It starts off with clumps of hair on your pillow covers and in the shower drains. Friends and family start commenting on how thin your hair has become. Before long, you’re wearing caps and adding gels to cover up the lack of volume. You’re wary of admitting it, but you’re seeing signs of hair loss.
Then you start playing with comb over styles to hide your horseshoe hairline. You might even resort to shaving off all your hair, but try as you might, that nagging feeling of looking older than your actual age never quite goes away.
If you can relate to the experiences mentioned, you’re not alone. The Annals of Dermatology Scientific Journal estimates that 73% of Asian men and women experience some sort of pattern hair loss or androgenetic alopecia (AGA) in their lifetime.
While hair loss rarely poses a health threat, it can wreak havoc on an individual’s confidence. And it is only natural to search for solutions, including a surgical hair transplant. Unfortunately, myths and misinformation surround this procedure, preventing individuals from seeking it, even when there are reputable clinics in Singapore.
Today, we’re setting the record straight and putting unfounded hair transplant fears to rest.
Myth 1: Surgical hair transplant is very invasive and painful
Most forms of hair transplant are non-invasive surgeries where tiny punch incisions are made to harvest hair follicles from donor sites before they are implanted in small batches in target sites.
Sides and back of the scalp are the most common donor sites, but advanced surgical procedures today can successfully transplant any patch of skin with sufficient hair density.
Thanks to local anaesthesia, you will feel no pain during the hair transplant procedure. You will be issued oral pain medication to manage any post-surgery discomfort.
Your wounds will then be closed with stitches before being bandaged for a 2-3 week recovery period. To ensure proper recovery, patients are advised to avoid washing their hair, using hair sprays and dyes, and engaging in strenuous exercise.
Myth 2: Surgical hair transplant requires donors
Patients must have a sufficient number of healthy hair follicles on other parts of their body to maximise the chances of hair transplant surgery success. It’s not possible for hair transplant clinics to perform hair restoration procedures for someone using hair from others.
The reason for this is genes. Your body automatically develops immune responses to reject foreign tissue, resulting in uneven hair growth at best and infections at worst. While it is possible to prevent tissue rejection through immunosuppressive drugs, the long term side effects can be too severe for hair transplant clinics in Singapore to prescribe them.
There are exceptions to this rule, of course. Identical twins have the same genetic makeup and can therefore accept hair follicle grafts from one another without risking rejection. It is also technically possible for individuals to receive hair follicle grafts from their bone marrow transplant donor, although this is a unique fringe case that applies to blood cancer patients only.
Myth 3: You only have to visit hair transplant clinics once
Unfortunately, surgical hair transplant results are not immediate, especially for individuals with more head space to cover. Transplanted hair typically falls out two to three weeks post-procedure.
New hair starts growing out at the four-month mark at a rate of 1 cm per month, with results becoming visible one year after surgery. Therefore, surgeons usually advise patients to wait six months between hair transplant sessions so that growth and recovery can be assessed accurately.
Treatment doesn’t stop after the final procedure has been completed, either. Because hair loss tends to be caused by a naturally occurring hormone known as DHT, patients may be required to take Finasteride medication to counteract this effect and maintain their new hair post-surgery.
While Finasteride suppresses the effects of DHT hormone, it does not alter our genetic make-up and will have to be taken indefinitely. The good news is this treatment is highly effective, with 94% of patients experiencing visible increases in their frontal scalp hair after taking Finasteride according to a study conducted by the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology.
Myth 4: Hair transplant clinics only cater services for young men
Age and gender are not a limiting factor when it comes to hair transplant and restoration. Rather, it is the amount of healthy hair on the sides or back of your head that usually determines if you can obtain good results from surgical hair transplant.
Many hair transplant clinics in Singapore have also adopted specific approaches that target female hair loss using the Ludwig Classification System to provide each patient with customised care.
It is also important to note that hair transplant can be used to restore other parts of the body, such as eyebrows, moustaches and beards. This applies regardless of how hair loss has occurred, whether it’s from previous surgeries, injuries, stress or ageing.
Myth 5: Surgical hair transplant creates temporary, unnatural results with highly visible scars
Hair transplant surgeons tend to work conservatively to preserve as much of your original hair as possible, as having more material offers more flexibility for future transplantations.
Follicular groupings are carefully selected based on density so that your new scalp will appear as one continuous bed of hair. And grafts are specifically shaped to fit the natural contours of the scalp so that new hairlines form naturally at both donor and recipient sites.
The process of micrografting leaves little scarring. Incision scars at donor sites usually shrink to small, barely noticeable lines that can be easily concealed by surrounding hair once they have healed completely.
Follicles will also take on a natural appearance six months after the initial hair transplant and can be expected to produce healthy hair for a lifetime if they are maintained carefully.
Consult a surgical hair transplant clinic in Singapore
Under the right conditions, surgical hair transplant can be a nearly pain-free experience. With professional diagnosis and guidance, the whole process can be hassle-free, too.
If you’d like to determine whether you are suitable for hair transplant, schedule an appointment with Terra Medical’s friendly consultants or message us on Whatsapp at 9187 0470.