Perhaps no where else in the world is one's appearance tied to their profession quite like Hollywood. For both male and female celebrities, the right hairstyles can shape careers and set the latest trends but can also hinder his or her future – especially if one’s thinning hair or receding hairline is fast becoming the punch line of every late night talk show host. In a town where image is everything, what’s a young star or starlet to do? Many are quietly and then not so quietly turning to surgical hair restoration, the only permanent solution to hair loss.
While we won't name names, many young A-list actors are losing their hair in areas typical of male pattern hair loss (see About Your Hair Loss), the most common form of genetically predisposed hair loss in men. Perhaps they didn’t get the memo from some of their slightly older counterparts, that early intervention with hair loss is key.
It is essential for celebrities to identify and consult with a physician specially trained in hair restoration sooner rather than later to avoid creating a visual history of their hair loss in the press via the unforgiving lens of the paparazzi. In fact, the fastest growing Hollywood hair trend is celebrities addressing their hair loss at younger ages with a combination of both surgical and non-surgical treatments. (see Finding a Hair Restoration Doctor)
A common misconception is that hair loss is strictly a male disease; however, more than 40 million women in the United States alone suffer with hair loss. When it comes to hair loss, female celebrities are just like everyone else in that they value their hair and are concerned when they lose it. The difference though is that in their line of work, their appearance is vital to their earning potential. So any flaw, such as hair loss, is magnified and almost forces them to seek treatment to stay competitive professionally. A significant number of female celebrities are electing to undergo hair transplant procedures to correct hair loss, which may be caused by Traction Alopecia (mechanical hair loss from wearing tight braids and weaves, as well as excessive use of hair extensions). Other significant causes for female pattern hair loss include genetics and the natural aging process.
However, more than ever before people not in the spotlight report being concerned about how hair loss could impact their careers. A recent consumer survey commissioned by the ISHRS found that 77% of adults polled said they would be very or somewhat concerned if they were in their twenties and just starting out in their careers and experienced unexplained, noticeable hair loss.
Fortunately, recent scientific breakthroughs have made hair restoration an option for almost everyone (see Surgical Hair Restoration and Medical Hair Restoration). In fact, today's hair restoration surgery safely and effectively creates natural-looking, permanent results that are virtually undetectable, which is essential for celebrities. As such, a significant number of celebrities are choosing Follicular Unit Extraction or FUE and particularly the ARTAS robotic system. Like their lifestyles, celebrities are choosing Robotic FUE to take advantage of the most advanced technology. By choosing FUE, celebrities avoid noticeable linear scars, allowing them the flexibility to wear shorter hairstyles for different roles, and minimize his or her recovery time, which are all big pluses for anyone, but especially for those in the public eye.
While rumors abound about celebrities who reportedly have sought treatment for hair loss, cosmetic surgery is still considered top secret in Hollywood with most celebrities deflecting or denying questions and rumors about cosmetic work. But there are some celebrities who choose to be open about their decisions to have hair restoration procedures, and with more of them speaking out the procedure is becoming less taboo. Most notably, Celebrity Chef Gordon Ramsey, Joe Fatone of InSync, and recently Denver Bronco’s wide receiver, Wes Welker count themselves among the thousands of successful hair transplant patients treated every year. In Europe, British celebrity, Jason Gardiner - a popular TV Presenter and Dancing on Ice judge - has spoken publicly about his follicular unit hair restoration (see Glossary of Hair Restoration Procedures and Terms), and UK rock star Francis Rossi, Soccer sensation, Wayne Rooney, and the Prime Minister of Italy, Silvio Berlusconi, admitted to having had a hair transplant – all celebrities, each with different personalities, but all share elected to have hair transplant surgery to address their thinning hair. Are we better for knowing? Does it tarnish their illusive and hallowed celebrity status – certainly not in our field of doctors and scientists and most certainly not in the minds of people who struggle with hair loss around the globe. In fact, they have done an incredible job of educating prospective patients on the benefits of surgical hair restoration and the consistent natural-looking results that can be achieved with strip harvest surgery as well as FUE.