Dr. Alan Bauman writes on the advances in hair transplantation, and why it may be time to transition from the hair system to a more permanent solution… There are times when a solution can actually be worse than the problem. Hair pieces – otherwise commonly referred to as “rugs” – are an example.
Please don’t get me wrong. I can understand why men once gravitated toward hair pieces and other similar hair systems such as weaves and wigs as a solution to baldness. There was a time, when the hair restoration field was in its infancy, that there was little else out there to choose from.
Unfortunately, due to their unnatural appearances, hair pieces have also been the brunt of many jokes. Recently, a beer commercial even spoofed men who were wearing them. And let’s face it. We’ve all walked on the beach, through malls and other public places noticing the tell-tale signs of a “bad rug.” Toupees that just don’t match real hair. A matted appearance. The wrong color. Hair pieces that have ‘slipped’ on the skull.
Fortunately, within the last 7 years the hair restoration field has entered into a new era. New surgical procedures, drug therapies and non-surgical technologies have emerged to give men easier and more natural looking options to balding than ever before.
This all adds up to the fact that men no longer need to settle for the sub-par results and extensive care of hair pieces.
But even though there are now so many effective choices out there – from surgical micro-grafting to Propecia to Low Level Laser Therapy – some of the most difficult consultations I have with patients involves relinquishing their hair pieces and embracing hair transplantation and other ancillary treatments. The difficulty lies in the fact that most men who wear hair pieces look in the mirror and think they have cured their baldness. They don ’t see the unnatural hairline or realize everyone knows that they are wearing a “rug.”
And this might in no small part be because to many men, their hairpieces are like a cherished old friend.
Most men with hair pieces began wearing them when there were few other options. Now, these same men find themselves dependent on their hairpieces, even though new techniques allow hair restoration surgeons to create a natural, full-looking head of hair both surgically and non-surgically.
Unfortunately, these same men are unnecessarily sticking with a system that is complicating their lives. In many cases, they spend almost as much time (and money) maintaining their hair pieces as they would caring for a child or pet! But once they understand that they can be free from this drudgery and financial drain, they are willing to consider other therapies.
For example, maintaining a hair piece usually involves the following:
Several are usually purchased at a cost of approximately $3,000 for what is considered a “good” hair piece
They must be professionally shampooed on a regular basis at additional costs
Users must go to stylists to make sure that the wearer’s natural hair matches the piece. This often involves dyes and other styling techniques
On weekends users must “air out” there scalps and many hide behind hats such as baseball caps when in public
Just the thought of pool party, ride in a convertible or any other sport can result in severe anxiety and apprehension about what will happen to the hair piece
In contrast, the array of highly-effective surgical and non-surgical techniques can free hair piece wearers from the time, expense and anxiety involved with wearing a hair piece.
Hair restoration surgery (hair transplantation) is a relatively non-invasive surgical procedure
Advances in local anesthesia have made the procedure comfortable and easy
Patients can return to work the next day
Patients receive a natural hairline and age-appropriate appearance
There is the look of a full, natural head of hair within 9-12 months
The transplanted follicles produce permanent, living and growing hair
Patients have the option of a multi-therapy approach, such as Propecia and Low Level Laser Therapy, after surgery if they choose.
As a hair restoration surgeon, I can tell patients without a doubt that there is no longer the need to chain themselves down to the time, expense and anxiety of hair pieces. Thanks to surgical and non-surgical advancements, men can now shed their “rugs,” achieve a natural, full looking head of hair and, best of all, never gain worry that their hair piece will get in the way of their lifestyle.