What is a hair transplant and should you get one if you're balding like Sam Smith?

Blake Harper
·3 min read

Sam Smith, like more than half of men, was losing his hair. But, as he just revealed in a new interview with Vogue, he did something about it and got a hair transplant.

“I haven’t actually spoken about this before, so I’m gonna speak about it because I don’t actually feel like I have anything to hide,” the Grammy-winning singer said. “But I was losing my hair… about two years ago and so my hairdresser Paul basically said he thought it would be a good idea for me to get a transplant and to look into it. I looked into it… and I have had a hair transplant. How stunning is it? It’s nice to have hair.”

Smith is right that it is nice to have hair but is a hair transplant really an effective way to fight off hair loss for people who maybe aren’t quite as wealthy as one of the most successful musical artists in the world? And even if you can afford it, is it a safe, long-term solution or just a quick fix? Here’s everything you need to know if you are considering a hair transplant.

As the name suggests, a hair transplant is a surgical procedure by which hair follicles are removed from one part of the body (called the ‘donor site’) and then transplanted into a spot where the hair is thinning (called the ‘recipient site’). Multiple studies have shown overall satisfaction from people who have undergone hair transplants, with most participants saying they experienced 75 percent hair regrowth within 6 months and reporting a satisfaction score of 8.3 out of 10.

Additionally, the procedure is overwhelmingly successful, with a reported 98 percent success rate. But even if you get a hair transplant, will you just need to get another one in a year or two? That depends on your own follicles but generally, transplants will last you at least a few years and many people even find that they never need to have the procedure done again.

According to Medical News Today, the best way to ensure you do not need a touch-up or second procedure is to “follow [your] surgeon’s postprocedure instructions. Doing this will increase their chances of a successful hair transplant.” Postprocedure instructions may include not washing your hair for the first few days or avoiding any “strenuous activity and exercise for several weeks.” Small price to pay for a great head of hair.

Of course, there’s one big question that remains: how much does a hair transplant actually cost? As you may have guessed, the procedure is not cheap and costs more if you want to get it done well. Price is dependent on how much hair you are moving but it typically costs between $4,000 and $15,000 to get the procedure and unfortunately, it’s unlikely to be covered by health insurance.

So if that’s out of your price range, you could try any number of alternatives to fight hair loss, including products such as Rogaine or even checking in with your doctor to see if there’s an affordable medication that might be effective. Certain shampoos and essential oils have also been found to be a good way to stave off hair loss. Heck, even changing your diet and exercise routine can help you keep your hair on your head and stimulate growth. But if none of that works or you just don’t feel like doing any of that, you can always learn to embrace your baldness. Because while Smith may have gone the transplant route, he says he would not be ashamed if he was bald.

“If I was bald, I would still own it, too,” Smith said. “Because bald is beautiful.”

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