Advances in technology have proved a big hit among people with hair loss, resulting in a huge rise in the number of men who have had a hair transplant in the past decade – despite the high cost and a visible recovery period.
Now, new figures reveal that it is not just scalps that are benefiting from the hair transplant trend: beards have been given a boost, too.
As the hipster beard trend continues apace, The New York Times reports that facial hair restoration now accounts for 3.7 per cent of all hair transplant procedures – even though the price of a full beard transplant weighs in at anything up to £5,000.
According to the article, 28-year-old Miami-based paramedic Jose Armos is among the people who have shelled out for a beard transplant. Whilst men with thinning hair can worry it makes them look older, the baby-faced medic who said he struggled to grow a beard naturally, believes that his youthful looks had been causing some patients a degree of alarm. “They would look at me and be like, ‘OK, is this 16-year-old really going to take care of me?” said Armos.
Huge increase in beard transplants
Clients do not only include those who want a bigger, bushier beard, they also include men who have bald patches in their facial hair from a condition called Alopecia Areata Barbae that they want to fill in. This is a strain of the common autoimmune condition Alopecia Areata which causes patchy hair loss on the scalp, but affects the beard area. Though in the UK restoration surgery is not generally recommended in cases where bald spots in the beard are caused by alopecia.
The article correctly points out that modern hair transplant techniques such as Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) are employed during beard transplants too. These demonstrate a marked improvement on older FUT transplant ‘strip surgery’ methods in which multiple follicles would be moved in blocks to where they were needed. Back then, the effect was rather “patchy”, whereas today’s top surgeons can move individual follicles one at a time for a far more convincing look.
The Daily Telegraph, which picked up the NYT story, added that a survey by Braun revealed that men feel 53 per cent more attractive to women when they have a beard, while over at medical tourism website Medigo.com an infographic about beard transplants claims that the number of procedures rose by 600 per cent between 2004 and 2014.
For his own part, the doctor quoted in the New York Times article says the number of beard transplant patients in his surgery has gone up from five per year in 2010 to three or four per week now. This represents a colossal rise – and some bad news for pogonophobics (people with a fear of beards).
Hair loss treatment not for chins
Whether or not a beard transplant is worth it depends on multiple factors, from finances to the current state of beard growth. And whereas a male hair loss treatment course is seen as a sensible and much more affordable alternative to people concerned about the hair on their scalp, it seems that this option doesn’t extend to men’s chins.
Men often ask if they can use minoxidil – the clinically-proven topical hair loss treatment that is designed for scalp use – on their beard area to encourage their facial hair to grow. The answer is ‘no’.
“Put simply, men should not use Minoxidil on their face because it will not work in cases of alopecia barbae and is highly unlikely to work in other instances,” says senior hair loss specialist, Leonora Doclis who is based at Belgravia’s flagship Central London clinic.
“Either you were born or genetically predisposed to have a beard or not. Minoxidil can often produce significant regrowth on the scalp since there is a follicle there to stimulate. However, Minoxidil cannot create a follicle where one does not exist already. In instances where minoxidil causes facial hair growth as a side effect, this is because it strengthens fine hairs that were already there. This is why a transplant is indeed the answer for men who cannot grow beards, unless it is through Alopecia Areata Barbae.”
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.