Could a hair transplant be the key to your success?

Dr Roshan Vara talks about hair loss, how it can affect your life and the common myths about hair restoration surgery.

Hair is one of the best ways to express identity. You often cut, colour and style it in ways that will improve your appearance, but on a deeper level you might even change your hair to reflect mood, personality and even career. Suffering from hair loss can therefore be devastating and with up to 50% of both men and women being affected by the age of 50, the issue is a common one.

The start of a hair loss journey is usually a very personal experience. You may notice hairs falling out in the shower or stuck to your comb. Some people start to notice when they are unable to style their hair in the way they used to. You might not even notice your hair loss at all, and it can be brought to your attention by a comment from a loved one or a photograph taken from an unsuspecting angle where you have clearly lost hair. Whichever way it happens, starting that hair loss journey can have many ramifications, both professionally and personally.

How can hair loss impact my professional life?
It is well known that hair loss can sometimes affect confidence and therefore our ability to perform in high pressure situations. For instance, when we speak publicly or present to important investors our physical appearance must be as sharp as the content we deliver. A balding man may lack the confidence to present the best version of himself, potentially putting at risk substantial amounts of money.

The impact of hair loss on your professional life and self-worth is now widely reflected in a number of studies. Two thousand men were surveyed and 80% admitted that their hair reflected how professional they looked. Therefore like a sharp suit, or smart pair of shoes, a full head of hair makes an interesting case as a modern business accessory.

How can hair loss impact my personal life?
Although some men may be able to embrace their hair loss, others are often left with a feeling of dread and a lack of control. Being unable to stop or reverse hair loss can instil a feeling of anxiety and depression in anyone. In extreme cases this may establish itself as a body dysmorphic disorder in which a person has an obsessive anxiety about their looks. This can result in self-imposed social isolation, especially if they experience humiliation when being compared to peers of a similar age.

In a social context, our brains are wired to make unconscious associations with hair loss and the end of youth. Some men feel that this turning of age is associated with less vitality, desirability and sexual potency. Consequently, this reduction in self-esteem can have a huge impact on being able to form new relationships.

Why should I care about my hair loss?
Some people place great emphasis on hair as part of their appearance. Others simply don’t care. Hair loss is nothing new, but with a wide array of treatments out there, gone are the days where it is something you are forced to accept. Different medical treatments are effective in preventing hair loss and hair transplant surgery is a well-established procedure for creating new coverage.

Does a hair transplant work?
The most common form of hair loss results from the action of a hormone called testosterone on the hair root. Testosterone damages hairs causing them to become thinner and fall out with time. For reasons we don’t fully understand the hairs on the back and sides of the head are resistant to this process, making them lifelong hairs. Therefore, we see the characteristic horseshoe hair pattern in elderly men who have allowed their hair loss to run its course. Interestingly, when we take hairs from the back and sides of the head and place them into bald areas, those hair roots retain their resistant property to testosterone. Hence transplanted hairs can often be a lifelong solution to hair loss particularly if you have a receding hairline or a bald crown.

If it is so successful, why doesn’t everyone have a hair transplant?
Even though transplanted hairs are lifelong, existing hairs will still be affected by hair loss. If someone has a hair transplant but still has aggressive hair loss, they are likely to recede behind the transplanted hairs. This is of course an undesirable result. So, only patients who have successfully stabilised their hair loss should consider having a hair transplant.

What considerations should I make when undergoing a hair transplant?
There are many excellent clinics with experienced surgeons throughout the world. Unfortunately, for all the good clinics, there are equally as many rogue clinics… if not more. Should you decide to undergo the procedure in the UK, find a London hair transplant clinic with all the correct licensing and registration in place. Pick a surgeon who will personally consult you through your hair loss, creating not just a surgical plan, but a management regimen which is lifelong.

If hair loss is affecting you or if you want to find out more information about hair transplant surgery, please do not hesitate to contact the author, Dr Roshan Vara at The Treatment Rooms London.

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