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Can stress make your hair go grey?

Our surgeon Asim Shahmalak at Crown Clinic is often asked questions about hair.

One of the most common is: does stress make your hair go grey?

The simple answer to this is: yes.

You only have to look at the experience of some of the most powerful men in the world to see how this is true.

Check out the link below to see how being President of the United States has aged Barack Obama:–past-presidents-suffered-fate.html

Look at pictures of  Obama  – they show a man a world away from the fresh-faced young victor six years ago.

Obama’s hair shows the unrelenting pressure heaped upon the man known as ‘Leader of the Free World’.

The President’s once dark and closely cropped locks are now streaked with grey and palpably thinning on the crown and around his temples.

Obama, whose youthful bearing and demeanour was a big part of his original sell to voters, admitted recently: ‘I’m full of grey hair, but I’m not weary.’

While his crow’s feet and greying hair are only the most visible signs of the pressure of his job, it would be a mistake to underestimate their import.

These very visible physical manifestations of stress are not simply a gift to the world’s picture editors, and hair transplant surgeons like our own Dr Shahmalak. They are an outward indicator of the internal difficulties of leadership in the modern world.

Obama is not the first powerful man – and it is mainly men affected in this way – whose hair has suffered and signalled the strains of his job.

Tony Blair went into office as Prime Minister with lush brown hair and a sense of tennis-playing energy. Like Obama, his relative youthfulness was part of his sell to British electors who were tired of the grey men of the Conservative party.

After a decade in power, Mr Blair’s hair had receded dramatically around the temples and on the crown, and was visibly thinning and streaked with grey.

He looked exhausted.

It was the same story for his successor, Gordon Brown.

Despite being nicknamed the ‘Iron Chancellor’, he became PM in 2007 with just a few steely streaks in his otherwise raven-dark hair.

By the time he left Downing Street, having gone toe-to-toe with global economic meltdown and a bitter and ultimately fruitless election battle, his hair was streaked in battleship grey.

David Cameron, who was only 43 when he became PM, was showing greying hairs within a few months.

Dr Shahmalak explained this ageing process.

He said: “Human hair becomes grey – then progressively whiter – because ageing naturally lowers the amount of pigmentation in follicles.

“This pigmentation, known as melanin, ceases to be produced by the body in sufficient amounts as we grow older. As this happens, new hairs appear grey, then white.

“But it’s not just our age that affects hair colour.

“Family genes and stress – divorce, unemployment, a high-pressure job – can all play a role.

President Obama’s job and age – 53 – make him high risk for greying and male pattern baldness. The latter is the main cause of hair loss, affecting an estimated quarter of men by the age of 30 and two thirds by the age of 60.

The bad news for Obama is that when he does retire in another two years – presumably to something less stressful – his hair won’t return to its original colour.

Sadly, it’s very common for those in high-powered jobs to suffer premature greying.

Stress, and changes in levels of the male hormone testosterone that a high-pressure job with long hours, high anxiety and lack of sleep can engender, play havoc with hair colour and density. In the very worst cases, they can trigger total hair loss, alopecia.

Dr Shahmalak added: “I’m not suggesting the 44th President of the United States needs a hair transplant. His hair loss is mild, but he should look after it. I’d recommend using the drug Propecia to help prevent any further loss of density and a special shampoo to nourish his roots.”

In today’s society image is vitally important. The fact Obama himself mentioned his greying hair tells us that much.

For the President to project America as ready for the next challenge, with a new sense of energy and urgency, as he has done, it couldn’t hurt for him to look and sound a bit more like the youthful Senator from Illinois of six years ago.

Our Surgeon

Dr. Asim Shahmalak

Dr Asim Shahmalak is a world-renowned hair transplant surgeon who performed the UK’s first eyelash transplant in 2009. He runs Crown Clinic – one of Britain’s most successful and best known hair transplant clinics. He has treated a number of high-profile industry leaders and celebrities including the medical broadcaster Dr Christian Jessen, best known for Channel 4’s Embarrassing Bodies.

Expert hair transplant surgery by Dr Shahmalak

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Hair transplants – where hair from the back of the scalp is extracted and transplanted in balding areas – may be a well-known or even commonplace procedure nowadays, but did you know that body hair transplants are also possible? 

Body hair transplants are certainly a lesser-known procedure, but still one that can be viable for the right candidate – here’s what you should know. 

How do body hair transplants work? 

Body hair transplants work in a very similar way to traditional hair transplants, except that hair is extracted from – you guessed it – donor sites on the body. Patients seeking this type of transplant have typically undergone several hair transplants already and exhausted their supply of donor hair on their scalp. However, for some patients, a body hair transplant is a preferable option if they have naturally thin, patchy hair or if they have acquired a scalp injury that impacts the typical donor areas.

Generally, donor areas for body hair transplants are the abdomen, chest and back. Hair follicles on the arms and legs may be in abundant supply, but the hairs tend to be too fine to use on the scalp. 

The body hair transplant process itself closely mirrors traditional hair transplants. The donor area is shaved before the surgery, and during the procedure the hairs are extracted from the donor area under local anaesthetic, before being transplanted into the thinning areas of the scalp. The length of the procedure depends on how many grafts are needed and the recovery process is comparable to standard hair transplants. 

Can hair be transplanted from the head to the body? 

Body hair transplants can work the other way around, where hairs from the scalp are transplanted in other areas of the body. A common example of this is eyebrow transplants, but head hair can be transplanted in other areas such as the chest or pubic region. Although a less common form of surgery, it can be an option for people who have lost body hair through genetic or external factors such as chemotherapy or injury. 

What are the results of body hair transplants? 

It’s worth noting that often body hair transplants do have a lower success rate than typical hair transplants, partially due to the lower levels of compatibility between the hairs on the head and the hairs on the body and the different structures of the hairs. However, during your consultation you will be able to discuss any potential issues with your surgeon. 

To find out more about body hair transplants and to find out if you may be a suitable candidate for the surgery, get in touch with Crown Clinic. 


For many men, the inability to grow a beard is something that they feel particularly self-conscious of. For those who can grow a beard, they often find that it doesn’t always grow in a uniform fashion, resulting in patchy facial hair.

Beard transplants are a permanent way to create a natural-looking, full beard. If you’re thinking about taking the plunge, here’s what you need to know if you’re considering undergoing beard transplant surgery.

What happens during a beard transplant

Beard transplants are carried out through either follicular unit extraction (FUE) or follicular unit transplantation (FUT). FUE is the most common transplantation technique for beard transplants, which involves individual hair follicles being removed from the donor area and transplanted in the sparse areas of the beard.

The surgeon will determine the direction that the hair should grow in to make sure the new hairs blend in seamlessly with the existing beard hair and to create the desired look.

If you’re a good candidate for beard transplantation

To be eligible for a beard transplant, prospective patients must have an adequate supply of donor hair – this is typically hair from the back of the head, as it tends to be one of the last areas to go bald.

However, beard to beard transplants are also sometimes an option for disguising smaller areas of hair loss. This technique involves follicles being taken from the area below the jawline and transplanted in the sparse areas.

When having your beard transplant consultation, your surgeon should give you a thorough examination to determine if you are a suitable candidate for surgery and discuss your options with you.

What the potential side effects are

Although beard transplants are a generally safe procedure, it’s important to follow the aftercare instructions provided to reduce the risk of infection. Your face and scalp may experience minor swelling and irritation in the days after the surgery, but this will be eased by sticking to the aftercare routine.

FUE surgery does often cause some scarring in the donor area, but the scars are so small that the natural hair growth will disguise them.

How much a beard transplant costs

The price of the beard transplant depends on several different factors, such as the number of hair grafts required. During your consultation, your surgeon will be able to give you an accurate quote for the surgery.

Booking a beard transplant consultation

Crown Clinic is one of the UK’s most reputable hair transplant clinics, offering state-of-the-art facilities and procedures under the care of Dr Asim Shahmalak, a world-renowned hair transplant surgeon. If you’d like to find out more about beard transplants, get in touch or book a consultation.

Whether you’ve had a disastrous haircut that you’re desperately trying to grow out or are simply bored of your current hairstyle, there’s a good chance you will have searched for ways to grow your hair faster – but is that actually possible?

It’s worth noting that even the healthiest hair only grows around an average of half an inch per month, or six inches over the course of a year. Understandably, this can make people feel as if their hair is growing at a glacial pace – especially when you consider that we also lose up to 100 hairs per day.

How does the hair grow?

Hair grows from the follicle – or root – that is underneath the skin. The blood vessels in the scalp around the base of the follicles supply the roots with oxygen and nutrients, which will help the hairs to grow.

Does scalp massage help the hair grow?

Scalp massagers – brushes with soft, silicone bristles designed to be used when washing the hair – are currently proving popular, but are they actually worth the money?

Although scalp massage can increase blood flow to the scalp, and therefore bring more nutrients to the follicle, there is no evidence that massage will stimulate hair growth. However, scalp massagers can help to remove product buildup and excess oil from the scalp, which will improve the overall health of the hair.

Does cutting hair make it grow faster?

One of the biggest hair myths around is that getting regular hair trims can make the hair grow faster. This is, of course, completely false. Hair grows from the follicles, which are unaffected when the ends are cut off the hair.

Getting a trim can get rid of split ends, which occur when the ends of the hair become dry and damaged. Split ends can gradually progress up the length of the hair, meaning that hair is more prone to breakage – so if you feel as if your hair has been the same length for months, it could be due to split ends. Keep on top of them with regular trims to keep your hair looking healthy.

Will hair vitamins help my hair grow?

Although you will have undoubtedly seen countless influencers pushing pastel-coloured supplements on their Instagram feeds, claiming they have transformed their hair, this unfortunately isn’t true in most cases.

If you are suffering from hair loss due to a nutritional deficiency, then supplements may boost your hair growth, but you will need to consult with a GP to make sure that you are getting everything you need. If you have no deficiencies, hair growth supplements are unlikely to have any impact on the hair.

There may not be any quick fixes to hurry along your hair growth, but the best thing you can do for the health of your hair is to look after your overall health – take a look at Crown Clinic’s expert advice to find out how to keep your hair looking its best.