant before and after page to get a first-hand look at some of the amazing results we provide. Alternatively, you can get in touch with one of our leading surgeons to talk through your treatment options and hair transplant costs. They will be able to implement a bespoke hair transplant plan that compliments your situation.

Will a hair transplant work on scarring alopecia?

Major or visible scarring on your body can be distressing — and they’re extremely common. In the developed world, more than 100 million people acquire scars each year from surgery, trauma, or conditions like scarring alopecia [1]. No matter what causes it, scalp scarring can leave long-term marks that are difficult to hide.

Scarring is often stigmatised in society [2]. That’s why many people with scalp or facial scarring consider getting a hair transplant into scar tissue to cover them. In this article, you’ll discover:

  • if you can get a hair transplant into scar tissue
  • how hair transplants on scar tissue work
  • what type of scarring can be treated with a hair transplant.

Can you transplant hair into scar tissue?

Yes — you can have a hair transplant on a scar. But it’s often more complicated than a standard hair transplant.

Healthy hair follicles on unscarred skin are fed by strong blood supply, which provides them with the nutrients and vitamins needed for hair growth. The skin is also flexible and thin enough for hair to grow with ease.

Scar tissue is different. When your skin is damaged, the hair follicles are destroyed, so they can no longer produce hair. The tissue is also affected by poor blood flow and stiffness, which makes transplanting hair into scar tissue more challenging [3-4].

But it’s not impossible. Hair transplants into scar tissue often take longer, and you may need multiple rounds of surgery — but if you choose a qualified, experienced surgeon, you’re more likely to get results.

Hair transplant scar repair: how does it work?

The technique for transplanting hair into scar tissue is similar to traditional hair transplants. In a standard FUT or FUE procedure, your hair transplant surgeon extracts hair grafts — tiny clusters of follicles — from the side or back of your head. They then implant them into the thinning or balding areas (usually your crown and/or temple) where your follicles no longer produce hair.

But certain complications make hair transplants on scar tissue a more complex procedure.

Tissue stiffness and lack of visibility

When your skin is scarred, the hair follicles that existed in the original skin are usually lost. That means it’s more difficult to see where your original hairs grew. The best hair transplant surgeons make your new hair look as natural as possible by following the direction and placement of your original hairs, which is more difficult without existing follicles to guide them.

In addition, the stiffness of the tissue makes it harder to transplant hairs precisely. So hair transplants into scars are often more time-consuming and difficult to perform.

Poor blood flow compromises follicles

When follicles are transplanted into scar tissue, they must take root and connect with the surrounding capillaries before hair will begin to grow. Scar tissue is prone to poor blood supply, so it’s harder for transplanted follicles to get the nutrients needed for healthy hair growth [3-4].

Surgeons often leave more space between hair grafts on scar tissue so there’s enough blood supply to nourish the grafts.

Many patients who want a hair transplant on scar tissue need multiple surgeries [5]. This allows a surgeon to fill in the gaps from earlier grafts. Graft survival rates are also much lower on scarred skin, so you may need more than one hair transplant to get the coverage and density you want.

While scar tissue hair transplants aren’t always as straightforward as other procedures, there’s lots of evidence that they can be successful. See our tips for a successful hair transplant.

Hair transplant into scar tissue aftercare

You’ll need to take extra special care of hair grafts transplanted into scar tissue. This might include taking more time off work after a hair transplant, or waiting longer to exercise after a hair transplant. Allowing extra downtime after a hair transplant gives your follicles the best possible chance of survival in your scar tissue.

What type of scarring can be treated with a hair transplant?

Many different types of scars can be treated or covered with a hair transplant, including:

  • Burns
  • Surgical scarring — including hair transplant scars
  • Trauma scars
  • Scarring hair loss (also known as cicatricial alopecia)
  • Scars related to infection

One study found that transplanting hairs into scars caused by burns was more successful than in other types of scarring, perhaps because scar tissue is typically shallower than in other scar types [3]. Artificial hair transplants can also be a good solution for scalp scars and burns.

hair transplant into scars: a female patient with burns pre and post hair transplant

A patient with burns scarring pre- and post-hair transplant (source: ABHRS).

Other researchers have had success in treating scarring hair loss with FUE surgery. Their results showed a high graft survival rate of almost 81%. This rivals survival rates on regular skin tissue, which can be as high as 90% with a skilled surgeon [6].

One case study showed that FUE can be used to successfully cover scarring alopecia caused by a scalp MRSA infection [7]. Learn more about hair transplant infections.

hair transplant into scars: male patient with mrsa scarring pre and post hair transplant

A patient with scarring following MRSA infection pre- and post-hair transplant (source: ABHRS).

Can I cover my FUT scar with another hair transplant?

FUT surgery involves removing a strip of skin from the donor area. The wound is then closed surgically, leaving a small scar.

If your surgeon doesn’t have the skill or experience to create a narrow or well-hidden scar, your FUT scar might be thick, raised, or visible through your hair. This can be a telltale sign that you’ve had hair transplant surgery — in fact, it’s one of the giveaways of Elon Musk’s hair transplant.

elon musk hair transplant scar

A hair transplant can cover up your FUT scar if you’re prepared to have additional surgery. But there are alternative ways to disguise an FUT scar, including scalp micropigmentation, changing your hairstyle, and using hair thickening sprays or hair fibres after FUE.

Can Minoxidil improve hair growth through scar tissue?

Minoxidil is a popular topical solution that’s proven to promote hair growth [8-9]. So can it improve hair growth through scar tissue?

The evidence isn’t clear on how well Minoxidil works for scarring alopecia [10]. But an animal study found that Minoxidil promoted blood vessel formation and encouraged follicle growth in skin affected by burns [11]. So it may be a first-line treatment option for those with thin scar tissue.

It’s also effective at promoting hair growth after an FUE transplant on scar tissue [12]. Because hair transplants into scar tissue have notoriously low survival rates, it’s essential to use a solution to encourage hair growth and stimulate blood flow to the scalp in the days and weeks after your hair transplant.

When are you not a good candidate for hair transplant?

If you’ve spent time researching your hair restoration options, you’ve likely heard of hair transplantation surgery. But are you a good hair transplant candidate? What factors might prevent you from having this type of procedure?

What Makes a Good Hair Transplant Candidate?

A good hair transplant candidate is anyone who is concerned about his or her appearance and wants to improve it. Patients come to Bosley for help with thinning areas on the scalp; treating a bald spot on the crown; and restoring a receding hairline — as well as for help with thinning eyebrows, beards, or mustaches. Scars on the scalp or face may also be helped with transplantation.

Hair Transplant and Age

Technically, you can have a hair transplant at any age. But as Dr. David Deutsch of Bosley Beverly Hills notes, “The most important thing is to make sure that the patient has proper expectations about what his or her hair loss is going to be in the future.”

Health Conditions

Before considering any type of surgical procedure, you need to be healthy enough to undergo a medical procedure and you must have a healthy immune system. To reduce the risk of complications, you should ensure that serious medical conditions are treated and resolved before surgery. If you have a chronic health condition like diabetes, or if you’re taking prescribed medications (like blood thinners) that may adversely affect your results, be sure to discuss your situation with your surgeon so a treatment plan can be customized for you.

Lifestyle

Healthy lifestyle choices, such as eating a balanced diet, exercising, and avoiding stress, not only help you feel better but also are good for your skin, hair, and nails. It’s prudent to avoid tobacco products and excessive alcohol consumption. These choices affect every aspect of our lives.

Hair Loss Classification

Two of the most important factors for determining whether you’re a good hair transplant candidate are the amount of hair you’ve already lost and the amount of donor hair you have available to transplant to the thinning areas of your head. This is usually determined based on your specific hair loss classification.

We use the specific hair loss classification to determine both the availability of donor hair to make the grafts and the size of the area that needs to be treated. Specific treatment plans are made for your classification. If you are unsure about your hair loss classification, schedule a free consultation with a Bosley counselor who can help you self-evaluate where you fall on the hair loss chart.

Commitment to Post-Procedure Aftercare

Your commitment to following the aftercare instructions from your physician is an important factor in the success of your hair transplant procedure. Following the aftercare instructions correctly will reduce your recovery time and help minimize your discomfort. You should be able to start seeing results in a few months’ time.

Setting Realistic Expectations

It’s important to set realistic expectations about what you can expect from your procedure. While a typical hair transplant takes only a few hours to perform, it will take several months to start seeing results. And, depending on the extent of your hair loss, you may need more than one procedure.

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