Hair transplant surgeon Asim Shahmalak in the news for his work with acid attack victims

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You may have seen Crown Clinic's hair transplant surgeon Asim Shahmalak in the news this week for his work with acid attack victims in Pakistan.

Two years ago, Asim lead a team from Crown Clinic who went over to Karachi to provide eyelash, eyebrow and hair transplants to women who had been horrifically scarred in these attacks.

Asim recently went back to Pakistan to meet some new patients who he will be helping with a team from Crown Clinic on a trip later this year.

He was also reunited with Kanwal Qayyum, a beautiful 29-year-old mother-of-four who was scarred for life after a jealous friend doused her with sulphuric acid because she wanted to better herself and become an air stewardess.

We released this story to the media this week and it go out a phenomenal response. Asim was in demand with the world's media – doing interviews with BBC1's North West Today, BBC Greater Manchester and BBC Asian Network.

The story was picked up all over the world including on popular sites such as Mail Online. You can see the Mail Online story here:


Read the full story of Asim's extraordinary work with Kanwal Qayyum here:

A woman horrifically scarred in an acid attack because a jealous friend did not want her to become an air hostess has shared pictures of her remarkable facial reconstruction.
Kanwal Qayyum, 29, was horrifically injured after being doused with sulphuric acid while she slept by a bitter former pal who hated the idea of her bettering herself.
She lost her nose in the attack in Pakistan and surgeons have spent the past decade painstakingly rebuilding her features.
They completely rebuilt her nose using tissue from her thigh.
One of the team helping her has been hair transplant surgeon Asim Shahmalak, from Manchester, who travelled to Karachi to create two new eyebrows and a new eyelashes in the left eyelid for Kanwal from hair taken from the back of her scalp.
Dr Shahmalak, best known for his work with celebrity hair transplant patients like Calum Best at Crown Clinic close to Manchester Airport, was reunited with Kanwal on a trip to Karachi last week where she proudly showed off her new eyebrows and eyelashes which have grown back following his reconstruction work two years ago.
The acid used to attack her can be bought for as little as 15p a bottle in the streets near her home with no questions asked.
Before the surgery, she used a black marker to give the impression that she still had eyebrows.
Dr Shahmalak is one of only a handful of surgeons in the world who can carry out eyelash and eyebrow transplants.
In the UK, he performs these operations on women who have wrecked their brows or lashes through over-plucking or misusing false eyelashes.
Kanwal, now planning fresh surgery on her nose, has got married since first being helped by Dr Shahmalak.
Kanwal, who wants her story and pictures to be shared to raise awareness about the plight of acid attack victims in Pakistan, said: “I cannot thank the doctor enough – he has completely transformed my face and I love my new eyebrows and new eyelashes.”
These pictures show the extraordinary transformation in Kanwal's appearance since the attack 10 years ago as surgeons have rebuilt her face and created a new nose for her.
Father-of-two Dr Shahmalak, who lives with his GP wife Rubina in Cheadle, Manchester, said: “Kanwal is one of the bravest women I have ever met. The surgeons have done a remarkable job completely rebuilding her features and I was delighted to be able to help with her eyebrows and new eyelashes.
“It was wonderful to hear how she has turned her life around, found happiness and got married.
“She is now having her nose remodelled and making amazing progress every time I meet her. It has been so rewarding to be part of her recovery.”
Dr Shahmalak met Kanwal again while on a new mercy mission to Pakistan last week. He has identified seven new people he will help with free hair, eyebrow and eyelash transplants later this year.
He is taking a team from Crown Clinic to carry out the surgical reconstruction.
He spent £50,000 of his own money helping Kanwal and five other women on a previous trip two years ago  – one of whom was attacked with acid after turning down a man's marriage proposal.
Dr Shahmalak, a skilled former NHS surgeon, works with celebrities including Gogglebox's Chris Steed, football pundit Didi Hamann and Homes Under The Hammer star Martin Roberts, who have all recently had procedures at Crown Clinic, one of the world's leading hair transplant centres.
He said: “I wept when I heard these women's stories. Being doused with acid because you refused 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.”
Dr Shahmalak, who was born in Karachi but moved to the UK after qualifying as a doctor, was introduced to the patients by the Pakistan-based charity Depilex Smileagain Foundation whose founder Masarrat Misbah has worked tirelessly to help victims of acid attacks.

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.