Hair Today Gone Tomorrow Back Again Soon.. But Can You Tell?

Lorna Jackson
By Lorna Jackson

Lorna was Editor of Consulting Room (, the UK's largest aesthetic information website, from 2003 to 2021.

Hair loss can have a significant impact on a person’s social life and work relationships in terms of the psychological impact it can have on their self-esteem, self-image and confidence in the wider world.

Men in particular can be very sensitive to the issue of hair loss, particularly when it happens below the age of 40 due to the perceived association of a full head of hair with a man’s virility. Similarly, hair loss in women can be extremely debilitating as unlike men, women tend not to have short or shaved heads as a general style so a female sufferer is likely to encounter a lot more stares in the street. High-profile cases of alopecia, such as Gail Porter may have gone some way to breaking down the barriers to balding women.

According to the International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery (ISHRS) it is estimated that over 35 million American men suffer from male pattern baldness; add to that all the men in the UK, Europe and the rest of the world, plus all the women and those who suffer from other forms of alopecia and we can see that hair loss and the drugs and replacement surgeries are big business.

Gone are the days of ill-fitting wigs, perched on toupees and hair transplant ‘plugs’ that made a hairline look like a row of ready-to-harvest carrots! Nowadays, new technologies and new techniques involving single follicular hair grafts leave a more natural and permanent look which has led people to question – can you really tell if someone has had a hair transplant operation?

This question is exactly what the ISHRS want an answer to, so they have launched the ‘Hair Transplant Challenge’ on their website which runs from March to August 2010.

The online survey is designed to test the ability of the average member of the public to correctly identify hair transplant patients mixed in with decoys and to gauge their opinions on hair loss, hair restoration and even identifying the celebrities they consider have the best hair! The ISHRS aim to illustrate how difficult it can be these days to detect a hair transplant patient from those who have not been treated for hair loss.

Well, I love a challenge so let’s give it a go... one out of two isn’t bad but I did have to look very carefully! Why not give it a go and help the ISHRS gather some all-important data.

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