Gary Lineker joked that the stress of being a football manager had caused Slaven Bilic to GAIN more hair rather than lose it.
And today the truth about the West Bromwich Albion manger's hair transplant can be revealed.
The 50-year-old has undergone at least two FUT (follicular unit transplantation) procedures to restore his hair.
Viewers spotted the tell-tale signs of a procedure when he appeared on TV as a pundit shortly after his second operation – the red pin pricks on his scalp, scarring from where extra hair had been added to his hairline.
The transplanted hair has grown back, and the transformation in Bilic's hair is remarkable.
The difference was so noticeable that Match of the Day host Gary Lineker took to Twitter to joke about Bilic's procedure.
He wrote: “Most managers under the cosh might lose their hair, Slaven Bilic appears to be gaining it.”
Hair transplant surgeon Asim Shahmalak, Britian's leading expert on hair loss, said that Bilic had got a great result.
Dr Shahmalak from the Crown Clinic in Manchester said: “Slaven's hair is looking fantastic and that is all down to the hair transplant procedures he has had. You can see all the signs of a hair transplant in the picture on the left below taken shortly after his second operation.
“That's why there was that the redness at the front of his scalp where the new hair had been transplanted. It also explains his hair cut.
“He has had a FUT (follicular unit transplantation) procedure, also known as strip harvesting. This is where a strip of skin is removed from the back or side of the scalp to harvest the donor hair. I think it is an FUT because of the length of the donor hair.”
Dr Shahmalak explained that newly transplanted hair falls out immediately after the operation while the follicles bed into their new home.
It takes several months for the transplanted hair to grow back fully which is evident of the picture of Bilic on the right with his transplanted hair fully grown back.
Dr Shahmalak said: “His new hair is really bedding in now and fans can see how the hair transplant has transformed his hairline. He has a good covering of hair right across his scalp and he looks years younger.”
Dr Shahmalak said that lots of footballers had followed Wayne Rooney in having a hair transplant.
He said: “It all comes down to money. The image rights for a footballer like Rooney run into millions. The fact is, he is a lot more attractive to international brands if he has a full head of hair. There are very few global sporting icons who are bald.
“Wayne has done a great job preserving his hair and so has Slaven, too.”
Other managers who have also had hair transplants include Liverpool's Jurgen Klopp and ex-Chelsea boss Antonio Conte.
Dr Shahmalak has performed procedures on a string of Premiership stars, most of whom prefer not to go public.
Ex-Liverpool and Man City star Didi Hamann, now a TV pundit, had a hair transplant with Dr Shahmalak at Crown Clinic because he wanted to look younger on TV after being inspired by Wayne Rooney. Didi had an FUE transplant (follicular unit extraction), where the grafts are extracted individually from the back and side of the scalp and then replanted in the balding areas in the same way as FUT.
Didi said: “I have always like Wayne both as a player and as a human. I remember thinking when he had his hair done, 'Good for him – he wants to look better and isn't afraid to tell the world about it.'
“I'm the same. I am happy to go public and make clear that you can really benefit from giving nature a helping hand.”
Dr Shahmalak's other celebrity clients include the TV doctor Christian Jessen, the model Calum Best and Jack P Shepherd, who plays David Platt in Coronation Street.
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.