In what could well be a UK first, celebrity couple Maria Fowler and her champion BMX-racing boyfriend Kelvin Batey have taken steps to deal with their hair loss issues by having his ‘n’ her transplants.
The pair signed up for the procedure at one of the UK’s many hair restoration clinics – where operations often cost in excess of £5,000 – and it appears that they underwent hair transplant surgery at roughly the same time. Both Batey and the former TOWIE star went in with the same goal: each wanted to restore their hairline, though the underlying causes of their thinning edges are quite different.
Genetics, hairstyles and hair loss
Men who find that they have a receding hairline can almost always blame the genetic condition Male Pattern Baldness, an extremely common hair loss condition that can strike any time following puberty, though it becomes more likely with each passing decade. Not every man is susceptible to male pattern hair loss, however: it is only those with an inherited genetic predisposition towards it who will be affected.
While genetic hair loss can also affect women – and female pattern hair loss, like its male equivalent, is incredibly common, though far less talked about – it would appear that Ms Fowler’s frontal shedding has a different cause.
What seems likely is that she had lost some hair to Traction Alopecia, an entirely avoidable condition that is a result of choices people make about how to wear their hair. Tight hairstyles that place strain on the scalp, such as braids and high ponytails, are common causes of Traction Alopecia as they place undue stress on the hair follicles. When offending styles are worn frequently they can cause damaged follicles and ensuing hair loss.
Equally problematic and a common a cause of Traction Alopecia today are hair extensions – something Ms Fowler is no stranger to wearing and was even pictured raving about on social media just four days before her transplant. The hairline and temple areas tend to be worst affected, though hair loss and breakage around the sites were the styles or extensions are fixed may also occur, as they bear the brunt of the tension and extra weight from these hairstyles.
An educated guess, therefore, would suggest that overuse of hair extensions and her favoured high ponytail hairstyle may have led to Ms Fowler developing Traction Alopecia. It is unclear what prompted her to take the unusual and drastic step of signing up for surgery to fix her damaged hairline though, especially as there is an effective, non-surgical solution in the form of Traction Alopecia treatment. For Belgravia clients this involves wearing the hair naturally and loosely in order to allow the follicles to recover, whilst using recommended treatments, alongside additional hair growth supporting products, until sufficient regrowth is achieved.
Pictures of the couple attending a party a short time after their transplants show how they both have what look like a multitude of tiny red dots at the front of their heads. These are from where individual hairs harvested from the back of their heads – where the hair is more abundant – have been painstakingly implanted into their hairlines. Some people have described the procedure as extremely painful, and it is famously slow to perform, with many hours of surgery needed, though the timeframe – like the cost – depends on the number of grafts involved in the operation.
Aftercare and alternatives to hair restoration surgery
Batey will hopefully have been warned by his surgeon that while his new grafts will no longer be susceptible to Male Pattern Baldness, existing hairs surrounding them still will be. If so, he will likely have been told that following an on-going pharmaceutical male pattern hair loss treatment course is advisable. This can reduce the likelihood of thinning around the hairline and also the top of the head, and can even encourage regrowth of new hairs.
Male hair loss treatment is widely used by those interested in stabilising hair fall, encouraging regrowth and preventing baldness, and is the preferred option for many men who would rather not go down the transplant route. There are two clinically-proven, MHRA-licensed and FDA-approved medications which are often used on their own or in tandem as part of a non-surgical treatment programme: finasteride 1mg and minoxidil.
The first, finasteride 1mg is a one-a-day tablet that inhibits the conversion of testosterone into dihydrotestosterone (DHT). It is DHT which causes the gradual hair thinning associated with hereditary men’s hair loss. It binds to the sensitive follicles along the top of the head and hairline, slowly destroying them. As they become smaller and weaker, this displays outwardly as thinning hair or a receding hairline, with increased hair fall. If left unchecked, it can lead to eventual baldness.
By minimising the amount of DHT in the system, hair growth should continue unhindered. However, finasteride’s effect on frontal hair loss is unproven.
The vasodilator high strength minoxidil is the second recognised and clinically-proven genetic hair loss treatment; this comes in various topical solutions which are applied directly to the scalp to actively encourage hair growth. It is the only medication suitable for both male and female pattern baldness, and can be particularly helpful when dealing with stubborn areas, such as a receding hairline or thinning crown.
This approach can be further enhanced by the use of additional hair growth supporting products. These include follicle-stimulating low level laser therapy (LLLT) via a handheld, home-use device, and nutritional support via highly-targeted food supplements such as Hair Vitalics for Men which contains a premium blend of vitamins, minerals, amino acids and botanicals, including biotin, selenium and zinc for the maintenance of normal healthy hair growth.
The results of a systematic review of which hair loss treatments work was published in May 2017, with minoxidil, finasteride 1mg and LLLT being confirmed as the most effective. So, bearing this in mind – as well as the fact that top surgeons recommend waiting until at least 30 years of age before considering a hair transplant – anyone concerned about signs of hair loss or a receding hairline, having a consultation with a specialist who can provide a diagnosis, advice and treatment recommendations could be a wise first port of call.
The Belgravia Centre is an organisation specialising in hair growth and hair loss prevention with two clinics and in-house pharmacies in Central London, UK. 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 world. View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which includes the world’s largest gallery of hair growth comparison photos and demonstrates the levels of success that so many of Belgravia’s patients achieve. You can also phone 020 7730 6666 any time to arrange a free consultation.