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Top 5 common hair transplant myths busted

Hair loss is an extremely common health concern among both men and women, and it can have devastating effects on your self-confidence. So, don’t let outdated beliefs and fake news about hair transplants prevent you from seeking a lasting solution.

 

This is according to a leading expert in hair restoration, Dr Kashmal Kalan, the Medical Director of the Alvi Armani clinic in Sandton, who busts five pervasive hair restoration myths that belong firmly in the past:

 

Myth 1: I can wait until I’m bald for a hair transplant

 

Many people ignore the early signs of hair loss, mistakenly believing it’s better to bald extensively before getting a procedure done. But this is often the worst thing a person can do, says Dr Kalan.

 

“The reality is that the moment you begin noticing hair loss and it worries you, that’s exactly when you should speak to a professional. The amount of hair left, or the size of the balding area, directly impacts how effective a hair restoration procedure will be in providing an aesthetically pleasing outcome. The more we have to work with, the more we can ultimately do.”

 

Myth 2: The process is painful, looks unnatural, and leaves a scar

 

Because hair transplantation procedures involve extracting hair from one part of the scalp to implant into the affected or balding area, it’s understandable why some people may be concerned about pain, scarring, or unnatural-looking results.

 

“However, advancements in modern technology and, particularly, in the Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) method, have made hair restoration procedures minimally invasive and largely painless – in fact, our transplants are even considered outpatient procedures now, so you don’t even need to be admitted into hospital. And afterwards, the vast majority of patients only need to drink a mild over-the-counter painkiller for a slight headache.”

 

As for visible signs of the operation, the FUE method involves removing individual hair follicles with precision equipment, and is essentially a scarless procedure that avoids cutting the scalp open. Some patients may notice tiny hypopigmentation spots, which are only visible when the head is shaved – but even this is rare.

 

Myth 3: The procedure is unaffordable

 

A hair restoration operation – and even a cutting-edge FUE procedure from a world-renowned clinic such as Alvi Armani – is often more affordable than people think, says Dr Kalan.

 

“Selecting a doctor and clinic with years of experience and expertise, and access to high-end equipment really does make a difference. We’ve perfected our art, making the process as affordable as possible without compromising on quality.”

 

This said, he also warns against opting for what he calls “Black Friday specials”. “If you insist on looking for the cheapest option for the sake of saving a few pennies, you should expect the cheapest look afterwards as well. Patients really should do their due diligence before going in for the operation because, at the end of the day, it is still a medical procedure. “

 

Myth 4: I don’t need to visit a clinic – off-the-shelf medication works just as well

 

Generic products and over-the-counter medicines typically do not address hair loss issues in any meaningful way, and may even make the situation worse by delaying people from seeking expert medical help.

 

“Shampoos, conditioners, lotions, or ‘potions’ that are marketed as all-in-one magic solutions to hair loss are not designed with your specific needs in mind, and often simply do not take a medical or scientific approach to treating hair loss. Rather seek professional care, because if we can stop the hair loss process early enough, it could save you thousands of rands on needless products in the long run.”

 

Myth 5: I’ll have to shave my entire head for the procedure

 

A common fear deterring people from seeking a hair transplant is the perception that they must shave their entire scalp first – often a particularly frightening prospect for women.

 

He clarifies that this is not always necessary. "For men, the sides and back of the scalp do need to be trimmed to allow for follicle extraction at the root’s base. For women with longer hair, we usually shave a small 'window' about the length and breadth of three or four fingers at the back of the scalp, which can easily be concealed by the surrounding hair.”

 

If the hair is too long, it can give a false angle of impression, leading to difficulties in successfully extracting the root of the follicle. But the extent of shaving depends on the individual's hair and the area being treated, but the procedure should be tailored to minimise the impact on the patient's existing hairstyle and ensure a natural look post-surgery.

 

“Ultimately, the decision to undergo a hair restoration operation comes down to individual choice and preference. But for those who want an effective and lasting solution, a hair transplant is often the best option depending on the cause of the hair loss. And if you have any lingering concerns or questions about the procedure, simply consult a professional and ask,” concludes Dr Kalan.

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