Hair transplants aren’t only for the hair on the top of your head anymore. While most people think of getting a hair transplant to treat or conceal male pattern baldness, a new crop of patients is seeking out the surgery to add hair to their faces. Beards have been on trend with Brooklyn’s hipsters for years and have appeared on the faces of Hollywood stars including Ryan Gosling and Brad Pitt. But not every man can grow a full beard. For those who experience patchy or insufficient facial hair growth, a beard transplant can let them jump on the trend.
Types of Beards
The style of beard a man is after determines how extensive his transplant needs to be. Men who want the full beard look will typically need a greater amount of hair transplanted, especially if they have trouble growing hair naturally. Hair that comes in patchy can look strange or unattractive when a man tries to grow out a full beard.
While hipsters tend to sport the full beard, it’s not the only style out there. Some men prefer to sport just a mustache, perhaps as an homage to the actor Tom Selleck or the character of Ron Swanson on Parks and Recreation. Others go for the goatee, which features hair around the chin and upper lip, but not on the sides of the face.
To perform a hairtransplant on the face, a surgeon needs to harvest the hair from another area of the body. If you have a full head of hair, your donor hair might come from an area of your scalp, typically the back or sides of the head. If you’re a bit bald up top, the hair can come from another area of your body, such as your chest.
The hair is then transplanted onto the face through a series of small incisions on the skin. Your surgeon will typically use a local anesthetic to numb the transplant area, so that you don’t feel pain or discomfort. The process takes a few hours, and you can go home the same day.
Care for the Area
After the surgery, you’ll need to treat the area with care. You’ll want to take a few days off from work to recover and rest. While you can get back to a desk job after a few days, you’ll need to avoid vigorous activity for longer. Keep your head elevated when resting to reduce swelling to the area.
Although you might experience some discomfort or pain, avoid taking aspirin for a few days after the procedure. Your surgeon can prescribe a pain reliever or recommend painkillers to take.
You’ll need to be cautious about cleaning the beard area after the transplant. Ask your surgeon about the appropriate shampoo to use. Baby shampoo is usually a good option as it doesn’t contain harsh ingredients. You’ll typically have several days before you can wash the beard. Be very careful not to disturb the grafts when cleaning your new beard.
Shaving and Trimming
The transplanted hair won’t stick around forever. Usually, the hair falls out after about a month. But, if the grafts took properly, new hair should grow back in about 10 months or so. You’ll be able to shave and trim your beard as you wish after that point, so you won’t be stuck with a fully bearded face long after the trend has past.
Not Just for Hipsters
While hipsters and hipster wannabes might be getting all of the attention when it comes to beard transplants, they aren’t the only ones who want the surgery. Facial hair transplants are also helpful for people who need to wear a full beard for religious reasons, such as Hasidic Jews. Surgeons also perform the surgery on female to male transgenders who aren’t able to grow their own beards and on men who have smooth, hairless faces. The transplant is also appropriate for men who have skin damage, such as acne scars, that gets in the way of growing their own facial hair.
Dr. Kyle Choe is an experienced hair restoration specialist in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Whether you’re considering a beard transplant to show your hipster cred or for another reason, he is able to answer any questions you have about the procedure. Contact him at the Choe Center for Facial Plastic Surgery by calling (757) 389-5850 for an appointment.