Should you get hair replacement? Or a hair transplant?
Just because someone you know is perfectly content with his hair loss solution, doesn’t mean that solution is perfect for you. Before making that all-important decision, it’s best to make sure you know what’s what.
What’s a hair transplant?
A hair transplant is a type of surgery where a surgeon takes strips of skin containing donor hairs from the back or the sides of your head, and transplants them onto areas with little or no hair. The surgeon makes tiny holes or slits in these bare areas for the donor hairs to go into.
As with any surgical procedure, hair transplants can only be performed by licensed practitioners, and there are risks and pain involved—not to mention significant costs. A transplant also takes a significant amount of time: even as an outpatient procedure, it can take up to 8 hours. An entire run of several sessions interspersed with healing periods can take as long as 2 years.
Apart from the usual complications that could arise from surgery such as bleeding, infection and scarring, the risks of a hair transplant also include the failure of the donor hair to grow, or irregular, uneven growth. This in turn would mean that the transplant would have to be repeated or corrected.
Another, more drastic form of a hair transplant is scalp flap surgery, where the surgeon takes a piece of your scalp that still has hair and grafts it onto a bald area.
What’s a hair replacement system?
A hair replacement system does not involve surgery at all. During hair replacement, a hairpiece made of either natural or synthetic human hair is attached to your scalp using tapes or adhesives. The process is both painless and instantaneous—you can literally walk out of the studio in an hour and a half with a brand new head of hair.
Where hair transplants may not be advisable depending on the root cause of your hair loss, a hair replacement system may be used by anyone with a hair loss problem regardless of the cause. Also unlike hair transplants, where the outcome can’t be determined until the transplanted hair starts to grow, the results of a hair replacement system can be fully controlled.
Hair replacement systems can be cut and styled just like normal hair, and can even be shampooed and used during swimming and other activities. They do, however, have to be removed for regular cleaning and maintenance, and replaced from time to time because of natural wear or breakdown of the hairpiece base due to contact with the skin’s natural acids.
Some people have also reported feeling hot or uncomfortable with a hair replacement system on. And if the hair replacement system isn’t cleaned properly or professionally, it could cause itching or allergies.