Why is Prince Harry’s hair loss accelerating so quickly?

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Dr Asim Shahmalak, consultant hair transplant surgeon at Crown Clinic, is one of the UK's leading expert on hair loss.
His celebrity clients include Coronation Street star Jack P Shepherd, TV doctor Christian Jessen, model Calum Best and Homes Under The Hammer presenter Martin Roberts. He gets media enquiries from all over the world. The subject he is asked about most often at present is Prince Harry's hair loss.

Specifically, people want to know why the 35-year-old royal is losing his hair so quickly. Here are some of the most popular questions.

How quickly has Harry lost his hair since marrying Meghan and becoming a father compared to before marrying her – and why would that be?

Dr Asim Shahmalak said: “Prince Harry's hair loss has accelerated in the last two years since his marriage to Meghan.
“Over that time his bald patch has more than doubled in size. His bald patch is most noticeable around the crown area but his hair is thinning fast towards the front of his hairline, too.
“While stress is a small factor in hair loss, the main reason for his hair loss is the Windsor baldness gene.
“Prince Harry has just been unlucky. That gene has really kicked in just at the time that he has met the woman of his dreams. His hair loss was much slower before he met Meghan. I don't think meeting Meghan is a factor. His baldness gene took off at exactly the wrong time.”

How does Harry’s hair loss compare to his brother and dad’s hair loss?

Dr Asim Shahmalak said: “Prince Harry is now experiencing the aggressive hair loss that his older brother William went through in his 20s. William is 37 now, two years older than Harry, but he pretty much lost all the hair on the top of his scalp in his 20s. By the end of his 20s, Prince William was balder than his father (Prince Charles) and his grandfather (Prince Philip).
“Prince Harry's hair loss was slower to take root than his older brother. They have the same baldness gene but it does not always proceed at the same rate amongst family members.
“Harry's hair loss has really accelerated in the last two years. He will be as bald as his big brother if he does not take action.
“Prince William has chosen to embrace his hair loss, wear his remaining hair short and do nothing about it. I suspect that Prince Harry will be more proactive in sorting out his problem.
“It was reported earlier this month that Prince Harry has been seeing a trichologist about using hair thickener products.
“There are clinically proven drugs you can take to combat hair loss.
 “Finasteride, also known as Propecia, could slow down or even stop Harry's hair loss.
“A lot of men take in combination with a hair transplant. It won't grow him any new hair but it is clinically proven to treat hair loss and is effective.
“A very small number of patients experience symptoms such as loss of libido and the growth of man boobs. These might put Harry off but they soon go away when you stop taking the drug.”

What are the causes of hair loss usually?

Dr Asim Shahmalak said: “The overwhelming cause of hair loss is your genes. It started with Prince Philip and has now been passed down to Prince Charles and on to his sons Prince William and Prince Harry. Let's hope baby Archie doesn't get it, too!
“It is a myth that the baldness gene is only passed down on the mother's side. Even here, there is a pattern of hair loss because Harry's mother Princess Diana had a bald father in Earl Spencer.
“So Harry has the baldness gene in both sides of his family. He was always at a high risk of suffering male pattern baldness.” 

What reasons do most men who come in to have hair transplants give for their choice to have it? Could Meghan have persuaded him to go and get a hair transplant?

Dr Asim Shahmalak said: “Prince Harry could have come under pressure from his bride Meghan to tackle his hair loss.
“She was a Hollywood actress in her former career so she knows very well the value of looking good.
“A lot of my clients come due to subtle pressure applied by their partners who would rather not be dating a bald man. That could well be what is happening with Harry.
“It is important to stress that Prince Harry has not had a hair transplant at this stage. He may well be taking medication to slow or halt his hair loss but it is very difficult to hide having a hair transplant when you are as high profile as Harry. You would have be able to tell through the scarring in the immediate aftermath of the operation.
“But the only way that Prince Harry can properly tackle his aggressive hair loss is with a hair transplant. He is at a good age and at a good stage of his hair loss for such an operation. He still has a good covering of donor hair at the back and side of his scalp and a hair transplant operation could make a real difference to his appearance, making him appear years younger.
“If Meghan isn't already persuading him to have a hair transplant, she should do.
“It is too late for Prince William. His male pattern baldness is at such an advanced stage that there is little that can be done to cover it up, short of wearing a wig.
“That is not the case with Harry. His situation can still be salvaged but he needs to have a hair transplant in the next couple of years to stop the rot and also take medication to slow down or halt his hair loss. There is no reason why Harry should eventually be as bald as his brother, father and grandfather if he takes action now.
“Prince Harry is about to embark on a new career away from the royal family where he will need to be attractive and marketable to big brands. A good way to do that is with a hair transplant.
“I would not be surprised if Meghan was advising him to have one. And that would be very good advice.
“Harry could have a FUE (follicular unit extraction) hair transplant like my clients Jack P Shepherd and Calum Best
“Hairs are extracted individually from the back and sides of the scalp and replanted in the balding areas on the top.
“With 1,500 grafts, which amounts to around 3,000 individual hairs, he could fill in his bald patches. He may need a further hair transplant a few years later if he does not take medication to slow down his natural hair loss. But there is every indication that he is already taking that medication.”

If you’d like to find out more about the hair transplant procedure, please feel free to contact our team who will be happy to help.

Curious about celebrity hair transplants? Read our celebrity case studies here

 


 

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.