The soaring popularity of street dance has become something of a phenomenon across the UK in recent years. This has been helped in part by its heightened visibility thanks to acts like Diversity and George Sampson, both winners of the high profile TV talent show, Britain’s Got Talent, who have gone on to have successful dance careers.
Sampson won the 2008 season with a routine set to ‘Singing in the Rain’. He is also an actor who has gone on to star in productions including the StreetDance film series, and the soaps Waterloo Road and Emmerdale. He has recently spoken out about something of a niche concern, related to his constant performances. The 23 year old claims that regularly doing headspins has caused him hair loss.
Hair loss could affect career
In a statement released via his Twitter account regarding why he has decided to have a hair transplant at such a young age, George Sampson set out his feelings regarding losing his hair:
“…I have always been convincing myself I’m not worried or it’s not a big deal but really it is. I am only 23. It’s not only for my own confidence but also being in my line of work which is very image orientated and unfortunately I felt my hair (lack of) could affect my work.”
You don’t have to be in the public eye to feel this way though; these sentiments regarding hair loss affecting confidence levels and worries about how thinning hair could affect a person’s career are also commonplace among our clients from all walks of life here at Belgravia.
What is unusual, however, is one of the reasons Sampson goes on to give for why he believes he is experiencing shedding.
“My hair loss comes from three things,” he writes. “…alopecia (caused by a lot of stress and loss of a family member), genetics and head spinning…”. He clarifies the last point, saying that “the hair loss is not only a receding hairline but a strip down the centre of my head”.
Head spins and thinning hair
The ‘alopecia’ Sampson mentions is likely to be the autoimmune disorder Alopecia Areata which can indeed be brought on by sudden shock or extreme stress, including a bereavement. This displays as bald spots or rounded patches anywhere on the scalp and is often temporary. The ‘genetics’ element is without doubt Male Pattern Baldness.
In addition to showing one of this hereditary hair loss condition’s key signs – a receding hairline – it can also cause thinning hair along the top of the head and at the crown so could be contributing to the ‘strip down the centre’ George refers to.
Without examining his scalp it is hard to know what effect his street dance moves may have had on his hair and scalp. However, the friction caused by spinning could certainly in theory lead to hair breakage in the areas of the scalp that are in contact with the floor. This happens when the hair weakens to the point where it snaps along the shaft, making it look thin and often wiry. Continues below…
Another potential issue is traction alopecia – a condition which occurs when the hair follicles are regularly placed under excessive strain. This is regularly seen in celebrities – particularly women – due to the wearing of tight hairstyles, hair extensions, regular drastic hairstyle changes and not having time for the follicles to rest. It is not unreasonable to think that Sampson, who is often pictured wearing a cap both off duty and whilst performing, could have exposed his hair to this risk through his strenuous dance moves. When taking into account the amount of daily rehearsal time needed to develop his performances, as well as the performances themselves, this can amount to a significant amount of stress to his scalp.
Senior Belgravia hair loss specialist, Leonora Doclis – who has not examined Mr. Sampson, speculates: “Although breakage and traction alopecia are certainly possibilities, given George already shows signs of hair loss from Male Pattern Baldness around his hairline, and says he has also developed alopecia due to stress, the hairloss along his vertex is most likely a result of Male Pattern Hair Loss exacerbated by stress, too.”
“Premature hair loss in men in their late teens and early 20’s is not so uncommon now due to the stress of modern living anyway,” Leonora advises. “…but when you are a celebrity or someone in the public eye, the pressure can be a lot more intense, especially for someone who became a star so young and so quickly. Also, the additional lifestyle habits associated with touring – late nights, lack of sleep, poor diet, etc – are all factors known to accelerate the rate of hair loss in men with a genetic predisposition to MPB.”
Too young for a hair transplant?
Despite effective non-surgical hair loss solutions being available to suitable men from age 16 (minoxidil) and age 18 (finasteride 1mg) respectively, Sampson has chosen not to follow the pharmaceutical hair loss treatment route. This option, including custom treatment courses including both clinically-proven medications and hair growth boosters, is favoured by many men for hair loss prevention, as well as for promoting regrowth and stabilising existing shedding.
At just over a month shy of his 24th birthday, George Sampson is certainly at the younger end of the spectrum for hair restoration surgery. He is due to have his operation today, 26th April 2017, using ARTAS technology. Wayne Rooney, the Manchester United and England footballer who is credited with boosting the popularity of hair transplants in the UK after openly discussing his first of two procedures, was 26 years old when he had his first grafts. At the time, this was considered young by many as 25 is the absolute minimum age at which some surgeons will accept candidates for this type of operation.
Top hair transplant surgeons often recommend that men do not consider this invasive option until they are at least 30 years of age. This is not a legal requirement, however, it is simply a recommendation from experienced professionals. The reasoning behind the advice is sound, especially when you look at Rooney’s hair now and how his hair transplants have worked out to date. “If you have the surgery too early and you go bald, you don’t have enough hair to keep chasing the hair loss,” leading surgeon Dr. Bessam Farjo told the BBC. “You can end up with isolated patches of hair. You could end up with hairy temples and a bald forehead which isn’t pretty but is also hard to fix.”
Many men – often at the recommendation of transplant surgeons – follow a male hair loss treatment plan for a minimum of six months before a transplant, and then on an on-going basis afterwards. This is to maximise hair growth and to stop hair fall ahead of surgery so that the surgeon has more hair and a cleaner area to work with, in order to optimise results. It is also to preserve the results of the surgery in the long term as the hair around the top of the scalp, surrounding the new grafts, will still be susceptible to the effects of DHT – the biological cause of male pattern baldness in those with a genetic sensitivity towards this substance.
The Belgravia Centre is the leader in hair loss treatment in the UK, with two clinics based in Central London. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our Online Consultation Form from anywhere in the UK or the rest of the world. View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which are the largest collection of such success stories in the world and demonstrate the levels of success that so many of Belgravia’s patients achieve. You can also phone 020 7730 6666 any time for our hair loss helpline or to arrange a free consultation.