Maybe you have never given much thought to hair transplantation. That's very likely if you are an adult man or woman who has a full head of hair. It may well be the case if you have been losing hair, but take your thinning hair in stride and don't understand why other people feel differently.
What happens when a brother, sister, friend, parent or coworker has hair transplantation? How do you feel about it when the subject of hair transplantation becomes unavoidable? What do you say to the person who is having hair transplantation? Do you have to say anything? Should you take notice of it if the person hasn't mentioned it first?
Understanding the reasons for someone else's hair transplantation should be no different than understanding the reasons for someone else's orthodontic procedure. The person has decided to have a cosmetic procedure to enhance his/her appearance. When a relative, friend or colleague has dental braces the reason is usually obvious and no special comment is required. The same is true for hair transplantation.
Old Attitudes About Cosmetic Procedures
Old attitudes die hard, and beliefs about the vanity of cosmetic procedures still persist. Cosmetic procedures are common, well accepted and highly successful today. Millions of people have cosmetic procedures for a variety of reasons-to remove acne scars or other skin blemishes, to reverse the early effects of skin aging, to straighten teeth and realign jaws, to improve facial symmetry, and to restore hair loss to maintain a balanced facial appearance.
Nevertheless, a suspicion that cosmetic procedures are indications of self-centered vanity can color opinions. It's an old, outdated belief, and it dies hard.
Self-Assurance, Self-Image, Self-Respect
Societal attitudes today encourage people to be in charge of their own physical and psychological health. Bookstores overflow with self-help information about diet and exercise.
Regular exercise improves cardiovascular, cardiopulmonary and musculoskeletal health, as well as contributing to the development of a well-toned body that is physically attractive. Diet and nutrition complement physical exercise in improving fitness and maintaining body weight at a level consistent with good health. Physical well-being tends to promote psychological well-being. A look in the mirror confirms that a person is "in charge" of his/her own body image.
In past generations a person 60 years of age was "old". Today, 60 can still be within the boundaries of middle-age for the physically and psychologically healthy. Today's 60-year-old who exercises regularly and has a healthy diet may have the physical appearance of a person years younger. The physically fit body can be complemented by hair transplantation that may have been carried out over a period of years to "keep up" with thinning hair.
Likewise, physically fit men and women in their 30s, 40s and 50s may not "look their ages" if they are physically fit. Cosmetic deficits can detract from appearance, however. The appearance of a 40-year-old man can be compromised by hair loss and development of a "bald spot". The well-conditioned 40-year-old woman may find it unacceptable when the patchy-diffuse hair loss typical of female pattern androgenetic alopecia begins across the top of her scalp (See About Hair Loss for more information on female pattern androgenetic alopecia).
It is not surprising that people who choose to be "in charge" of their physical well-being will also choose to be "in charge" of their physical appearance. Self-image contributes to self-assurance and overall self-respect. Self-assurance, self-respect and being in charge of one's self-image are widely accepted societal themes.
Physical Appearance in the Workplace
Studies have shown repeatedly that physical attractiveness tends to be rewarded in the workplace. The person who presents an attractive physical appearance has enhanced opportunities for advancement. Good physical appearance also tends to improve self-assurance, a trait that employers and clients usually find attractive and reassuring. Correction of a cosmetic deficit such as hair loss may be a "career move".
Professions Where Image is Everything
The person who quintessentially lives on his/her physical appearance is the actor and actress. Physical appearance is largely how the actor and actress are identified and remembered by their audience. Cosmetic deficits such as hair loss can be compensated for by the skill of make-up technicians, and this was frequently the case for movie stars of past generations. Today, advancements in the techniques of hair transplantation stress the "natural look"-that is, hair transplantation that cannot be differentiated from hair that was never lost. Hair transplantation is a "career move" chosen by increasing numbers of actors and actresses who like to carry their images from stage and studio into public life without the need for "make-up."