Understanding the rise in popularity of beard transplants
March, 19 2020 | By Dr. Sangay Bhutia (Hair Transplant Specialist in Delhi)
A cursory look at the Indian cricket team is enough to tell you that sporting a beard is trendy. Almost all of them experiment with their beards. From Short Boxed to a Balbo beard. From a 3-days stubble to a Mutton Chops beard. Or it could be a Chin Strap Style to a Gunslinger Beard and moustache. And that is not all, styles range from a Royale beard to a Horseshoe moustache. From a Van Dyke Beard to a Petite Goatee. The list does not end there. There could be any number of ingenious styles.
The reasons to grow and sport a beard are many, and can differ from person to person. But that is limited to only those who have the required facial hair to grow a beard. But what about those who cannot?
The trend of sporting various beard and moustache styles can be very aspirational. Or it could even be driven by peer pressure. Remember the recent trend called ‘no shave November’, when across the world, men gave their razors a break for a month and were seen sporting a variety of beard and moustache styles. For someone with patchy to low facial hair, this can be an anxious period. Moreover, what happens when your favourite celebrity, athlete or artist wears a beard? Would you not want to emulate? The immediate response, one can guess, will be a thumping yes.
There can be other reasons why one would want to wear a beard. And before we discuss the other reasons, you should understand that a beard also hides as much as it reveals. We all know that a beard can enhance the way we look. But what is often not discussed is the functional aspect of a beard. It helps those with skin tags or common warts on the bearded area. They are often advised by the doctors to grow a beard. And not just that, a beard can also hide facial scars. Therefore a beard can serve a multitude of functions. More importantly, it is popularly believed that a beard is also attractive to the opposite sex.
Having a beard is also associated with masculinity, being able to grow facial hair is almost a right of passage for a lot of young boys. As adults as well, having facial hair is considered ‘manly’. Therefore, those who for a variety of reasons can only grow a patchy beard or are experiencing facial hair fall due to genetic reasons, have an option of having a beard transplant. Some people also experience what is referred to as Alopecia Barbae, an autoimmune condition which leads to your own body attacking your hair follicles. This causes patchy hair loss.
All these factors combined have led to an unprecedented popularity in beard transplants.
How are beard transplants done?
Beard transplants involve taking healthy hair follicles from the donor areas of a person’s body and transplanting them to replace facial hair where a beard is supposed to grow, or fill in gaps in a patchy beard.
For beard transplants, the surgeon administers local anaesthesia around the head. Hair follicles from the donor areas are extracted using the FUE or Follicular Unit Extraction technique. The donor areas for a beard transplant range from the back of the scalp to other parts of the body like under the chin.
The FUE technique leaves tiny, circular dot like scars on the donor areas which can be easily camouflaged and they fade out on their own in a few months. After extraction, the surgeon then makes tiny incisions in the beard area and places the grafts, keeping in mind the angulation and the direction of hair growth. The placement of the follicles is extremely important in beard transplants as it needs surgical precision as well as artistic flair, as it concerns the person’s face and their looks. Symmetry and uniformity are very important for good results.
A big concern that some patients have is that the hair on their beard is darker compared to the hair on the scalp, which might make the transplant look unnatural. But it isn’t so, beard transplants that use the person’s scalp hair are extremely successful and look natural, and there are no coloration issues.
The time of recovery post the transplant is quite fast, the transplanted follicles will fall out in about 2-3 weeks, but they will grow back fully in about 3-4 months. Post which, they will follow their regular growth cycle.
The good news for those seeking beard transplants is that as long as they have enough donor hair on the back of the head, they are all eligible candidates. The most important prerequisite for a beard transplant is that you find a good surgeon. It is essential that you look for someone who is experienced and has a good team. Hair transplant specialists are great at these procedures as they have the required experience and they possess the knowledge. Surgeons who are adept at hair transplant understand the nitty-gritty of the extraction and placement of hair follicles, and the importance of aesthetics in these procedures. Just like beard transplant, in hair transplants as well, a flair for creating aesthetically-pleasing looks is extremely important.
Beard transplants are becoming fairly common and are very affordable; they are helping men around the world proudly grow beards and keep up with the latest trends.