A Merseyside man has covered up the ‘wine stain’ birthmark on his cheek with a £4,000 beard transplant.
The 32-year-old from Southport thickened his beard with the unusual procedure so that the red mark was less visible
The unusual procedure was carried out by hair transplant surgeon Asim Shahmalak from Crown Clinic in Manchester who shared pictures of the patient prior to surgery and with his beard thickened afterwards.
Dr Shahmalak said there had been a 25% increase in men seeking the procedure this year – partly due to the popularity of England’s bearded football manager Gareth Southgate.
He said that the patient had been born with the birthmark which had had gone darker and more noticeable as he had got older.
These birthmarks are rare – affecting only around three in every thousand children.
The patient, who was keen for his story to be shared so that other men could benefit from the procedure, initially tried to get the birthmark removed with laser treatment but this did not remove the stain and resulted in the loss of facial hair on his cheek.
Dr Shahmalak took 1,200 grafts – which amounts to around 3,000 individual hairs – from the back of his scalp and transplanted them into the bald patches in his beard.
The before picture shows the patient with his beard shaved off and the area where the surgery was about to take place around the birthmark highlighted with a pen.
In the second picture, taken six months after surgery, his new beard is starting to grow back and cover up the birthmark.
In the third picture, taken 14 months after surgery, the transplanted hair has fully grown and has almost completely obscured the birthmark.
Dr Shahmalak said: “He came to me because he was low in confidence because he could no longer grow a proper beard because of complications from the laser treatment.
“I took hair from the back and sides of his scalp and replanted them in his cheek to fill out the gaps in his beard which had been lost through the laser treatment.
“It took a year for the new hair to grow back and you can see how it has covered up the birthmark and made it much less visible.
“He was delighted with the results and his self confidence soared. It was a really successful outcome.”
Dr Shahmalak used the FUE (follicular unit extraction) method to extract the donor hair – where hair grafts are removed individually.
It is the same extraction method for conventional hair transplants carried out on stars such as Coronation Street star Jack P Shepherd, who had two hair transplants with Dr Shahmalak at Crown Clinic.
Dr Shahmalak said more men were splashing out £4,000 on beard and sideburn transplants to copy the facial hair favoured by stars such as England manager Gareth Southgate and David Beckham.
There has been a rise in bookings as football fever grips the nation and men match Southgate’s facial hair style – four years after he sparked a boom in waistcoats at the last World Cup in Russia.
Beards have never been more fashionable but a new survey revealed that almost half of men cannot grow a proper one.
As many as 45% of men complain that they have bald patches in their beard or sideburns, according to a poll of 1,000 by Crown Clinic.
Dr Shahmalak said: “A proper, full-grown beard has been the ultimate definition of masculinity for centuries – as Gareth Southgate shows only too well leading the England team.
“But the sad truth is that many men in Britain struggle to grow beards, sideburns and moustaches.
“They have significant gaps in their facial hair and the end result can look patchy and unconvincing.
“Their problems can be easily remedied with a transplant. We can fill out the areas on their face where there are gaps and they can adopt whatever look they like: a bushy moustache, big sideburns or the sexy designer stubble or beards often sported by Gareth Southgate and David Beckham.”
Dr Shahmalak also shared pictures of a sideburn transplant patient – a farmer who had his sideburns thickened because he felt this would make him look more masculine. He was also delighted with the results.
Dr Shahmalak said that patchy facial hair was a genetic problem.
He said: “If the father had trouble growing a beard then there is a good chance the son will also have patchy facial hair.
“It is why men in Mediterranean countries often have strong beards – it simply runs through one generation to the next.”
The Crown Clinic poll also revealed that 59% of men said that beard made them feel more macho.
While a beard can boost a man’s self-esteem, it does very little for his sex appeal, according to women.
Two-thirds of women (67%) said they preferred the clean-shaven look to a beard.
However, the result was a lot closer with designer stubble – with 48% of women saying they found stubble sexier than a bare face.
A further 54% of respondents said that men grow beards to compensate for hair loss on their heads.
Dr Shahmalak added: “Men often moan that shaving is a hassle but every man craves the ability to grow a full beard. It is the essence of masculinity.
“It’s why many more men are coming to us for help.
“It helps, too, that beards have never been more fashionable.
“Men see people like David Beckham and want to copy his look. He does all kinds of interesting things with his facial hair. He’ll wear a full beard one month, designer stubble the next and we’ve also seen him with a moustache and clean-shaven.
“He cleverly uses his facial hair to completely change his image – it is part of what makes him such an enduring style icon.”
Dr Shahmalak has carried out hair transplants on a number of stars including TV doctor Christian Jessen and model Calum Best.