When considering options for hairline lowering, a hair transplant is one of the first to come to mind. This makes complete sense, as they appear to offer the most immediate results, as well as being the most promoted method. Especially with all the visible success amongst celebrities and popular athletes. However, despite the results it promises, a hair transplant isn’t without its drawbacks. If you’re considering getting a hair transplant to combat a mature hairline, read on…
The Possibility of Scarring
To start, let’s explore the biggest problem with hair transplants – the chance of it resulting in scarring. However, in order to so, it’s best to first understand the two main kinds of hair transplant procedures: Follicular unit extraction (FUE) and follicular unit transplantation (FUT).
FUE involves removing individual hair follicles from one area of the scalp, making tiny incisions where you’d like to place them, and re-inserting each one. FUT, on the other hand, involves cutting away an entire strip of hair, that’s genetically resistant to loss, from one area of the scalp and grafting it onto another part.
Because FUT requires more extensive incisions, the likelihood of scarring increases, which is cause for concern if you usually sport a short haircut, as it will be visible. However, this is especially a concern for black men, as we’re more likely to develop larger, keloid scars, especially on our heads and necks.
For this reason, FUE is seen as being the preferable hair transplant procedure, yet it’s still problematic for black men. Firstly, most FUE equipment is optimized for straight hair, not curly hair like ours, making the extraction of hair follicles more difficult and damaging them more likely. Also, we tend to have thicker skin around the scalp, meaning hair transplant surgeons have to use greater force to extract follicles, again increasing the chance of damaging.
In short, you run the risk of scarring with a transplant procedure. Considering one of the main reasons men want a transplant in the first place is the chance to improve their appearance and the confidence that results from that. Scarring yourself in the process goes against that goal.
The Aftercare Period
As you’ve just had (elective) surgery, which required small cuts all over your scalp; you need to take the appropriate steps to deal with the resulting inflammation and prevent infection. This includes certain lifestyle changes for up to a month, such as not smoking and drinking, avoiding sun exposure, and avoiding strenuous activity – which means no gym or sex!
The Risk of Infection
If you fail to follow your aftercare guidelines, or even if you do, there’s the chance of infection as well as other complications. These include severe folliculitis (inflammation of the hair follicles), swelling of the scalp and eyes, itchy and irritable skin, an unsightly crust where hair was removed or inserted, and even bleeding.
There’s also the possibility of shock loss – which causes your new hair to suddenly fall out. Fortunately, this is usually temporary, but it won’t exactly ease your mind if you’ve just had a procedure!
There’s No Guarantee How Long It Will Last
Although many hair transplant surgeons will tell you that the procedure will last a lifetime, in reality, there’s no way of truly knowing. At that point, you’re looking at another procedure, with all the associated costs and risks.
Plus, there’s always the possibility of hair loss from other areas of your scalp and you needing another procedure for that reason.
It may not match your expectations
As well as there being no assurances that a hair transplant will work or how long it will last, there’s also a chance the transplanted area won’t look as it did before you started losing your hair. This is due to the transplanted hair not being as dense, or packed together, as in the past.
Firstly, this depends on the availability of suitable follicles in the donor area. Then, there’s how safely each follicle is implanted and evades damage. Lastly, related to the point above, there’s no guarantee the procedure will last and, consequently, the transplanted area will retain its density.
The High Cost
Lastly, there’s the significant price of a hair transplant procedure. In fact, a procedure is likely to cost somewhere between £1000 and £3000. This is an especially significant cost when you consider that there’s no guarantee of success! As stated above, as black men, there’s a greater chance of our hair follicles being damaged during a transplant procedure – and damaged follicles do not grow!
You can, however, increase your chances of success, by going to an experienced and renowned transplant surgeon, but that just means a higher price tag.