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Why Hair Density Matters For Hair Transplants

Do you have signs of hair loss and therefore you are considering a hair transplant? The success of a hair transplant will largely depends on the natural density of your hair.

Are you thinking about getting a hair transplant? The natural density of your hair will play an important role in the success of the procedure. Without enough hair density in the donor area, the resulting transplant may not be as encouraging as you hope.

Hair density is defined as the total number of hairs you have on your head, and there are three levels of hair density: thin, medium, and thick. One study calculated the donor hair density in 50 participants. They found that on average, there were between 124 to 200 hairs per square centimetre. This density varies from person to person. Typically, a moderately dense head of hair will have about 100,000 strands of hair across the entire head. Low density scalps will have less hair growing, and high density scalps will have more hair growing.

The natural colour of your hair is important in determining the number of hair strands on your scalp. For example, people with red hair will have less hair density than those with blond hair.

How to discover your hair density

There’s a simple test you can do at home to determine your hair density:

  • Make sure your hair is dry, as wet hair will not give you an accurate idea of your hair density.
  • Look in a mirror and see how much of your scalp you can see.
  • If you can’t see any scalp, you have high density hair (thick).
  • If some areas of scalp can be seen, your hair is medium dense.
  • If a lot of scalp is visible, your hair density is low (thin).

Another method for measuring the density of your hair is putting it into a ponytail and measuring the circumference. You have thick hair if the circumference of the ponytail measures at least four inches. Thin hair will be less than two inches, and medium density will measure between two to three inches.

Hair transplants work by using limited strands of the person’s hair to create the appearance of a fuller head of hair. You can still achieve a fuller head of hair look, even though the actual hair density varies across different parts of the scalp but the hair density needs to be significant to work. A transplant of 20 or so hairs per square centimetre into a bald area of scalp won’t result in a satisfactory cosmetic improvement—you’ll have a sparse covering at best. At the other end of the scale, if you transplant over 100 hairs into the same size area, you won’t have enough donor hair available for the transplant to cover much more than a limited patch.

Dr Jennifer Martinick says, “Typically, hair loss is noticeable after you lose 50% of your hair. When it comes to hair transplants, if your donor hair is naturally dense, you’re likely to get a better result from the procedure. Doctors can plant 25-35 follicular units (FU) per square centimetre which is much less than the average density, though this much density can hide the balding areas with artistic planning.”

“Combining different hair densities across the head, ranging from 30 to 50 hairs per square centimetre, for example, and ensuring the higher density areas are at the front, can achieve a significant cosmetic improvement,” says Dr Martinick.

The hair will appear fuller and more natural, especially if it is styled in a way that is sympathetic to its length and texture for example, longer, wavier hair looks better than a straight buzz cut. The texture of your hair also matters – thicker and curlier is better. It also helps if there’s a low colour contrast between the hair and the skin – with black hair working better for darker skin, and blond for lighter skin.

For more information or to speak to one of our hair transplant professionals, please call us on 08 9389 6000.



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