During what was one of the most shocking weeks in recent UK history, there was still time for a little levity when the media turned its attention on Wayne Rooney. Forget Brexit and the England football team’s hopeless drubbing by Iceland in the Euros – what many people wanted to know was what was going on with the Manchester United star’s hair loss?
Rooney has become something of a poster boy for hair transplants having openly undergone at least two restoration procedures to combat Male Pattern Baldness, the genetic hair loss condition that affects many millions of men around the world. While it can be treated without resorting to surgery, by having a dedicated hair loss clinic tailor a bespoke programme comprising clinically-approved products, Rooney chose the transplant route – but are these the results he expected after spending a reported £30,000? And why is his hair noticeably thicker sometimes?
As England left France with their collective tails between their legs, speculation about Rooney’s suddenly-thinner hair occupied several media outlets, with a number of theories emerging, along with many pictures showing his scalp clearly visible through his wispy hair. It seems only right, then, that the UK’s leading hair loss clinic should add a few thoughts as to why this thinning may be happening…
What seems likely to us, based solely on photographic evidence, is that Rooney may not have been following an appropriate hair transplant aftercare plan whereby pharmaceutical hair loss treatments are used to combat thinning around the new grafts. This would account for his thinning hair on top, particularly given his previous surgeries are believed to have concentrated on restoring his receding hairline which is looking in better shape than the rest of his hair. It was recently rumoured in the press that Rooney is considering a third hair transplant, this time to address his vertex thinning, but with the time needed for his head to heal, he would need to get this done during the close season – something that’s come early for Wayne given England’s early exit from the European Championships.
Those who see a hair transplant as a ‘quick fix’ are only partially right; in order to ensure the surgery is as successful as possible men will generally be advised by their transplant surgeon or hair loss specialist to follow a course comprising clinically-proven male hair loss treatments for at least six months prior to the procedure.
The reason for pre-surgery treatments is to maximise hair growth and stabilise shedding. This gives the surgeon both a cleaner area to work with, and a full donor area full of healthy hairs to harvest and relocate. It also gives the client the chance to see how well they respond to treatment. Given these MHRA licensed and FDA approved treatments form the backbone of many hair loss treatment courses for men who haven’t had a transplant, the resulting changes can often make the idea of a transplant redundant.
Usually surgery is used to ‘top up’ hairs and improve the density in a particular area – such as filling in a thinning crown or boosting around the hairline – it is rarely used to replace all the hairs on the top of the head. This is partly due to the amount of donor hair needed to complete such an operation, but time and cost are also important factors. Therefore, in order to retain their new look post-transplant, surgeons will generally advise their clients to use these same treatments on an on-going basis after the procedure to ensure the hair around the transplanted area does not thin out.
Using hair loss treatment after having a hair transplant is an important part of maintenance. The DHT – a testosterone by-product that attacks the follicles around the top of the head and causes thinning in men with male pattern baldness due to a predisposed genetic sensitivity – which caused the hair loss that led to wanting a hair transplant in the first place, will not stop attacking the follicles just because of a hair transplant. It will continue to weaken the follicles around the top of the scalp making the original non-transplanted hair weaker and thinner, leading to hair loss and/or a receding hairline. This can result in unnatural looking patches of grafted hair that has a healthy, thicker density, next to thinner or balding areas.
Illusion of fuller hair
Whatever the story, the England captain’s hair is definitely showing signs of severe thinning… or at least it is when he lets his guard down.
The aspect of the forward’s hair situation that seemingly caused the speculation as to what was going on arise was how his hair looked full and dense all over for some games, then for others it had disappeared on top, leaving much paler, thinner hair behind. The most obvious explanation for this kind of quick change in appearance is that Rooney could have been using hair loss concealing fibres.
It is entirely possible that the ‘before’ and ‘after’ shots of Wayne Rooney at the start of the Iceland match and then leaving his hotel the next day almost certainly don’t show sudden and dramatic hair loss caused by stress – as the Daily Mail suggested; rather they probably show the with hair loss concealers and, later, without.
These innovative, if slightly fussy, products are a kind of powder, sometimes incorporating nanoparticles, that are shaken onto the head then set with spray. They can give the illusion of fuller, fluffier hair, and often make the hair appear slightly darker than normal, but the major downside is that they are not permanent. Because they are entirely cosmetic, these thickening concealer fibres only work when you remember/bother/have time to use them – and once you forget, revealing your hair without the extra help, the game is up!
Whilst you can certainly play football with them in – and use hair loss treatments with them! – if it’s raining heavily and you’re that exposed, as well as being sweaty from play-making, we’re not sure how well concealing fibres would stand up for long. The press have even speculated that this ‘concern’ and distraction caused Rooney to be distracted from his football, contributing to England’s early exit from the tournament in what player-turned BBC pundit Alan Shearer described in his post-match analysis as “the worst performance I have ever seen from an England team, ever“.
Male Pattern Baldness strikes a surprising number of men in their 20s (Rooney, now 30, has been thinning since his late teens), and given that people with the condition frequently describe it as emasculating and emotionally damaging, there is little surprise that Rooney wanted to do everything he could to reverse and potentially conceal the problem. Another reason many men choose a non-invasive hair loss treatment course over a transplant, however, as the results appear more slowly, thus making any change in appearance less shocking or obvious.
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.