Prince William’s new hair cover-up

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Prince William unveiled a new, much shorter haircut this week. 

It was portrayed in the media as his new strategy for coping with his advanced male pattern baldness.

You can read some of the coverage here:

Crown Clinic  conducted some research to find out more about the ways that men try to cover up their baldness. 

The comb-over is extinct…Seventies hairstyle made famous by Donald Trump, Christian Bale in American Hustle and BobbyCharlton to their hide baldness has been abandoned by modern men, according to new research.

* Less than 1% of men now comb their hair over bald spots to hide them;

* No one appears to have told the Prime Minister David Cameron who uses a comb-over to disguise his balding crown;

* Chancellor George Osborne combs his hair forward to hide ‘recession’ of hair in his temples;

* Most popular technique modern men use to hide baldness is to shave their heads;

* Hair transplants becoming increasingly popular as more celebrities go under the knife to combat baldness


The comb-over – the Seventies hairstyle made famous by Donald Trump,Bobby Charlton and Christian Bale in the movie American Hustle  – is no more, according to new research by Crown Clinic.

Less than 1% of men grow their hair long and then comb it over their bald spot to hide the problem.

But modern men are still thinking of clever ways to disguise the fact that they are losing their hair.

The most popular technique is simply to shave the head – picked by a quarter of men (24%).

Stars who shave their head to disguise their male pattern baldness include Liam Gallagher from Oasis and actors Jason Statham and Ross Kemp.

The second most popular technique to hide baldness is simply to wear a hat or a cap – picked by 21% of men.

Jude Law and Jason Gardiner from Dancing On Ice have both used this approach.

In third place is a hair transplant– picked by a fifth of men (20%),  and a solution adopted by increasing numbers of celebrities.

Robbie Williams recently went public after his procedure and the England footballer Wayne Rooney has had two hair transplants.

Gordon Ramsay showed the tell-tale signs of a Follicular Unit Extraction procedure recently when he was pictured with the back of his head shaved and red spots at the bottom of his scalp – scars where the donor hair has been harvested before being transplanted into bald spots.

The fourth most popular diversion tactic is to grow a beard – to distract attention from thinning hair elsewhere.

Prince William did this recently – and it is technique chosen by 8% of men.

The results are revealed in a new survey of 1,000 men by Crown Clinic.

Other popular treatments chosen in the poll include hair weaves – used by Elton John and chosen by 6% of men in the survey, and hair pieces – popular with stars such as Kevin Spacey and Bruce Forsyth and picked by one in 20 men (5%).

Surgeon Asim Shahmalak from the Crown Clinic said that the comb-over had shown signs of a revival recently – with both Prime Minister David Cameron and Chancellor George Osborne covering thinning hair in this way.

Dr Shahmalak said: “You’ll never again see the big comb-over swoops loved by men in the Seventies like Bobby Charlton.

“But it is wrong to say that the comb-over is completely dead.

“You only have to look at our own Prime Minister David Cameron who has a growing bald spot on his crown. Sometimes this is very noticeable in picitures and other times it completely disappears.

“This is because Mr Cameron cleverly disguises it on occasion by combing his remaining hair over the bald spot.

“He even joked earlier this year that one of his top priorities for 2014 was keeping his bald spot under control.

“George Osborne is receding around the temples but, like the Prime Minister, he has hidden his baldness by adopting a new hairstyle where he combs his hair forward.

“Osborne also joked about his new hair style, saying he had ‘turned it around to stop the recession.’

“Obviously Christian Bale in American Hustle reminded us all just how awful the Seventies comb-over was. That was the worst comb-over since Donald Trump, Bobby Charlton and the man in the photobooth in the Hamlet TV advert.”

Dr Shahmalak said there had been a 25% increase in men seeking transplants at his Crown Clinic, thanks to the ‘Wayne Rooney effect’.

He added: “A hair transplant is the only popular cosmetic procedure a man will chose to have and the only way of permanently restoring lost hair. Thankfully, there is no longer a stigma attached to it, thanks to stars like Wayne and Robbie Williams being so public about their operations.

“Around half the men in the UK will show some signs of male pattern baldness by the time they are 45,

“For many it is just not practical to shave their heads – it is not compatible with their jobs in business or law or showbusiness.

“So they have transplant and completely transform their lives.”

Dr Shahmalak has performed hair transplants on a number of celebrities including Christian Jessen from Embarrassing Bodies and the model Calum Best.


Top ten techniques to disguise baldness


1 Shaved head 24%

2 Wear a hat or cap 21%

3 Hair transplant 20%

4 Grow a bear 8%

5 Clinically proven hair treatment drugs such as Propecia or Minoxidil 7%

6 Hair weave  6%

7 Hairpiece 5%

8 Hair dye 4%

9 Strand by strand treatment favoured by cricket stars like Shane Warne and Graham Gooch 3%

10 Spray paint – mane thickening sprays made of tiny coloured fibres which allow men to pain over their bald patch – 2%.

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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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.

Around 80% of patients coming to Crown Clinic to our consultant surgeon Asim Shahmalak now opt for FUE.

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.

Famous Crown Clinic FUE patients include the Coronation Street star Jack P Shepherd, model Calum Best, and the football pundit Didi Hamann.

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.

Dr Asim Shahmalak from Crown Clinic is one of the world’s leading hair transplant surgeons.

He is the surgeon to the stars and has performed procedures for celebrities including Jack P Shepherd from Coronation Street, the model Calum Best and the TV doctor Christian Jessen.

He has pioneered new hair transplant procedures in the UK such as eyelash, eyebrow, beard and sideburn transplants.

His main clinic is close to Manchester Airport and he also has consulting rooms in Harley Street.

A former general surgeon in the NHS, he switched to hair transplantation private practice 15 years ago and is one of the most acclaimed surgeons globally in FUE (follicular unit extraction) and FUT (follicular unit transplantation) hair transplant procedures

Are more women enquiring about hair transplants/procedures/treatments and if so why? Is demand growing?

Asim Shahmalak said: “Yes, more women are enquiring about hair transplants. They are still far outnumbered by men but around 10% of my patients are female.

“Most of them come because they have permanent thinning hair and this can be even more damaging to a woman’s self-esteem than a man’s simply because it is more unexpected and it can have a devastating impact on a woman’s confidence.

“I also treat increasing numbers of women for eyebrow and eyelash transplants. Most eyebrow transplants are down to women permanently damaging their brows due to over-plucking. Hair is transplanted from the scalp and replanted in the brows.

“I also do eyelash transplants on women. I was the first surgeon in the UK to perform an eyelash transplant here – way back in 2007 on a young woman from Greater Manchester. Most eyelash transplant patients seek treatment after suffering from trichotillomania – a condition where sufferers rip out their eyelashes due to psychological issues. Hair is extracted from the scalp and replanted in the upper eyelid. Because it is scalp hair, it goes as it would on the scalp when replanted in the eyelid so it can curl when longer and needs to be straightened. I provide kits so patients can do this themselves.

“Demand is growing for general female hair transplants. The reason for this is greater awareness that hair transplantation is the only long term solution to permanent hair loss in women.

“There is also a lot of concern about hair extensions and the damage they can cause to the scalp. Women can wreck their hair with hair extensions which can pull out their natural hair and cause permanent damage to the scalp.

“Lots of women have seen successful male transplant patients such as Calum Best or Jack P Shepherd and thought, ‘That could work for me, too.’”

Why have women been slower than men to enquire about hair procedures?

Asim Shahmalak said: “I think women have been slower than men to enquire about hair transplants in the past because they thought that hair transplants were a ‘man thing.’ You didn’t read about women having procedures and there was this assumption that while women could benefit in lots of ways through plastic surgery – breast enhancements or browlifts or facelifts – hair transplantation was not for them. One of the reasons is that a lot of female hair loss is hormonal and non-permanent. The hair eventually grows back and so hair transplantation is not necessary.

“However, a significant number of women do suffer permanent hair loss for a number of reasons including the same hereditary reasons which is the main factor in men going bald. A receding hairline at the front ages a woman far more quickly than a similar condition in men. You expect some women in their eighties or nineties to have thinning hair, but not in their forties or fifties. It is those younger middle aged women who are coming to me for help in increasing numbers.”

Are more younger women enquiring about hair transplants/procedures/treatments and if so why?

Asim Shahmalak said: “Yes, more young women are inquiring about treatments and there is a simple reason: vanity. In the age of social media, where we can all enhance our appearance with photographic filters, a hair transplant is like having a permanent positive filter on your hair. You can wave goodbye to bad hair days and have the hair you have always wanted every day.

“So many young people want to look their best when sharing pictures on Facebook and Instagram and come to me for procedures which will improve their self confidence and how they present themselves to their friends and the world on social platforms.”

Are more women going through the menopause enquiring about hair transplants/procedures/treatments and if so why?

Asim said: “Menopause is a natural physiological process that all women experience at some point in their lives. During this time, the body goes through numerous physical changes as it adjusts to fluctuating hormone levels. Many women have unpleasant symptoms during menopause, including hot flashes, mood swings, and insomnia. Hair loss is another common occurrence.

“Hair loss tends to be subtler in women than it is in men. Most women experience overall hair thinning rather than noticeable bald spots. The thinning can occur on the front, sides, or top of the head. Hair may also fall out in large clumps during brushing and showering.

“Research suggests that hair loss during menopause is the result of a hormonal imbalance. Specifically, it’s related to a lowered production of estrogen and progesterone. These hormones help hair grow faster and stay on the head for longer periods of time. When the levels of estrogen and progesterone drop, hair grows more slowly and becomes much thinner. A decrease in these hormones also triggers an increase in the production of androgens, or a group of male hormones. Androgens shrink hair follicles, resulting in hair loss on the head. In some cases, however, these hormones can cause more hair to grow on the face. This is why some menopausal women develop facial “peach fuzz” and small sprouts of hair on the chin.

“For women going through menopause, the cause of hair loss is almost always related to hormonal changes. However, there are many other factors that can contribute to hair loss during menopause. These include extremely high levels of stress, illness, or a lack of certain nutrients. Diagnostic blood tests that can help rule out other causes of hair loss include thyroid tests, and/or a complete blood count.

“Hair loss may make you feel self-conscious about your physical appearance, but the condition isn’t permanent in most cases. Obviously where it is non-permanent a hair transplant is not appropriate.

“However in some cases the hair loss is permanent and a hair transplant is appropriate. We have seen growing number of post-menopausal women seeking help for the same reasons of vanity that attract younger women to the clinic.”

Do you have any concerns about the hair transplant industry, particularly the popularity of going abroad?

Asim Shahmalak said: “I have great concerns about the numbers of patients of both sexes going to countries such as Turkey for hair transplant procedures.

“Do you really want to take a risk on such an important decision on what could be a completely unregulated clinic? The main drawback of going abroad for a procedure is that patients have almost no recourse if the procedure goes wrong or they don’t get the result they desired.

“Do you really want to start legal proceedings in a Turkish court and would you have the first idea about what to do? If you need further care from the surgeon, you will need to fly thousands of miles for a remedy which again may not work. It may be a little more expensive to have treatment in the UK but it is money very well spent.

“One of the main areas of my work is repair surgery. Patients come to me after having a terrible experience in a country such as Turkey and ask me to repair the damage. In most cases, I can help and sort out their problems but, in a few cases, nothing can be done and patients can severely damage their appearance by going to an unregulated ‘cowboy clinic’ abroad.

And I would be keen to know if you have any case studies of women who have had the procedure who would be able to tell me about their experience?

Asim Shahmalak said: “Most of my female patients would rather not be fully named and pictured when talking about their hair transplant procedures.

“But several have been so pleased with the results that they are okay to share pictures and their experiences in a way where they are not fully identified. Here are some of my very happy former female patients.”

He maybe the world’s richest man, but all those riches could not save Elon Musk’s hair.
That is why the founder of the Tesla car company transformed his appearance with a hair transplant.
You can see the remarkable change in his appearance in the before and after pictures below.

His hair is clearly thinning at the front in the before picture on the left, taken in his 20s.

Fast forward more than 20 years and the 50-year-old Musk has a full head of hair in the after picture on the right.

Musk will almost certainly have had a Follicular Unit Extraction transplant – chosen by 80% of the patients at Crown Clinic.

With FUE, the donor hair is extracted individually from the back and sides of the scalp – keeping any scarring to a minimum.

Celebrity patients of our consultant hair transplant surgeon Dr Asim Shahmalak who have had FUE transplants include Jack P Shepherd from Coronation Street, the footballer Didi Hamann and the model Calum Best.

Dr Shahmalak also offers the more traditional method of hair transplantation, FUT – follicular unit transplantation.

With FUT, all the donor hair is removed in one go by surgically cutting a strip of skin from the scalp. The donor grafts are then extracted from the strip by technicians and replanted in the balding areas of the scalp by Dr Shahmalak in the same way as FUE.

The TV doctor Christian Jessen has had two FUT transplants at Crown Clinic with Dr Shahmalak. We don’t recommend FUT for patients who like to wear their hair short or shaved because the scarring is more noticeable than FUE. If you grow your hair slightly longer, as Christian Jessen does, the scarring cannot be seen.

Whatever method he chose, Elon Musk is to be congratulated on his transplant – his new hair looks fantastic.