Male hair loss has reached epidemic proportions across the U.K., with around two thirds of guys experiencing it by age 35. Like it or not, poor old Prince William, whose hair started to thin around age 21, is its unwitting U.K. poster boy. For some, it starts as early as age 19.
The temptation is to either live with it and try to make peace with a rapidly receding hairline, or to impulsively throw a tonne of money at so-called ‘remedies’ that only lead to further disappointment. In the hair loss industry, remedy promises are thicker on the ground than hair is on the heads of the men they’re baiting. Wouldn’t it be great if you knew exactly where to start so you could be done with this problem without wasting time, money and tears of frustration?
The devastation of hair loss can truly not be underestimated. For sufferers, it triggers the sharp decline of self-worth, self-esteem and confidence with every precious hair that drops. How we feel when we look in the mirror is a fundamental value. We can change our clothes, our shoes and our watch but what matters the most is how we feel when we are our basic, stripped selves. Hair loss becomes an obsession. It affects sleep quality, appetite and the will to exercise. Relationships and work suffer, even the dog doesn’t get taken for a walk because it would mean gratuitously going out in public. From my own experience, it was all I could think about, beyond all else. The only solution was to find a solution.
When you don’t know what you don’t know, you are the proverbial lamb to the slaughter. In my panic to achieve a result – any result – I allowed myself to be tempted by quick fixes, cheap products and empty promises. The male hair loss industry is crawling with ‘snake oil salesmen’, seemingly poised at every street corner, ready to open their trench coat to reveal the product that will save another hair from falling from your head. Desperate men grab it and run, slather it all over their heads with reckless abandon and every morning, stand before the mirror, utterly convinced it’s working. But it’s not. Endlessly searching for my hair loss remedy holy grail, I went to great lengths and huge expense. I purchased vitamins, supplements, lotions, potions, treatments, pastes, tonics and even homeopathy drops. Still. Nothing. Worked.
Before long, I felt like I was the only man who’s ever lost hair, and the only man who had to fork out fists full of money to get absolutely nowhere. Isolation well and truly set in. If it wasn’t bad enough that my hair was departing from my scalp at an alarming rate, now I was sucked into the vortex of a predatory industry that didn’t give a damn about me. “There’s got to be something that works,” I rationalised, but not before liberally berating myself for being such a fool. I’m not above admitting that I cried a river when I realised I’d been so deeply sucked in. I was only 24 when my hair started falling out. It should have been the time of my life! I wasted thousands of pounds on ineffective, shoddy and even harmful hair treatments, money I could have invested in an actual home! I reached a point where I had to have a word with myself. “How much money can you throw down the toilet before you actually find a solution that works?” I snapped at the mirror.
I stopped looking for ‘cheap’, quick fixes and started researching hair transplants in earnest. Even there, I made mistakes and got ripped off. The last thing you want is an unnatural result that makes you feel even worse than you did when all you had to deal with was thinning hair. That realisation alone was heart-wrenching! Imagine gazing at the mirror and seeing what amounts to a ‘work in progress’ that’s supposed to be the end result.
All said and done, I spent a total of around ?40,000 before I achieved a natural, healthy looking head of hair. That includes a tonne of wasted money on products and treatments that didn’t work. Today, I can tell you, hand on heart, that no one would look at me and think I’d had a hair transplant. It’s that good. My only regret is that I didn’t know then what I know now. Today, it’s an honour to share my knowledge with other men who are just starting out on their hair loss and replacement journey.
As a patient advocate, I’ve helped Regular Joe through to A-list celebs to regain their hair where it’s fallen out. It’s my way of paying it forward; educating and informing these guys and empowering them so they don’t make the same mistakes I did. It’s perversely comforting to know that even rich, famous, powerful celebrities are not immune to male pattern baldness. Robbie Williams, David Beckham, Bradley Cooper, Matthew McConaughey and Mel Gibson are all big name male pattern baldness sufferers. Now not that anyone would rightfully wish it upon them but to know they are mere mortal human beings after all is strangely reassuring. The fact that more celebrities are vocalising their experience is helping to break down stigmas. It’s more acceptable to talk about it now which is why countless internet forums have grown beyond expectation. We all like to feel a part of something and if that something is finding a remedy for something that depletes your self-worth, then it can only be a positive thing.
Hair transplantation, like any form of surgery, can be risky. In the right hands, the risks are minimal but consider that even an unrealistic expectation can be a risk. Remember that your hair transplant won’t stop further hair loss so at some point, you may need to have it done again. Here’s a checklist on how to avoid risks:
Start early. The sooner you embark on research and/or treatment, the less time you will have to be enticed by shoddy businesses. Also, untreated hair loss will not cease on its own. Early intervention can help. Consider hair transplant surgery a last resort. Investigate other options first but do not spend any money until you are 100% sure the solution suits your condition and the provider is legitimate and reputable.
Don’t rush in! Take the time to learn and understand. Compare clinics by reputation and specific services offered.
Research hair transplant clinics well. Search for testimonials and reviews (positive and negative); visit clinics in person to get a feel for the Dr and their professionalism.
Take it from someone who’s been there, done that and bought the dodgy products…There is hope and there is a solution for you! I’ve spent 15 years in reconnaissance and my mission will never fully be accomplished. But if I can help even one of you gain back your confidence and with it, your full potential, then I know I’m doing something of great value.