Guide to eyelash transplants

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Surgeon Asim Shahmalak at Crown Clinic is one of the few hair transplant surgeons in the world carrying out eyelash transplants.
The procedure was pioneered in America where Mr Shahmalak was taught
how to perform the operation at the Orlando Life Surgery Workshop.
Mr Shahmalak brought it to the UK five years ago and since then he has
been performed the procedure on many women at his world famous clinic near Manchester airport. The main reason women come to him is because they have wrecked their natural eyelashes by sticking on
false eyelashes. Many women accidentally rip out their natural eyelashes
taking out false eyelashes – damaging them irreparably.
Mr Shahmalak brought the operation to the UK because he had seen there
was a demand for it in the US.
Mr Shahmalak performed the UK’s first eyelash transplant on a patient from
Manchester in 2009.
He is also well known for his work with male celebrities and he has
performed hair transplants on stars such as TV doctor Christian Jessen
and Calum Best. Christian Jessen, who had a follicular unit transplantation procedure, recommends him to his patients.

Eyelash Transplant

Eyelash implants are a form of cosmetic surgery involving
transplanting additional eyelashes around the eye. 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
eyelids, augmenting the existing eyelashes or replacing them completely if a patient has lost all their natural eyelashes. The procedure typically
involves 60 to 70 hairs per eye, and after removal and a thorough
cleaning of the oil on the hair, they are reattached to patient by
delicately threading the lashes into the eyelids. Maintenance of the
eyelashes is needed thereafter, as the hair continues to grow at the
same rate as on other parts of the body.

How the operation works

The eyelash transplant procedure is done in the following manner: 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
upper eyelid by the surgeon by threading with a curved needle.  The
procedure takes approximately 2-3 hours and costs around £4,000.

Why have an eyelash transplant?

Eyelashes make an important contribution to facial symmetry and
presentation of self to others. A person without eyelashes may feel
very self-conscious about his/her appearance.
Like general hair transplant surgery, eyelash surgery can be required
because of a number of reasons:
* Physical trauma-facial injury and scarring resulting from events such
as road accidents, industrial accidents, thermal and chemical burns,
tattoos on the eyelid – together with traction alopecia associated
with common use of false eyelashes.
* Medical and surgical treatments. Surgical treatment of injury or
tumour that results in removal of eyelash follicles and tissue
scarring; radiotherapy or chemotherapy for cancer that results in loss
of hair.
* Compulsive plucking of eyebrows, eyelashes and other body hair –
termed Trichotillomania.
* Absence of hair on all parts of the body as a congenital condition can
also be a reason to consider eyelash surgery.
In recent times more and more people are looking to eyelash
transplantation in order to get the eyelashes they want. Such
transplants are relatively new developments and some believe they
should only be carried out for medically necessary eyelash
replacement. This is not the case: eyelash transplants are increasingly popular as a cosmetic procedure.

What maintenance do the new eyelashes need?

The transplanted eyelashes come from head hair and therefore the new
eyelashes grow just like they would on the head. That means that they need to
be trimmed regularly, just like head hair. They 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 lashes perfectly blend with existing lashes.


Patients’ eyes will be a little delicate for a few days after the
procedure before quickly returning to normal. It takes around six
months for the new lashes to fully grow in and be seen at their best.

Successful eyelash transplant patient

Finance director Caroline Medcalf, 42, said her life has been
transformed by the £4,000 eyelash transplant operation at the Crown
Caroline said she ended up looking like a ‘frog’ when she wrecked her
natural eyelashes after becoming addicted to wearing false lashes.
Increasing numbers of women are damaging their eyelashes permanently
due the boom in synthetic lashes sparked by celebrities such as Cheryl
Other women require eyelash transplants after suffering from the
psychological condition trichotillomania – where sufferers rip out
their body hair.
Reality TV star Sam Faiers is a sufferer and
has told how she has no hair on her eyelids after tearing it all out.
Caroline was left with just 3 eyelashes on her upper right lid and 19
on her upper left lid after years of damage through gluing on false
The damage was made worse when she got an gum eye infection a year ago
which caused itching and she rubbed off many of her already weakened
natural lashes.
With almost completely bald upper lids, Caroline was too embarrassed
to leave her house or even let her family, boyfriend or friends see
her without her false eyelashes.
Caroline, from Worsley, Greater Manchester, said her life has been
transformed by the operation.
She said: “It feels like a miracle to have hair on my eyelids when for
so long there was nothing.
“I am so pleased that I have had it done.
“I will now have lovely long, natural eyelashes for the rest of my
life  – and need never wear false eyelashes again.
“The only new beauty routine I will have to adopt is curling and
trimming my new lashes every couple of weeks.
“Because they are made from head hair they grow in just the same way
and need more grooming than natural eyelashes.”
Mr Shahmalak said: “I am very proud to be the only surgeon in the UK currently
carrying out this operation.
“Caroline’s new lashes will last for the rest of her life, though she
will need to
trim and curl them every few weeks.
Mr Shahmalak said that the procedure was becoming more popular in the
He said: “Lots of women permanently damage their eyelashes by
overusing false ones. The glue can block the hair follicle and they
can end up losing their natural lash.
“The problem has been made worse by the boom in their use in recent
years, thanks to celebrities such as Cheryl Cole and the stars of
Strictly Come Dancing.
“I also see women needing eyelash transplants who have suffered from
trichotillomania – a psychological conditions which sees them rip out
their eyelashes, causing permanent damage which only an
eyelash transplant can remedy.”

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.