Crown Clinic surgeon Asim’s Shahmalak’s new mercy mission to Pakistan

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Crown Clinichair transplant surgeon Asim Shahmalak is embarking on a new mercy mission to Pakistan to help the victims of acid attacks.

He is spending £50,000 of his own money operating on six patients who were either attacked by acid or were badly disfigured by burning.

He is going to Pakistan in September for the trip where he will perform eyelash transplants, eyebrow transplants and hair transplants on the patients.

This new trip has recieved considerable media coverage including these pieces:

Here are full details of some of the people he is helping.

A brave young mum shows how her face was horrifically disfigured in an acid attack – by the jealous man whose marriage proposal she turned down.
Sidra Kanwal’s three-year-old son initially refused to live with her after she was hurt because he was afraid to even look at her.
She said: “I cry all the time – this tragedy has distanced me from my beloved son.
“He ran away and refused to talk to me. He seemed afraid of even looking at me. I have been stripped of my identity.”
Sidra was attacked by a 22-year-old man who had asked to marry her days before.
She turned down the proposal because it would have taken her away from her family.
The man would not take no for an answer and confronted Sidra on her way to work at a clothes factory in Karachi, Pakistan.
She said: “He said: ‘Will you marry marry me?’ I said: ‘I don’t want to marry you. I want to earn a living to provide for me son.’
“He then showed me a bottle of acid he was carrying and threatened to commit suicide if he was jilted.
“He told me: ‘If you’re not going to marry me then I will leave you unable to marry anyone else,’ before throwing the acid over my face.
“I felt severe paid and my heart stopped beating for a few moments and I couldn’t breathe.”
Her attacker was quickly caught and is in jail, but Sidra’s ordeal was far from over.
The acid – which can be bought for as little as 15p a bottle with no questions asked in the streets near where she was attacked – seared her nostrils together.
It means that the only way she can breathe through her nose is through a white plastic tube which she wears all the time.
Surgeons are now trying to rebuild Sidra’s face.
Sidra, now back living with her son, is one of six patients being helped by the Manchester-based hair transplant surgeon Asim Shahmalak who is spending £50,000 of his own money
on a mercy mission to Pakistan.
Dr Shahmalak, from Crown Clinic in Manchester, will carry out an eyelash transplant on Sidrah’s left eyelid.
Other patients he is helping on the trip include: 
* Sana Naz, 24, who lost both eyebrows and most of her eyelashes in an acid attack by a former male friend;
* Waqar Ali, 22, who lost his left eye, eyelid and most of his left eyebrow after being doused in acid last year;
* Niaz Bano, 52, who was attacked with acid ten years ago after a family row and now needs reconstruction work to her left eyebrow and eyelash.
Dr Shahmalak is also helping patients hurt in accidents including Arzoo Iobal, 20, who suffered serious facial scarring and lost most of her left eyebrow after collapsing on a hot plate following a fit; Reshma Rashid, 42, who lost both her eyebrows when a gas cylinder exploded; and Salma Hanif, who lost her left eye after a cooking accident.
All the patients were happy to share their stories to raise awareness of what little help is available in Pakistan for patients suffering these type of injuries.
Dr Shahmalak, a skilled former NHS surgeon, is best known for his work with celebrities including model Calum Best, Gogglebox’s Chris Steed and Homes Under The Hammer star Martin Roberts who have all had hair transplants at Crown Clinic.
He funded a previous mercy mission to help acid attack victims in Karachi two years ago.
He said: “I wept when I heard their stories. Being doused with acid because you turned down a man’s marriage proposal – people were treated better in the Middle Ages.
“Helping to rebuild their faces is some of the most rewarding work that I do. Just seeing their smiles after the surgery makes it all worthwhile.
“There is so much more work to do. I am just glad that I am able to make a difference to these people’s lives.
“This is payback time for me for the fantastic medical training I received when I was growing in Pakistan which I have used for the benefit of patients in the years since in the NHS and in my private clinic.
Father-of-two Dr Shahmalak, who was born in Karachi but moved to the UK after qualifying as a doctor, lives in Cheadle, Manchester, with his wife Rubina, a GP.
As well as carrying out the transplants, he will help to train local doctors and technicians in his techniques so that his work could carry on at local hospitals on his return to Britain.
Dr Shahmalak said: “They had given up hope of ever getting help because the Government in Pakistan cannot afford to do anything for them. We were their last hope.
“They are not accepted by society because of their disfigurement. They cannot get jobs and, in some case, they have been disowned by their families and left to beg on the streets.”
Dr Shahmalak was introduced to the patients by the Karachi-based charity Depilex Smile Again whose founder Masarrat Misbah has worked tirelessly to help victims of acid attacks.
One of the women he helped previously was Kanwal Qayyum, 29, who lost her nose after being doused with sulphuric acid while she slept by a jealous friend.
Surgeons have spent the past 10 years painstakingly rebuilding her face including remodelling her nose with tissue from her thigh.
Dr Shahmalak created new eyebrows and eyelashes for her and she said after the treatment: “I cannot thank the doctor enough. He completely transformed my face and I love my new eyebrows and new eyelashes.”

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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When the sun comes out, we know that we need to apply sunscreen to protect our skin, but many people forget to pay the same care to protecting their hair. Between the sun, sea and swimming pools, many of our favourite summer activities can significantly damage our hair – so the next time you go out to enjoy the sunshine, find out what you can do to protect it.


Why does sun damage the hair?


Sun damage to the hair is caused by the harmful UVA and UVB rays, which damage the outermost layer of the layer – the cuticle – and weaken the protein structure of the hair, making it dry, brittle and more prone to breaking. Some people find that their hair lightens in the sun, as the rays act in a similar fashion to bleach, stripping the melanin from the hair.


Protecting your hair from the sun


Wearing a hat is an easy way to protect your hair and scalp from the sun, especially if you’re outside when the sun is at its strongest. Hair SPF is also an option, which can usually be bought as a spray to be misted over the hair. Pay extra attention to the scalp – many people forget that the scalp can burn just as easily as the rest of the skin, ending up with an itchy, flaky, burnt scalp. If you do burn your scalp, rinse your hair in cool water and apply aloe vera to the affected areas, and make sure to keep your head covered when going outdoors.

If your hair is looking dry, try a deep conditioning treatment to restore some of the lost moisture to the hair, and avoid wearing your hair in any tight styles that may pull on the scalp. Summer is also a good time to temporarily stop using hairdryers, straighteners and any other hot tools to avoid adding to the sun damage.


Protecting your hair from the sea


Salt water is notorious for drying out the hair. It leaches moisture out of it, making it incredibly brittle and tangled, which can cause significant breakage. Before you go swimming, saturate your hair with clean water to prevent it from absorbing as much salt water, and don’t let it sit in your hair – rinse it thoroughly as soon as you get out of the sea. Deep conditioners and hair masks will also help replenish the moisture.


Protecting your hair in a swimming pool


Just like salt water, chlorinated water is very harsh and drying on the hair, so you can take similar precautions to swim in the sea. You could also try a swimming cap, as this not only prevents the chlorine from damaging your hair, but it will also protect your scalp from sunburn. If you have highlighted or blonde hair, be especially careful when in a swimming pool, as the copper and chlorine in the water have been known to form a film that sticks to the proteins in hair, turning it a green shade. Thankfully, this isn’t permanent, but make sure to enter the pool with wet hair and rinse it as soon as you get out.

However you are spending your summer, if you have any questions or queries about your hair, take a look at our hair advice or give our team a call.

Over the past few months, there have been a significant number of reports in the news of people experiencing hair loss after being diagnosed with COVID-19. As a result, the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has listed hair loss as a possible long-term effect of the illness, along with symptoms such as fatigue, dizziness and joint pain. 

A study published by the medical journal The Lancet reported that 22% of the patients it had observed suffered from some degree of hair loss six months after falling ill, with women being more affected than men. 


Why does COVID-19 cause hair loss? 


Although there are several studies linking coronavirus and hair loss, many of the reports we hear about are anecdotal – at the moment, it’s too soon for scientists to officially establish a link between the two. 

However, the type of hair loss that COVID-19 sufferers are reporting seems to be consistent with telogen effluvium. Telogen effluvium occurs when more hairs than usual suddenly enter the shedding phase of the hair growth cycle at once, causing a more noticeable amount of hair to shed at once. It’s normal to lose up to 150 hairs per day, but if you spot that you’re losing much more than that – such as clumps coming out when you’re brushing or washing your hair – it could be telogen effluvium. 

Due to the length of the hair cycle, telogen effluvium typically occurs two or three months after a period of significant stress, which can include illnesses such as COVID-19. When undergoing stressful situations, the body puts all its resources into maintaining essential functions only – which, unsurprisingly, does not include hair growth. As a result, you end up with hair loss. 

However, several other conditions can cause hair loss – such as thyroid issues or nutritional deficiencies – so if you are concerned, visit your GP, who can rule out other underlying causes with a simple blood test. 


Will my hair grow back after having COVID? 


If the hair loss is the result of telogen effluvium, most people will find that the hair will eventually grow back without the need for treatment. Typically, once the trigger or stressor is removed, the hair will grow back on its own. 

If you notice that the hair loss is persisting, there are a number of medical, cosmetic and hair transplant treatments available to help – Crown Clinic offers a range of options to support those struggling with hair loss, so don’t hesitate to get in touch

When performed by a qualified, experienced hair transplant surgeon, hair transplants are a very safe procedure. Hair restoration is a minimally invasive treatment that allows patients to return home the same day, with the procedure only requiring local anaesthetic. 

However, if you undergo a hair transplant abroad – such as in Turkey – the risk attached is much higher. 


Risks of hair transplants in Turkey 


It’s no secret that undergoing hair transplant surgery in countries such as Turkey is a gamble. Every year, countless patients are reeled in by the low prices and package deals offered by overseas clinics. Many of the clinics boast ‘five-star’ ratings and an active social media presence, duping unsuspecting patients into thinking they are visiting a reputable clinic. Although, when you dig a little deeper, you may discover the reviews are faked and the ‘after’ pictures are heavily edited or taken from other clinics. 

Another trick that patients fall for is believing that a surgeon will be carrying out the procedure, as many of the clinics advertise that a surgeon leads them to convince patients that they are legitimate. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean a surgeon will be carrying out the hair transplant itself. In fact, many clinics hire under-qualified technicians with little training to keep the costs down, only seeking the supervision of a surgeon if the procedure goes wrong. 

Over the years, Crown Clinic has fixed countless botched hair transplants, mainly from overseas clinics. The most common problems that we see are unnatural-looking hairlines and unsightly scarring as the result of the surgery being carried out by unlicensed practitioners. Other risks are infections, as sanitation is often extremely poor at the clinics and damage to the scalp due to the result of the incorrect tools being used to carry out the surgery. 


Are there any side effects to having a hair transplant? 


If you choose to have a hair transplant in the UK with a reputable surgeon, side effects will be minimal. The hygiene standards will be incredibly high, meaning the risk of infection is negligible, and you will be given clear instructions on how to take care of your scalp after the procedure. Crown Clinic has an excellent aftercare service, offering a day-by-day guide to ensure optimum healing and results.  

Unlike at overseas clinics, where it can be impossible to follow up after the procedure to discuss any concerns related to your hair transplant, Crown Clinic is more than happy to answer any questions you may have during this phase.