Guide to eyebrow transplants

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Key points about eyebrow transplant surgery

Crown Clinic’s surgeon Asim Shahmalak is one of the few surgeons in the UK carrying out eyebrow transplants.
The operation was pioneered in America and Mr Shahmalak brought it to the UK six years ago.
Since then he has performed the procedure on many women. The main reason women come to him is because  they have wrecked their natural eyebrows through over-plucking.
Pencil thin lashes have been very fashionable previously, particular in the 1980s and 1990s when women mimicked the look of stars such as Baywatch’s Pamela Anderson who always had thin brows.
The result is that significant numbers of women permanently damaged their eyelashes to such an extent that they were left with a completely bald or very patchy brows.
Many women permanently damage their brows while suffering from a psychological condition known as trichotillomania. Sufferers have a compulsion to rip out their body hair and often target their eyebrows and lashes.
And some women have naturally very thin brows and just want a fuller heavier brow.
This bushier look has become far more fashionable in recent years, thanks to the Duchess of Cambridge and supermodels Cara Delevingne both favouring a fuller brow.

Eyebrow Transplant

Eyebrow Hair Transplants are surging in popularity as women and even some men seek ways to permanently restore or establish hair in the area. The process typically involves removing a section of hair from the patient,
typically from the back of the head, and grafting the hair to the
eyebrow, augmenting the existing brows or replacing them completely if a patient has lost all their natural brows. The procedure typically
involves 250 hairs transplanted into each brow – so 500 in total. Maintenance of the
eyebrows is needed thereafter, as the hair continues to grow at the
same rate as on other parts of the body.

The Procedure

During a follicular unit extraction eyebrow hair transplant procedure, the donor area is prepared first. An
area (2 inches X 3/8 inch) of scalp in the back of the head is numbed
with a local anesthetic. That section (scalp strip) is removed and the
gap is sewn shut with stitches. The scalp strip is given to a
technician who cuts and separates the hair tissue into single hair
follicular grafts. The grafts are then one by one implanted into the
brown. The
procedure takes approximately 2-3 hours and costs around £4,000.
It is performed under local anaesthetic and many patients comfortably fall asleep during the procedure.
The results are permanent and you will see some immediate differences with a new outline. The full results are typically expected within 12 months for a standard FUE hair transplant.
Hair grows in three stages so don’t be alarmed if you see some shedding after the hair transplant – it is normal. Hair growth varies between people and as the transplanted hair continues to grow, as it has done in the original donor area, you will need to trim the hairs in order to achieve and maintain the desired look. This is very rarely an issue for patients as most are used to plucking and shaving some part of their body regularly.


Why have an eyelash transplant?

Eyebrows are a very important facial feature. A person without eyebrows or with very thin eyebrows can feel very self-conscious about their appearance.

Many people simply want a full brow to look better.

Others reasons:

* Injury: patients may have permanently damaged their eyebrows in an accident. We treat a lot of burns victims. 

* Patients who have had chemotherapy or radiotherapy. 
* Compulsive plucking of eyebrows, eyelashes and other body hair –
termed Trichotillomania.

What maintenance do the new eyelashes need?

The transplanted eyelashes come from head hair and therefore the new
eyebrows grow just like they would on the head. That means that they need to
be trimmed regularly, just like head hair. They may also need to be curled
so that they blend perfectly with the existing natural eyelashes.
Trimming and curling is easily done and Crown Clinic provide patient
with a beauty kit to do this. Patients find that with this simple
maintenance their new brows perfectly blend with existing brows.

Successful eyebrow transplant patients

Claire Culverwell spent £4,000 on an eyebrow transplant after over
plucking ruined her appearance.
The dental therapist was left with just a few hairs on her brows after
permanently damaging them by plucking over 14 years with tweezers.
Before the procedure, she was so short of confidence that she did not
want to open the door without make-up on because she was so
embarrassed over her looks.
Just as men have their thinning locks boosted with follicles taken
from the backs of their heads, women can have their eyebrows thickened
using the same technique.
There has been a surge in demand from women, like Claire, who have
been over-zealous with  plucking, according to the British Association
of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons.

These pictures show how Claire’s eyebrows were transformed during a
six-hour operation at the Crown Clinic.
In the pictures BEFORE the procedure, her eyebrows are barely
noticeable – a thin line of hair.
The after pictures – taken months after the op when the new brows have
fully grown in – show the brows completely restored to their
pre-plucking size.
Claire, 30,  said she was thrilled with the results.
She said: “This is big problem for thousand and thousands of women –
especially for those around my age.
“It was very fashionable when I was a teenager to pluck your eyebrows
– everyone was at it.
“I wanted to look like the Baywatch star Pamela Anderson and, to have
that look, you had to pluck your eyebrows.
“I carried on doing it over may years at home with tweezers and ended
up permanently damaging my brows.
“A hair follicle only has a finite number of cycles of growth and if
you pluck it too many times, you end up killing it off.
“That is what happened with me.
“I didn’t understand the harm I was doing to my eyebrows in my teens
and I was horrified when I finally learnt the truth in my twenties.
“It badly affected my confidence. I didn’t like people seeing me
without make-up – I would be reluctant to open the door if I hadn’t
used my eyebrow pencil.
“And obviously it affected me with men. You don’t want your boyfriend
to see your real eyebrows.
“I realised I had brought this on myself and I was a little
embarrassed to seek treatment. I thought the only people who had
eyebrow transplants were people who suffered from alopecia.”

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.