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Dr Asim Shahmalak is Britain’s leading hair transplant surgeon. Dr Shahmalak, who practices in Harley Street and at his Crown Clinic in Manchester, and is one of the few surgeons in the country who can also perform eyebrow transplants. He was a general surgeon in the NHS for more than 20 years before specialising in hair loss ands its treatment. He is also one of Britain’s leading experts in female hair loss and the treatment of it.

How does the structure of a woman’s hair tend to change as she ages?

A WOMAN’S hair naturally thins as she ages because of falling levels of estrogen in the body – sometimes dramatically so post-menopause.

The female sex hormone gives the hair density, and helps with lustre and texture, although scientists still aren’t exactly sure how the relationship works.

Ironically, low levels of estrogen causing thinning, can also cause unwanted hair in other areas because of an imbalance with testosterone.

Although the menopause is a factor in hair thinning, up to 13 per cent of women have some degree of hair thinning and loss before they go through it. After the menopause, that figure rises to 75 per cent.

The structure weakens and hair becomes less durable, with a greater tendency to snap and split at the ends, making it more important to have it regularly cut and use scalp-nourishing shampoos.

What changes happen within the hair bulb/root to enact these changes?

The bulb or root shrinks because it is not being nourished properly, leaving the hair weaker and more prone to breakages. Excessive sebum production, known as seborrhea and sometimes as a result of stress, can exacerbate the problem if it is allowed to stagnate under the scalp. Because it blocks the follicle where the hair’s re-production cells are based, it generates toxins that collect around the root and prevent proper blood circulation. This shrinks the roots because they become asphyxiated and compressed. So it’s important to treat excessively greasy hair before it builds up.

How else does a woman’s hair tend to change – and why?

It’s widely believed now that it is genes rather than environmental factors like stress that cause greying in hair. A Danish study three years ago using identical and non-identical twins found little difference between greyness of hair among twins with identical genes. Otherwise, there is little scientific knowledge as to why some people go grey earlier. 

The process of greying is fairly well understood though, and quite complicated. Every hair follicle contains pigment cells called melanocytes. The melanocytes produce eumelanin, which is black or dark brown, and pheomelanin, which is reddish-yellow.

They pass these melanins to the cells that produce the main hair protein keratin, thus deciding colour. When the keratin-producing cells die as the hair grows, they retain the coloring from the melanin.

When you first start to go grey, the melanocytes are still present, but becoming less active so hair appears lighter. As greying progresses, the melanocytes die off until there aren’t any cells left to produce the colour. This is exacerbated by ageing, but factors such as excessive UV light from strong sunshine can also damage hair over a long period by breaking down the melanin.

Why does hair tend to get less shiny as we age?

The decrease in melanin that affects colour also affects the sheen of our hair. This can be exacerbated by too much sunshine because ultra violet light can oxidize the melanin, which as well as giving sheen, also helps prevent a build up of chemicals that stunt growth and damage follicles. Combined with lower estrogen levels, losing melanin in this way simply means the hair is drier, more tired looking and has less bounce and bulk. There are shampoos and nutrients that will help however.

Why else might it become more frizzy/dry?

Changes to hormones make can hair more frizzy and drier. Other external factors include changes in hair texture and colour, as the sebaceous glands that produce thick, vibrant hair work less efficiently as you age. You need just the right amount of sebum to give your hair body and keep it healthy. Too much damages the roots, just as too little will make it dry and frizzy. Additionally, hair growth cycles affect density and frizziness. Usually they alternate between a growth phase (called anagen and lasting about three years) and a resting phase (telogen – which lasts three months). During telogen, the hair remains in the follicle until it is pushed out by the growth of a new hair in the anagen phase. At any one time, up to about 15 per cent of hairs are in telogen or resting. A sudden stress on the body, like menopause, pregnancy or illness, can trigger large numbers of hairs to enter the telogen phase at the same time – leaving hair looking dry and frizzy and having less body generally. After about three months, a large number of hairs will be shed. As the new hairs start to grow out, so the density of hair will hopefully thicken again.

Our Surgeon

Dr. Asim Shahmalak

Dr Asim Shahmalak is a world-renowned hair transplant surgeon who performed the UK’s first eyelash transplant in 2009. He runs Crown Clinic – one of Britain’s most successful and best known hair transplant clinics. He has treated a number of high-profile industry leaders and celebrities including the medical broadcaster Dr Christian Jessen, best known for Channel 4’s Embarrassing Bodies.

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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.”

A beauty counter worker from Manchester has shown off the results of her £5,000 EYEBROW transplant after damaging her brows through years of overplucking.

The woman now has the ‘designer eyebrows’ she has always craved after under-going the four-hour procedure with Dr Asim Shahmalak at Crown Clinic in Manchester.

She said: “I am glad that I corrected the damage caused by years of overplucking.

“Brows are so important as they frame your face. It is especially important to me that my brows look good because I work in the beauty industry in a high end department store.

“All eyes are on you! You want to look your best.

“It took several months for my new brows to grow back but now I can go make-up free and feel confident going out. You can’t put a price on that.

“Thanks to Dr Asim for giving me back my confidence and making me feel feminine again. I have the designer eyebrows I have always wanted.”

The woman from Manchester had the same FUE (follicular unit extraction) transplant procedure used by stars such as Coronation Street star Jack P Shepherd, who has had two procedures with Dr Shahmalak.

The donor hair is extracted from the back of the scalp and then replanted in the gaps in the eyebrows, blending in naturally with the remaining hairs.

It takes between six months and nine months for the new brow hair to grow back – after which patients have the ‘designer brows’ of their favourite stars.

Because the hair is extracted from the scalp, it grows like ‘head hair’ and the new brows need trimming every few weeks.

Dr Shahmalak also provides a beauty kit so patients can curl the new brow hair to help it to match the natural brow hair.

The patient, who preferred to remain anonymous, said: “The actual procedure was surprisingly stress free.

“I opted to have the FUE technique, which didn’t really hurt – it just felt like pin pricks. 

“I took around eight days off work to allow the bruising and swelling to disappear around the eye area.

“As the brows grow back, you need to brush them so they flow in the natural direction and trim them regularly. That way, you are on your way to show off your gorgeous designer brows.”

The woman, aged 50, has used her beauty training to create her perfect brows now they have fully grown back.

She explained: “I came across many brow gel mascara wands with various shades to suit. That really sets your new brows in place and gives them that wow effect!”

Dr Shahmalak is best known for his work with celebrity male hair patients such as Corrie’s Jack (David Platt in the soap), model Calum Best, Homes Under The Hammer presenter Martin Roberts and former Liverpool and Man City footballer Didi Hamann.

He is one of the few surgeons in the UK with the expertise to carry out more unusual transplant procedures such as eyebrow, eyelash, beard and sideburn transplants.

Of these, eyebrow transplants are by far the most common because so many women like this patient have damaged their brows permanently by overplucking.

Many other women have naturally thin brows and want a much fuller brow like the Duchess of Cambridge and supermodels such as Cara Delevingne.

A small proportion of patients have previously had a psychological condition called trichotillomania where sufferers rip out their body hair including their eyebrows, causing permanent damage which needs restoring.

Dr Shahmalak said: “Women come to me from all over the world to get their eyebrows restored after losing their natural brows for a number of reasons.

“This latest patient had damaged her eyebrows through overplucking and understandably wanted to put them right because she works at a beauty counter and feels under pressure to look good.

“I took some hairs from the back of her scalp and replanted them in the gaps in her brows. It is exactly the same procedure as a normal hair transplant except the transplanted hairs are replanted in the brows rather than the scalp.

“It takes between six and nine months for the transplanted hair to grow back in their new home and after that patients have full eyebrows with no gaps.

“It saves them hours on their beauty routine and gives more symmetry to the face, framing the eyes perfectly.

“This patient got a fantastic result, as you can see from the picture of her with her new designer brows. I was delighted to be able to help her.”

Dr Shahmalak has seen a 25% rise in the number of eyebrow transplants over the last five year because of the fashion for fuller brows.

Dr Shahmalak was honoured by Prime Minister Boris Johnson with a Points of Light Award for his humanitarian work in Pakistan.

He arranged mercy missions to give 27 patients horrifically scarred in acid attacks free eyebrow, eyelash and hair transplants.

His clinic is operating normally post-Covid and he has never been busier because many patients are finding it easier to have surgery while working from home.

He said: “You can work from home the day after surgery without facing lots of questions about the change in your appearance.

“The Covid crisis has allowed people to have hair transplant surgery with a little more anonymity.”