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Breaking Down the Stigma Behind Hair Transplants

If there’s anyone that understands the shame and fear that can come with losing your hair, it’s the hair specialists at Bosley. Over the past 40+ years, we’ve helped millions of men and women learn about hair loss and how it can affect their lives. For some, it’s caused a loss of self-confidence. For others it’s led to concerns about their dating life or career prospects. And for others it’s seen as a worrying sign of aging.

But for almost every patient we talk to, it’s the social stigma around hair loss that often causes the greatest pain. Whether it’s due to our society’s focus on physical appearance or the pressure to look our best for social media, external factors often play a large part in how we see ourselves. Unfortunately, this stigma is often also what keeps some people from fully exploring their hair loss treatment options – including hair transplants.

But thankfully, due to changing perceptions around cosmetic procedures and significant advancements in hair transplantation technology, that’s starting to change. In fact, according to a recent survey by the International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery (ISHRS), there’s been a 157% increase in hair restoration patients from 2008 to 2019.

Early Hair Transplants

Some of the stigma associated with hair transplants comes from the unnatural look and poor cosmetic results of the first hair transplant procedures. Up until the 1980s, most hair transplants involved using large grafts (often referred to as “hair plugs”), which were visibly noticeable and didn’t result in anything that looked like a natural hairline.

The 1980s and 90s brought significant improvements in hair transplantation technology, including the use of “micrografts” that allowed surgeons to make them look more natural. These days, techniques such as Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT) and Follicular Unit Excision (FUE) have advanced to the point where it’s hard to tell if someone has had a hair transplant at all.

More Focus on Artistry

While hair transplant technology has certainly made leaps and bounds in recent decades, technology alone can’t give you back a natural looking hairline. Unlike some cosmetic procedures, hair transplantation is a decidedly custom process. Hair transplant physicians, like those at Bosley, take a number of different factors into consideration when planning out a natural hairline restoration plan – including age, facial structure, existing hairline, quality of the hair, and the patient’s long-term goals. The result is a more natural-looking hairline that’s almost completely unnoticeable.

Changing Societal Perceptions

Another reason for the decrease in stigma around hair transplants is the changing social perceptions around cosmetic procedures – especially in men. In the past, men often considered cosmetic surgery something that only women did, and that caring too much about their appearance might make people think they were vain. But a few recent trends look like they’ve begun to shift this way of thinking.

Mental Health

Studies have shown that losing your hair can have a profound impact on your psychological wellbeing – and can even lead to depression in some cases. And as mental health awareness has risen in recent years, so has the focus on addressing the issues that can lead to mental health issues, including hair loss.

Celebrity Culture

Although celebrities have been notoriously secretive about getting hair transplants in the past, a few recent examples of celebrities embracing their hair transplants publicly has flipped this cliché on its head. From professional soccer stars like Wayne Rooney to Hollywood actor Cheyenne Jackson, more and more celebrities are opening up about their hair transplants and the reasons behind them.

Selfie Awareness

It’s no surprise that the rise of social media-sharing and selfie culture has led people to increasingly focus on how they look. But it’s also had a profound effect on consumer interest in cosmetic procedures as well. According to a survey by the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (AAFPRS), 72 percent of AAFPRS members report seeing patients seeking cosmetic procedures to look better for their selfies.

Future Projections

These trends aren’t stopping anytime soon. According to a recent industry analysis, the hair transplant market is expected to achieve a 25% compound annual growth rate up to the year 2025. That’s a lot of new men and women choosing to ignore the stigma around hair transplants and actually do something about their hair loss.


Hair loss is nothing to be ashamed of. It’s usually a genetic condition and happens to millions of people each year. In fact, almost 66% of men experience noticeable hair loss at some point in their lives. But while the importance our culture puts on hair isn’t likely to change any time soon, the stigma around doing something about hair loss is starting to diminish – making it easier for men and women to feel comfortable about improving their looks and feeling better about themselves.

If you’re suffering from hair loss and want to explore your options, the specialists at Bosley can help. Schedule a free video or in-person consultation today to find out if a hair transplantation is right for you.

1Worldwide Demand for Effective Hair Restoration Procedures Continues to Increase (2020,June 3rd), from
2The Psychosocial Impact of Hair Loss Among Men: A Multinational European Study (2015, December) from
3Mental Health Awareness is on the Rise But Access to Professionals Remains Dismal (2019, May 22nd), from
4Wayne Rooney’s Twitter Account (2011, June 4), from
5Actor reveals he’s had 5 hair transplant surgeries, shows off scar (2020, May 25th), from
7Health Transplant Market Share Forecast 2025 (2019, November), from

What to do next?

To learn more about your hair restoration options and the average hair transplant timeline, The Complete Book on Hair Restoration, to see how great your hair can look. If you’re ready to do something about that bald spot or thinning hair now, schedule a FREE in-person or video consultation with a trained Bosley hair restoration specialist. Together with a Bosley Physician, we can help you find out what’s causing your balding and what treatment solution is right for you.

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