Four myths about hair transplant surgery

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If you are thinking about having a hair transplant, you need to have all the facts.

As with any surgical procedure, there is a lot of misinformation out there or, to use the more topical term, fake news about hair transplantation. 

Crown Clinic's owner and hair transplant surgeon Asim Shahmalak wants to help you make an informed decision over whether hair restoration is right for you.

The most important consideration for Dr Shahmalak is that his patients are happy with their transplant and feel they have received value for money once they have visited Crown Clinic. Patient satisfaction is everything to us.

Dr Shahmalak wants to dispell four of the most common myths about hair restoration

1 Hair restoration is expensive

You are embarking on a procedure that will last you for the rest of your life – bringing benefits to your self-esteem and body confidence.

The hair you have transplanted – whether by FUE (follicular unit extraction), the method favoured by Crown Clinic patient Calum Best and Wayne Rooney, or by FUT (follicular unit transplantation, also known as strip surgery), the method favoured by Crown Clinic patient, TV doctor Christian Jessen- will last you for the rest of your life.

Martin Roberts, the Homes Under The Hammer presenter, came to Crown Clinic for an FUE procedure covering his balding crown. He likened the cost of upgrading or replacing a car which most people do every five to ten years. This costs anywhere between £5,000 and £12,000 – the same cost as a hair transplant.

What is going to bring you the most benefits in the long-term – a new car or a new hairline? We like to think that most patients realise that it is money well spent.

2 Any doctor can perform hair transplant surgery

The most important decision you make when embarking on a hair transplant procedure is the choice of the surgeon. It is vital you do your research before picking a surgeon who is right for you. A great place to start is the testimonials on a surgeon's website. You want to be looking for lots of happy patients who have been treated recently – hopefully, supported by photos showing a real change in their hairline. It is important that your surgeon is respected in the industry he or she works in. Look to see if they are members of respected industry bodies such as the International Alliance of Hair Restoration Surgeons (IAHRS). The IAHRS is an invitation-only body representing only the very best hair transplant surgeons in the world. Crown Clinic's Asim Shahmalak is a member of the IAHRS.

Hair restoration is a speciality – and you want to be seeing a specialist. The difference a skilled surgeon can make is in how the transplanted hair blends in with a patient's natural hair. The very best surgeons make this blend entirely natural so that no one can tell what is natural hair and what is transplanted hair. 

3 Results are immediate 

You didn't lose your hair overnight – and you cannot restore it with any immediacy either. A hair transplant is the redistribution of hair from one part of the scalp to another. Virtually all men have a permanent 'horseshoe' of hair around the back and side of their scalp that is permanent, no matter what their age. Hair loss most commonly occurs on the crown, across the mid-scalp, on the temples and hairline. Hair transplants involve extracting hair from this horseshoe and using it to fill in the balding areas. It takes between six months to a year for the transplanted hair to full grow back and be shown off to its best effect.

4 Hair loss will stop after a hair transplant

Sadly this is not the case – hair loss is a continual process. It does tend to slow down in men after middle age but there is a danger that you will carry on losing your natural hair even after a hair transplant. The transplanted hair is permanent but you can still lose natural hair around the the newly transplanted hair. 

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.