When are you too young to have a hair transplant?
This is a question that is often asked by patients of Crown Clinic's surgeon Asim Shahmalak- and there is a very simple answer whether you are talking about a FUE (follicular unit extraction) procedure or you would prefer the more traditional method of FUT (follicular unit transplantation).
Dr Shahmalak will not perform transplants on patients, particularly men, under the age of 25.
Why is 25 the cut off point?
No two patients are the same but at Crown Clinic we find this is a good age to starting helping patients struggling with pattern baldness.
Around one in five men are already starting to show signs of hair loss by the time they reach 25.
Clearly when you lose hair at such a young age it can have a significant impact psychologically.
As a man, you have to cope with the fact that you will have to deal with hair loss right throughout your adult life.
Many men at that stage of their lives want a 'quick fix'- a permanent solution to their problem. And that is not just possible.
The difficulty in having surgery under the age 25 is that hair loss is a continual process and there is a limited supply of donor hair (taken from the back or sides of the scalp) that surgeons can use to patch up the gaps.
This is especially true of patients who start losing their hair at a young age because they are likely to need more than one procedure to maintain their hair covering.
All the transplanted will be permanent but that won't be the case for the natural hair around where the transplanted grafts have been placed by the surgeon. So gaps in the cover could crop up as more of the natural hair drops out.
Patients can keep hold of more of their natural hair by taking a clinically proven drug such as Finasteride. This won't help them to grow any new hair but it will slow down or halt the loss of their natural hair. Dr Shahmalak often recommends the use of Finasteride in conjunction with a hair transplant - in effect, a two-pronged way of dealing with the problem.
Hair transplant patients such as Wayne Rooney, who had his first FUE procedure when he was just 25, have understandably sparked a great deal of interest in hair transplantation for men in their 20s.
Our advice to those men is: be patient. From 25, the pattern of your baldness will be established and we will be able to help you at Crown Clinic.
Dr Shahmalak has performed three hair transplant procedures on the model Calum Best in his late 20s and early 30s. Despite these procedures - and a fourth transplant in Ireland before he came under Dr Shahmalak's care - Calum still has donor hair for further procedures, though not for a few years.
The TV doctor Christian Jessen has had two hair transplants with Dr Shahmalak using the more traditional method of FUT.