One of the most unusual hair loss stories this year involves the tale of Mohammed Abid Ali, a taxi driver from Manchester. During a routine police traffic stop, officers were stunned when Mr Ali handed over his licence.
The picture on the licence appeared to show an older, bald man – quite different to the man driving the taxi. When questioned about the apparent difference between his photo ID and his actual appearance, Abid Ali claimed that the transformation was due to the dramatic success of hair regrowth treatment he was receiving.
Abid Ali told officers that the medications he was taking had helped restore a lot of his hairline. He then went on to claim that he had undergone a successful horse-hair transplant, providing even more dramatic hair regrowth and creating an apparent discrepancy between his appearance now, and the photograph on his licence.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, sceptical officers arrested Abid Ali and impounded the taxi.
It was all a lie
It later transpired that Mohammed Abid Ali was actually using his brother’s driving licence after his own had been revoked the previous month. It also transpired that Ali did not have any form of hair loss condition and that the story about the transplant and other treatments was completely untrue – a ruse designed to try and avoid prosecution for driving illegally.
Horse hair transplants?
Hair transplant operations are popular amongst wealthy celebrities looking to reverse their receding hairlines. Unlike Ali’s story however, these operations invariably use the patient’s own hair or scalp cells to restart the growth process.
The human immune system is programmed to identify foreign cells and destroy them to prevent illness and disease. Transplanting foreign cells, such as those from a horse, could make the recipient very ill, as is sometimes the case with organ transplants. The immune system would attack any transplanted horse hair follicles, destroying them and preventing the attached hair from growing.
Even if the transplanted horse hair did grow, the new growth would not match the person’s own hair, creating an odd patchwork effect that would attract attention – more so than the bald spot the person was trying to conceal in the first place.
Medications do work
Mohammed Abid Ali was correct, however, when he claimed that medical hair loss treatments could stimulate hair growth. There are several medications available to help treat hair loss with proven track records of promoting natural hair regrowth.
When Abid Ali’s case came to court, he was fined nearly £900 and ordered to pay a further £20 victim surcharge. He also had eight penalty points added to his licence, in addition to the twelve that he had already accrued through previous traffic violations.
Hair loss treatments can and do have the potential to significantly alter the appearance of men and women. They cannot, however, help criminals dodge their responsibilities.