Britain’s leading hair transplant surgeon Asim Shahmalak said that David Beckham was showing clear signs of having a hair transplant and he would have done it to protect the earning power of Brand Beckham.
Dr Shahmalak, from Crown Clinic in Manchester, said: “If you look at the pictures of David Beckham in Miami he is showing fairly advanced signs of male pattern baldness in his mid scalp and towards the crown and the back of his head.
“However, if you look at the front of his hairline, there is greater density there.
“This could be a trick of the light or it could be the signs that David Beckham has had a hair transplant because the darker appearance of his hair at the front is where the transplanted hair would have been planted.
“Men having their first hair transplant typically address the front of the hairline first where the balding is most clearly visible.
“They will have up to 2,000 grafts (around 3,000 individual hairs) taken from the back and sides of the scalp and then replanted in the balding area.
“In this way, they can cover up their bald spots and keep a full hairline.
“When male pattern baldness is fairly advanced, as it is in Beckham’s case, you cannot cover the whole of the scalp in one procedure.
“Patients come back for a second or even third procedure to provide further hair cover towards the back in the scalp.
“This is what happened with my celebrity hair transplant client Calum Best who has had three hair transplants at Crown Clinic.”
Dr Shahmalak said that lots of footballers and ex-footballers seek hair transplants to protect their image rights.
He said: “These are worth millions to leading sports stars. Big brands like Nike or Adidas don’t want to sign up stars who are bald. They want stars who have great hair and look young and fresh.
“If Beckham has had a hair transplant he has made a very clever move to protect the earning power of Brand Beckham.”
Dr Shahmalak said that Beckham has a strong family baldness gene through his father Ted who has lost most of his hair.
He said: “It is a myth that the baldness gene only runs through the mother’s side of the family – both sides are equally important.
“The overwhelming cause of male pattern baldness is family history – if your father is bald, chances you will be, too.
“So Beckham’s hair loss is entirely to be expected, particularly at his age of 43.
“He will continue to lose his hair throughout his 40s and the only long-term permanent solution to hair loss is a hair transplant.”
Dr Shahmalak said that most celebrities choose the modern FUE (follicular unit extraction) method, used by Wayne Rooney and Calum Best. This is where the follicles are removed individually from the back and side of the scalp rather than cut in a single strip as in the more traditional method, FUT (follicular unit transplantation).
Dr Shahmalak said that Beckham’s close friend Gordon Ramsay had had at least two FUE transplants and had been pictured previously recovering from the procedures.
Dr Shahmalak said: “Ramsay got a fantastic result and really bolstered the front of his hairline with at least two hair transplants. It is entirely possible that he has recommended his surgeon to Beckham and urged him to do the same. We cannot say for certain because Beckham has not commented on any procedure.”
Dr Shahmalak is known as the surgeon to the stars because of his work with a number of high profile patients.
As well as Calum Best, he has provided hair transplants to former footballer Didi Hamann, Homes Under The Hammer presenter Martin Roberts and Gogglebox star Chris Butland-Steed who all had the FUE method used by Rooney. Dr Shahmalak has also operated on the TV doctor Christian Jessen, who opted for the traditional FUT method.
Dr Shahmalak operates on leading Premiership footballers all the time who prefer to remain anonymous.
He said: “They come to me in the summer break when they have several weeks off and have a hair transplant. It takes up to a year for the new hair to fully grow back. I have even had players who have had a procedure while they have been out injured during the season.”
Spurs manager Antonio Conte is one of a number of people in football who have benefitted from a hair transplant.
Another is the Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp, who has been very open about seeking help with his hair.
Conte, 52, looks completely different in the before and after pictures shown on this page and is likely to have had several procedures to boost his hair.
Like a lot of men, Conte started losing his hair in his late 20s and early 30s when he was a successful player in the Italian league and playing for the Italian national team.
He was pictured several times during this time showing all the signs of advanced male pattern baldness.
Since becoming such a successful manager, Conte has had at least two hair transplants to cover up the bald areas at the front of his hairline.
It is likely he would have opted for a FUE (follicular unit extraction) procedure. This is where the grafts are removed individually from the back and sides of the scalp and then replanted in the balding areas.
This is a big change on five years ago when the majority of our patients chose the more traditional method of hair transplantation known as FUT (follicular unit transplantation) or strip surgery.
The advantage of FUE over FUT is that there is less scarring. Most FUE patients are simply left with some red pin pricks where the donor hair is harvested and replanted which go away after a few weeks.
FUE is slightly more expensive than FUE because it requires more time to carry out. This is because the donor grafts are removed individually rather in one single strip of skin which is surgically removed, which is what happens under FUT.
Crown Clinic’s most famous FUT patient is the TV doctor Christian Jessen who has had two FUT transplants with Dr Shahmalak. Scarring is greater with FUT and all patients are left with a lined scar on the scalp where the strip for the donor hair is removed. This soon heals and if you wear your hair relatively long, like Christian Jessen, it is very difficult to see the scar because the hair grows over it. However, the scar is visible if you like to wear your hair short or shaved, like Calum Best, so we recommend FUE for all patients who like their hair short. Around 20% of Crown Clinic patients still prefer FUT. There is evidence to show that slightly few grafts are lost in the donor hair harvesting process by removing the grafts in one go – so that is an advantage of FUT.
Conte has not spoken about his hair transplants, so we don’t know for sure which method he chose.
Whichever one it was, he is to be congratulated on his choice and the work of his hair transplant surgeon because he has an excellent result.