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Tattoos, surgeries to the rescue of bald men

BY: Hadiza Nuhhu-Billa Quansah
Baldness is a common issue affecting most men

Baldness is a common issue affecting most men.  Depending on how one looks at it, baldness could be sexy . Gradually, people are  finding ways of solving it through tattoos, surgeries, herbal concoctions and cosmetic products among others.

In Ghana, it is common to see both men and women making fun of people with bald heads. They call them by names such as “God is my barber”, “Motorway” and “Apenpemu Store”.

Those who want to avoid being mocked constantly love to wear hats just to hide their baldness.

Hair loss can affect just the scalp or the entire body, and it can be temporary or permanent. It could be the result of heredity, hormonal changes, medical conditions or a normal part of aging. Anyone can lose hair on the head, but that’s more common in men.

Baldness typically refers to excessive hair loss from the scalp. Hereditary hair loss with age is the most common cause of baldness. Some men prefer to let their hair loss run its course untreated and unhidden, seeing it as the ultimate sign of masculinity.

Others cover it up with hairstyles, makeup, hats or scarves, especially when hair loss is the result of cancer treatment for all genders. Some choose one of the treatments available to prevent further hair loss or restore growth.

It is said that people typically lose 50 to 100 hairs a day. This usually isn't noticeable because new hair grows at the same time. Hair loss occurs when new hair doesn't replace fallen hair.

Unlike the past where some bald men are not bothered about their looks, these days , it is a source of worry and the cause of low esteem to some men who are therefore spending huge sums of money for full hair treatment .

 

For men who are suffering from male pattern baldness, traction alopecia, thinning or scarring on the scalp, there are a range of options available, depending on the person’s budget and desires. They range from surgical to non-surgical hair loss remedies.

Some of the bald creams range from GH¢100 to GH¢3,000. Those who sell them believe the creams help grow hair fast and treat bad hairlines. Besides, the hair creams help in stopping hair loss and curing premature balding . It can also help with itchy scalp and darkening.

Hair transplant/tattoos
Currently, those who are well-to-do and want a permanent solution for their baldness travel to countries such as Turkey to have hair transplants.

In an email sent to a hair transplant surgeon in Turkey by this reporter, Dr Akbas Aydin explained that in Turkey, the hair transplant cost ranged from $2,500 (GH¢20,000) to $7,500 (GH¢60,000), including accommodation and transportation expenses depending on the type of surgery needed, clinic chosen and the surgeon appointed. However in other parts of the world like Dubai, London, Toronto and UK, the cost may be as high as between $8,000 (GH¢64,000) and $30,000 (GH¢240,000).

According to him, “You can expect a hair transplant to take between four and eight hours. If you are having a large amount of hair transplanted, you may need to return for a few hours the next day.”

Touching on the procedure, he said most patients remained awake during the entire surgery and needed only an anaesthesia that made the scalp numb. Some patients, he added, also took a mild sedative to help them relax.

Aside the hair transplants, a hair tattoo procedure can also be used on parts of the scalp that are either thinning, receding or balding.

The technical term for this type of treatment is scalp micro pigmentation. It is a procedure wherein a special type of ink pigment is applied on the bald or thinning area using special micro needles (dotting technique) to mimic that of natural hair follicle units. The good news is that this procedure is highly flexible in use for different hair loss causes. When completed by a skilled practitioner with specialist training, the result is a highly effective illusion of a full head of shaved hair. Scars to the scalp can also be camouflaged using scalp pigmentation.

Often, people with cases such as a receding hairline, postpartum hair loss, bald patches and scalp scars or hair loss due to chemotherapy equally go in for the hair tattoos.

At Scalp Micro Ghana for instance, the rules for getting hair treatment are spelt out even on their website. In order to book for a consultation, the client can first send a picture of his/her hair loss through their trained practitioners to give the best customised treatment for the person’s situation.

The second option is the scheduling of a 15-minute appointment to the clinic for a certified practitioner to assess the hair loss situation and prescribe the best customised treatment .

According to the experts, after satisfaction with the prescribed customised treatment plan, the client could then book an appointment to start the treatment.

“We usually require two to three sessions to get the perfect results. Sessions can be as much as four days apart.

“The first session of the treatment is used to lay the foundation of replicated hair follicles. After the first session, you will notice an immediate difference and a full look appearing.

The second and third sessions are used to add additional layers of density to create the appearance of full, short hair and eliminate any sign of hair loss.

“We spend a lot of time blending into your existing hair for a seamless and natural look. We can make minor adjustments to the hairline in these sessions as well. After your final treatment, our practitioners will provide you with aftercare instructions and you won’t need to come back for around four to six years,” Scalp Micro experts indicated.

Based on the Worldwide Society of Hair Restoration Surgical procedure, a non-profit medical affiliation of greater than 800 hair restoration doctors, the number of males paying for hair transplants – the most costly and invasive of the male pattern baldness therapies – rose by 60 per cent from 2014 to 2016.

Others have flocked hair loss start-ups such as Hims and Retains, which have imbued hair growth supplements with a beforehand missing sense of cool courtesy of Instagram-savvy advert campaigns (pattern strap-line: “good-looking – is now not genetic”).

 

In the meantime, 3D microfibres that are combed by way of thinning strands to create density proceed to rise in reputation. Then there’s the stunning re-emergence of male wigs. With the afro hairstyle coming back, don’t be surprised to see some Ghanaian men covering their bald heads with kinky wigs.