Taking it on the chin…25% rise in BEARD transplants as men copy hirsute look of their favourite stars like Prince Harry
* Men are inspired by celebrities such as David Beckham who constantly changes his facial hair
* 59% of men say a beard makes them feel more macho
Men are splashing out £4,000 on beard and sideburn transplants to copy the more hirsute look favoured by stars like Prince Harry and David Beckham.
Beards have never been more fashionable but a survey from Crown Clinic 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 people polled by Crown Clinic.
It makes it impossible for many men to mimic the macho looks of their favourite stars.
Increasingly, men are getting their beards and sideburns bolstered with hair transplants.
Hair is taken from the back of the scalp in a strip and transplanted into the bald patches of the beard or the sideburn.
These pictures show how a simple operation taking no more than three hours can transform a man's sideburns.
The patient was a 48-year-old farmer who had always felt his masculinity had been undermined by not being able to grow proper 'mutton chops.'
The operation was carried out by the Crown Clinic's surgeon Asim Shahmalak, who has also performed hair transplants on a number of celebrities.
He transplanted 200 grafts – there are between one and three hairs in each graft – into each of the patient's sideburns.
Dr Shahmalak said he had seen a 25% in the number of procedures over the last three years as beards have become more fashionable.
He said: “A proper, full-grown beard has been the ultimate definition of masculinity for centuries.
“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 like Bradley Wiggins or the sexy designer stubble or beards often sported by Prince Harry, David Beckham or Hugh Jackman.”
Dr Shahmalak said Crown Clinic had a high number of queries from gay men for beard and sideburn transplant.
He said: “Both procedures are increasingly popular with gay men who are embracing the new trend for beards, moustaches and fuller sideburns with gusto.”
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.
Dr Shahmalak added: “Men often moan about 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 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 two hair transplants on Embarrassing Bodies star Christian Jessen and three procedures on the model Calum Best.
Dr Jessen turned to him after being taunted on Twitter about his thinning hair.