Festive baubles could make your beard fall out, surgeon warns hipsters
Poundland is selling Christmas beard baubles for just a quid, but prolonged use could cause alopecia
But now one expert, surgeon Christopher Inglefield, has cautioned that such attachments have the potential to cause ‘alopecia of the beard’ – if you overdo it. Mr Inglefield, founder of the London Bridge Plastic Surgery and Aesthetic Clinic, says the phenomena is down to a condition called traction alopecia.
He says: “Whenever you pull hair back from the skin with excessive tension over a prolonged period of time, it can cause inflammation of the area and trauma to the hair follicles. You often see it with people who tie their long back to play sport, or when patients have heavy dreadlocks. And the same principal applies to a man’s beard, too.
“If you’re always pulling and twisting your beard, do it often enough and you could cause the hair to fall out.
“And if you’re jumping on the Christmas beard bauble bandwagon you need to make sure the baubles aren’t too heavy, and that you’re not wearing them for a prolonged period of time, otherwise you might end up with bald spots in your facial hair!”
Mr Inglefield, who offers hair loss treatments including hairline lowering surgery as well as a procedure where ‘adipose’ is extracted from a patient’s fat and then injected into the hair follicles in order to stimulate growth – adds: “At the risk of sounding like a Christmas Grinch, if you can feel a bauble pulling at your facial skin, it’s too heavy.”
Leading hair transplant surgeon Dr Bessam Farjo says that while traction alopecia can affect beards, wearing baubles on your beard ‘for a day or two will not cause any damage’.
Dr Farjo, of the Farjo Hair Institute, adds: “If you’re wearing something heavy on your beard for weeks and months on end, then yes, you could end up with traction alopecia.
If you tie your beard into a tight ponytail for a prolonged period of time, that might also result in hair loss. But unless you really overdo it, you shouldn’t need to worry.
“It’s with persistent, long term, very tight pulling where traction alopecia manifests. Typically, if you inadvertently cause trauma to your hair, it’ll still remain in what’s called the ‘anagen’ growth phase.
“But if you put a hair under excessive traction for a long period of time, the hair quickly reverts to the ‘telogen’ phase, where the hair is released and falls out.”
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The trend for facial fluff has been booming since the early 2010s. YouGov stats, revealed in August last year, showed 42 per cent of British men sported some form of facial hair, a 5 per cent rise since 2012.
But it’s also estimated that around 13 per cent of British men – 2.6million – struggle to grow a beard.
One of those is celebrity Kyle Christie, from MTV’s Geordie Shore, who spent £9,000 on a beard transplant last year to fill-out his ‘sparse stubble’.
You could also suffer with the condition ‘Alopecia barbae’, seen as small hairless patches in the beard.
The main surgery options for beard and moustache transplantation include strip follicular unit transplantation – aka ‘Strip FUT’ where a thin strip of hair-bearing scalp skin is removed and replanted in the face – and follicular unit extraction – aka ‘FUE’ and where individual hair follicle grafts are removed from the donor area and then transplanted to the recipient area.
Last year The International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery (ISHRS) reported a whopping 101 per cent increase in beard or moustache transplants since 2014, with around 6,000 procedures taking place in the UK each year.
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