Taking it on the chin…25% rise in beard and sideburn transplants at Crown Clinic as men copy the look of England boss Gareth Southgate

Men are splashing out £4,000 on beard and sideburn transplants to copy the facial hair favoured by stars such as England manager Gareth Southgate and David Beckham.

There has been a 25% rise in bookings as football fever grips the nation and men match Southgate’s facial hair style – four years after he sparked a boom in waistcoats at the last World Cup in Russia.

Beards have never been more fashionable but a new survey 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 by Britain’s leading hair transplant centre – Crown Clinic in Manchester.

It makes it impossible for many men to mimic the macho looks of their favourite stars.

Increasingly, men are turning to surgery to get their facial hair bolstered with hair transplants so that they have a fuller beard with no gaps like 52-year-old Southgate.

Hair is taken from the back of the scalp in a strip and transplanted into the bald patches of the beard or the sideburn in a similar procedure to a conventional hair transplant.

Dr Asim Shahmalak, best known for his work doing hair transplants for celebrities such as Coronation Street’s Jack P Shepherd, shared pictures of two patients who have undergone the procedures with him at Crown Clinic in recent years.

The beard transplant was on a 32-year-old patient from Southport, Merseyside, who was born with a ‘wine stain’ birthmark on his cheek and wanted to bulk up his beard to cover it up.

Dr Shahmalak took 1,200 grafts – which amounts to around 3,000 individual hairs – from the back of his scalp and transplanted them into the bald patches in his beard.

The before picture shows the patient with his beard shaved off and the area where the surgery was about to take place around the birthmark highlighted with a pen.

In the second picture, taken six months after surgery, his new beard is starting to grow back and cover up the birthmark.

In the third picture, taken 14 months after surgery, the transplanted hair has fully grown and has almost completely obscured the birthmark.

The sideburn transplant features a 48-year-old farmer who had always felt his masculinity had been undermined by not being able to grow proper ‘mutton chops.’

Dr Shahmalak transplanted 200 grafts into each of the patient’s sideburns. The patient was delighted with his new fuller sideburns and his self-confidence soared.

Dr Shahmalak said: “A proper, full-grown beard has been the ultimate definition of masculinity for centuries – as Gareth Southgate shows only too well leading the England team.

“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 or the sexy designer stubble or beards often sported by Gareth Southgate and David Beckham.”

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.

While a beard can boost a man’s self-esteem, it does very little for his sex appeal, according to women.

Two-thirds of women (67%) said they preferred the clean-shaven look to a beard.

However, the result was a lot closer with designer stubble – with 48% of women saying they found stubble sexier than a bare face.

A further 54% of respondents said that men grow beards to compensate for hair loss on their heads.

Dr Shahmalak added: “Men often moan 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 likeDavid 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 hair transplants on a number of stars including Coronation Street star Jack P Shepherd, TV doctor Christian Jessen and model Calum Best.