Everywhere you look these days, it seems that so many men are sporting beards. Facial hair is “in” in Hollywood, where attractive male stars such as Jared Leto, Jake Gyllenhaal and George Clooney have beards or have recently had them. Hipster havens such as Portland and Brooklyn are also full of bearded men.
But what if your facial hair doesn’t cooperate? Not every man can grow a full beard on his own. Some men experience patchiness or uneven growth. Others have baby smooth skin that just refuses to grow hair. Facial hair transplants have become increasingly popular with men, particularly those in areas where the bearded look is in demand.
The Transplant Process
The hairs used during a beard transplant come from the patient’s own head or body. Typically, the surgeon harvests the hairs from the back of the scalp or on the sides of the head. The goal is to choose hairs that won’t be missed from their original location. The donor hairs should also match the facial hair as closely as possible.
The number of hair grafts the surgeon uses depends on the size of the area to be filled. Some men only require a transplant to fill in patchy areas, others want a transplant to add volume to the goatee mustache, and still others want a full beard. A full beard transplant might require the use of 1,800 to 2,200 grafts while a goatee might require just 600 or 900 grafts.
The entire transplant procedure typically takes five to seven hours. Most patients receive local anesthesia plus a sedative. The size of the incisions depend on the technique the surgeon uses. If the surgeon uses the follicular unit extraction (FUE) method, each follicle and hair is removed from the donor site one by one. FUE avoids a linear incision, which occurs when the follicular unit grafting (FUG) method is used.
A beard transplant shouldn’t require a patient to take too much time out of his busy life. The effects of the surgery are usually visible on the face for four to six days afterwards. There will be small crusts or scabs around each transplanted hair for the first few days. To improve complication-free healing and lower the risk of an infection, the patient is prescribed an antibiotic for several days.
Most men can resume daily activities within five days after the surgery. The surgeon will let the patient know when it’s safe to resume exercise or vigorous activities.
The beard area needs to be kept dry for several days after the transplant to avoid disrupting the grafts. After five days, the patient may gently wash the area. Direct spray from a shower head, as well as harsh facial cleansers, should be avoided for about two weeks after the transplant.
The transplanted hair will fall out after a couple of weeks. However, new hair will grow in the area of the transplant, which will be permanent. It typically takes about three months for the new, permanent hair to start grow in. Once the hair grows back, it will be a permanent part of a man’s face. If he grows tired of having a beard, he can easily shave it off.
If not enough hair is transplanted to the facial area during the first procedure, the surgeon can repeat the process. In some cases, a surgeon will choose gray hair from the donor area and strategically place it in the beard to create a natural look.
Hair transplant specialist Dr. Jeffrey Epstein has seen an uptick in the number of facial hair transplant candidates in recent years. He has for the past several years been performing on average three of these procedures every week. Not every patient who comes in for a facial hair transplant is doing it to be trendy. Some men decide to undergo the transplant because scarring on the face, due to burns or acne, has prevented them from growing hair. Others just like the masculine look a beard provides, even if they plan on growing out the beard for just several days.
No matter what your reasons are for considering a facial hair transplant, Dr. Epstein is happy to discuss the procedure with you. He has been performing the surgery since 1993. To schedule a consultation with Dr. Epstein in New York, call the office at (212) 759-3484. You can also meet with Dr. Epstein in Miami by calling (305) 666-1774 for an appointment.