How Wayne Rooney transformed the world of hair transplants

Wayne Rooney was just 23 when he realised he was losing his hair.
He admitted staring at himself in the mirror and thinking: “Bloody
hell, you’re going bald and you’re only a young lad.”
Around a fifth of men in the UK, like Rooney and Prince William, start losing their hair in their 20s.
Few resorted to hair transplants until Rooney took the leap ten years ago.
Since then he has had at least two more transplants.
The bald truth is that Rooney would have been facing Bobby Charlton of slapheadedness if he had not gone under the knife.
And his bravery in going public in revealing that he’d had Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) techniques at a private clinic sparked a sea-change in the Britain hair transplant industry.
In the last decade there has been a 25% surge in men in the 20s seeking transplants.
And it’s not just men’s hairlines which gets a boost from the procedure – but their self-esteem, too.
Research shows that men like Rooney, Crown Clinic patients Jack P Shepherd , Calum Best and TV doctor Christian Jessen have surging levels of self-confidence after a transplant.
Britain’s leading hair transplant surgeon is Asim Shahmalak from the Crown Clinic in Manchester.
He has carried procedures on on a strong of big name celebrities.
Dr Shahmalak said: “There is no doubt that Rooney was a game changer for men in their 20s.
“Previously very men that young thought that hair transplants were an option for them – they were seen as the preserve of the middle-aged.
“All that changed after Wayne.
“We saw in surge in ordinary lads in their 20s coming to us who, rather than getting a new car, were using the extra cash to transform their looks.
“They’d been shaving their head to cover up their baldness but were fed up with a permanent crew cut. A hair transplant allows them to go back to wearing their hair longer and styling it in any way they liked.”
Like Rooney, Calum Best and Jack P Shepherd had two FUE procedure.
The technique takes individual follicles out of the back and sides of the head and implants them into the front and crown.
For Calum, the choice was simple: he needed help to prolong his career as a model, actor and the face of an aftershave range.
Best had his first procedure when has 30. He blames his hair loss on dying and bleaching it too much in his 20s and wearing his hair a tight ponytail – the so-called Croydon facelift.
Unlike Prince William or Wayne Rooney, Best had no history of hair loss in his family – his father, legendary late footballer George Best, had a glorious head of hair.
Best said: “If any friends ask me if they should have a transplant, I say, ‘Do it.’
“There is no doubt that losing my hair impacted on my self-esteem. I would be going to auditions and I would be worried about whether they would notice my bald spot.
“Now I don’t have a bald spot.”
In both cases, Best had around 2,000 hair transplanted from the side of his scalp to his temples where he was receding most markedly.
There is clinically proven drug, Propecia, also known as Finasteride, which men can take to halt hair loss. It won’t help hair to grow back but it will stop men from losing any more.
In just 2% of cases, it can hit a man’s sex drive – enough to put off party-loving Calum from ever taking it.
For that reason, he needed a second procedure only two years after his first one.
Since then, his hair loss has levelled off and he is hopeful, with a full head of hair restored, he won’t require further treatment.
“It has totally changed my life and definitely helped my career,” he explained.
Christian Jessen’s advice to any man contemplating a procedure is simple: chose your surgeon very carefully.
Jessen had worked with Dr Shahmalak previously on Embarrassing Bodies – having covered several transplant operations on patients on his hit Channel 4 medical show.
Jessen said: “I thought to myself, ‘Why am I always telling people how to change things about their bodies that they dislike if I can’t do the same thing for myself?
“We view cosmetic surgery for men and women so differently. Having a boob job for a woman is seen as such an everyday thing these days, but for a man to have a hair transplant is seen as a far bigger step.
“There are so many men out there who want to have this done but don’t dare. I just hope by talking about it openly that I will removed some of the stigma attacked to me having cosmetic procedures.”
Jessen’s motivation for having the procedure was the same as Calum Best’s – it was good for his career.
He been taunted about his hair years on Twitter. “Great body, sh*t hair” was one jibe which stuck in his mind.
Jessen said: “After the first transplant all those negative comments stopped immediately and no one ever mentioned my hair gain. The new hair boosted my confidence and I found doing photoshoots much more bearable.”
Dr Jessen said the fact that he worked out regularly had created an added pressure over his body image.
He said: ‘I’ve slightly dug a hole for myself. I have always worked out and I guess I got known as the ‘fit young doctor,’ though it was never a label I sought. There is then this enormous pressure to keep it up.
“Your name crops up on blogs, chat rooms and forums like Twitter. They are not talking about your medical skills or your bedside manner – they just comment on your looks.
“After I went public after the first procedure I had so many emails asking me about it and where I had it done. You realise this is a very important issue to a lot of men.
“I guess if they see someone like me making no secret of the fact that I have had it done it might make it okay for them to have it too.
‘I’m not urging others to have it done. My message to men who are unhappy with their hair is to at least inquire.
“And if you do decide to have it done, be very careful about the surgeon you chose.”
Dr Jessen said he chose Dr Shahmalak because they had worked together on Embarrassing Bodies.
He said: ‘We filmed him on the show after performing a hair transplant. The patient looked fantastic afterwards and I remember thinking, ‘Wow that is great.’
“‘It occurred to me that I could benefit in the same way.
“Dr Shahmalak has a very nice manner and is very calm and I am very pleased with the results he gets.”
Dr Shahmalak said many patients top up their first hair transplant with a second procedure a few years later.
He said: ‘Many men discover they need a second procedure a few years after their first one because their hair loss continues.
“You tend to find that if men start losing their hair at a relatively young age – say in their 20s – this hair loss tends to drop off in their mid-40s.’
Dr Shahmalak said he was thrilled to operate on another doctor.
He said: ‘All my patients get the same level of care but it is true that there is an added pressure when you are operating on another doctor, particularly one like Christian who is so well informed and well read.
‘I love the fact that I am the doctor’s doctor. Being recommended by a doctor or treating a doctor is the ultimate compliment.”