Today, it’s not uncommon to hear about hair transplants. In fact, many current procedures have been around for 30 years now. In terms of quality, doctors have been making vast improvements. It is now often impossible to tell if someone has undergone the procedure; in the 1980s, on the other hand, more than a few magazines poked fun at Elton John’s efforts to restore his hair.
As the Independent notes, there have been two significant changes over the years. One was the obvious technological advances — and the other was the loss of the stigma associated with the procedure.
Celebrities are Comfortable Sharing the News With Millions
Wayne Rooney, a popular Irish soccer player, posted a notable selfie back in June of 2011 that got his nearly 13 million Twitter followers talking. It was the accompanying text that really was the kicker. He captioned it with, “Just to confirm… I have had a hair transplant. I was going bald at 25 – why not?”
From this acknowledgement — and others like it — it’s become clear that hair transplants are no longer something men (and women!) feel like they need to necessarily hide or conceal.
As noted, a major reason for the shift in how people view hair restoration treatments is likely improvements in the procedures. The Follicular Unit Extraction Procedure, or FUE, doesn’t create huge, obvious scars or scrappy looking hair sections; small hair groups are harvested section by section, typically one mm in size or smaller. The procedure itself usually takes about eight hours to complete.
Another reason for the shift in cultural attitudes? Widespread need. An estimated 85% of men will have significantly thinning hair by age 50, and an increasing number of men are interested in maintaining a more youthful appearance.
Spencer Stevenson, a hair-restoration blogger and consultant, explained to the Independent that when celebrities like Rooney share their experience, it helps open the door for others as well.
“Hair loss is a hidden epidemic,” said Stevenson. “People discussing it openly enables others to realize they are not alone and isolated.”
FUE hair transplants may not be right for everyone, of course. Other options, such as scalp micropigmentation, serve as valid alternatives to those coping with hair loss. It also goes without saying that — though attitudes may be shifting — some patients may want to keep the details of the procedure to themselves. That’s okay, though. Hair restoration is a personal journey, and every patient will approach the procedures differently, depending on their specific needs.
Rooney is not the first celebrity to opt for hair restoration options, but he is certainly part of a larger movement that’s asking, “What can we do about hair loss today?”