Hair loss is a common phenomenon which will affect most of us, especially men, as we age. There are a few treatment options, particularly in the early stages. Medications such as finasteride1 and minoxidil2 can help to prevent any future hair loss. Aesthetic camouflages such as thickeners, specialized tattooing3, scalp micropigmentation, and hair systems are also available. Finally, there is hair transplant surgery.
Among men, one of the most common cosmetic surgeries is a hair transplant. Accordingly, a team of researchers from Johns Hopkins University has recently released a report which investigated some of the benefits received from investing in a hair transplant4.
The research team recruited 122 participants online to rate age, attractiveness, successfulness and approachability in men. The participants were shown 13 sets of photographs. Each set was composed of two images of the same man. In half of the sets, the photographs were before and after shots of a man who had received a hair transplant. The other set of photographs included two images of the same man who had not had a hair transplant. The participants who performed the rating were roughly half women and half men, between the ages of 18 – 52 years, with the majority being Caucasian with some post-secondary education.
After analyzing all of the ratings, the study authors concluded that a hair transplant could improve a man’s general perception in all four categories (age, attractiveness, successfulness and approachability). Therefore this study seems to suggest that a hair transplant can deliver some very effective results. There are a few points to consider however. This was a small study, with only 13 men rated. Also important, the photographs that were used were not standardized for characteristics such as lighting and background. For instance in the example shown in the report, it is difficult to see the eyes in the pre-transplant image as the man appears to be squinting; however, they are open wide in the post-transplant image. Moreover none of the images included a man’s smile as all images were of a neutral face. All of these variables could have affected the results of the study, although the authors are confident in their conclusions.
Overall, there are multiple treatments for hair loss. Hair transplant surgery probably requires one of the biggest investments but it can also be one of the more effective.
Article by: Dr. J.L. Carviel, PhD, Mediprobe Research Inc.
- Gupta AK, Charrette A. The efficacy and safety of 5α-reductase inhibitors in androgenetic alopecia: a network meta-analysis and benefit-risk assessment of finasteride and dutasteride. J Dermatol Treat. 2014 Apr;25(2):156–61.
- Gupta AK, Charrette A. Topical Minoxidil: Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Its Efficacy in Androgenetic Alopecia. Skinmed. 2015 Jun;13(3):185–9.
- Rassman WR, Pak JP, Kim J, Estrin NF. Scalp micropigmentation: a concealer for hair and scalp deformities. J Clin Aesthetic Dermatol. 2015 Mar;8(3):35–42.
- Bater KL, Ishii M, Joseph A, Su P, Nellis J, Ishii LE. Perception of Hair Transplant for Androgenetic Alopecia. JAMA Facial Plast Surg. 2016 Aug 25;