Wayne Rooney made a triumphant return to British football earlier this month with a victory in the FA Cup for his new side Derby County.
There was a lot of speculation before the match about what had happened to the former England captain’s beard because it was darker in colour and bushier.
What was also interesting was how much thicker Rooney’s hair was on his scalp, sparking speculation that the ex-Manchester United star has had a third hair transplant.
Rooney has probably done more than any other man to popularise hair transplants and make them seem like an attractive option to improve the appearance of any man over the age of 25 who is losing his hair.
Rooney’s first FUE (follicular unit extraction) hair transplant in 2011 when the star was 25 caused a sensation.
The 34-year-old star later explained in his autobiography that he had started losing his hair in his teens and this aggressive male pattern of baldness had continued in his early 20s.
Rooney has a powerful baldness gene in his family and his father is completely bald on the top of his head.
Wayne would have gone the same way if he had not taken action.
What made Rooney’s case so striking was that he was completely open about getting help with his hair.
The response was wholly positive. Far from being mocked by football fans, they applauded him for doing something positive to sort out his looks.
Men like Wayne with aggressive male pattern baldness in their 20s are going to struggle to keep a full head of hair. Hair loss is a continual process so, just because Rooney had had his first hair transplant, it did not mean that he would not continue to lose more of his natural hair, though the transplanted hair is permanent.
For that reason, Wayne had a second hair transplant in 2013 – bolstering his thinning hair further.
Wayne could have slowed down or halted his natural hair loss by taking a medically-proven hair loss treatment such as Finasteride, also known as Propecia. This is prescribed by Crown Clinic’s hair transplant surgeon Dr Asim Shahmalak.
Dr Shahmalak sometimes uses Finasteride in conjunction with a hair transplant to treat patients – giving two-pronged solutions to the problem, both surgical and medicinal.
While Finasteride is not a banned substance for athletes, there is a suggestion that it might take the edge off an athlete’s natural aggression which may have dissuaded Wayne from taking it.
Wayne has suffered further hair loss in the seven years since his second procedure. There is a strong likelihood that he has had a third procedure because his hair does look noticeably thicker on the top.
Rooney has used artificial thickener to temporarily thicken his hair before big games to look better for the cameras, but this washes off in the shower.
Wayne could have just been using a temporary thickener this time but a more likely solution is a third transplant. He is to be congratulated on an excellent result.
Why has Rooney gone to such extraordinary lengths to keep hold of his hair? Because he wants to look good, and men with a full head of hair tend to be happier and more confident.
The other factor is money: he is far more attractive to sponsors with a full head of hair, and his image rights are worth millions.
Dr Shahmalak treats lots of high-profile clients like Wayne Rooney each year and his celebrity clients include Coronation Street star Jack P Shepherd, model Calum Best, TV doctor Christian Jessen and Homes Under The Hammer presenter Martin Roberts.