Mustache Hair Transplants
Hair transplantation techniques have evolved, and it is now possible to successfully perform any type of hair transplantation in the facial area.
In recent years, the mustache transplant, among other facial transplantation procedures, has become a popular trend to improve the appearance and highlight the masculine characteristics of men’s faces. This procedure is performed for many esthetic reasons, and it nowadays offers natural-looking results even for the patchiest of inner city hipsters.
Mustache transplantation is pretty similar to a standard hair transplant procedure. However, it is much more sensitive as it takes place in the face. Therefore, several important considerations before surgery include the costs, risks, and side effects.
What is a mustache transplant?
Having bold and thick mustaches represents a powerful symbol of masculinity and maturity in men. However, some men suffer a mustache hair loss or are genetically predisposed to absent or thin mustache hair.
Injuries, trauma to the face, and other causes resulting in scarring may lead to less hair growth or hair loss in the mustache area. Mustache hair loss causes not merely appearance issues for men but might also generate mental issues.
The mustache transplantation represents a lifetime solution for these problems. The procedure includes transferring the hair follicles from the donor area and their implantation into the mustache area. The surgery itself lasts few hours, typically between 3 and 4 hours, depending on the number of grafts required for the desired results. The procedure itself is very similar to a standard hair transplant procedure, and is a subset of the beard transplant. It gives the best results in patients over 20 years of age.
What makes this transplant procedure special is that mustache transplantation is a delicate procedure and demands the uttermost care. However, compared with the other hair transplant procedures on the scalp, the healing process is faster.
In terms of historical data, it seems like the mustache transplantation is pretty old. The false mustaches first existed in Ancient Egypt. In the UK, the mustaches became a fashion symbol during the reign of Queen Elizabeth. By the technique development and advancement over time, mustaches can be transplanted in many areas of the world, using the state-of-the-art techniques of hair transplantation.
As this is the face region and the procedure is rather delicate and challenging, it is highly important for it to be performed by an experienced and licensed plastic surgeon. Only the natural-looking and scar-free treatment results will regain confidence in men. Therefore, the surgeon’s choice is one of the most important steps in opting for mustache transplantation.
Characteristics of mustache hair loss
Mustache hairs grow just like the hair elsewhere, on the scalp, from the hair follicles in the skin. While some men will have full and thick mustaches, others will grow thin or sparse hair in this area. Many causes exist for mustache hair loss or thinning. Once the underlying cause is properly addressed, your facial hair will most likely grow back.
Cancer and cancer treatment, including chemo- and radiotherapy, may lead to general hair loss, and therefore may cause mustache hair loss as well.
Alopecia areata universalis represents an autoimmune disease that causes hair loss on both the scalp and whole body, including face and mustache hair. However, certain medications may reduce the immune reaction in the hair follicles, allowing them to regain the proper function and grow hair. Furthermore, mustache hair loss may occur as a part of alopecia barbae, in which the bald patches appear in a small circular pattern in the mustache area, in addition to the beard area.
Ringworm disease may also lead to mustache hair loss, in which the hair sheds at certain time intervals.
Mustache sores are the deep sores damaging the hair follicles in the mustache area. If these deep wounds are not treated timely, the disease can cause damage to the hair follicles in the mustaches and the patient’s general health, as well.
Low testosterone levels due to any reason may make you lose mustache hairs, or you may become unable to grow facial hair at all.
Inflammation in the upper lip and infections in the mustache area may also result in mustache hair loss, as these may lead to the hair follicle disappearance.
Psoriasis may also damage mustache hair roots and result in the complete loss of hair in this area.
Any facial trauma, injury, or scarring could cause facial hair loss, including mustaches.
In the end, of course, genetics plays its role in the mustache absence as well. If your father or grandfather was not able to grow mustaches, or they were patchy or thin, it is likely that you will have the same problem as well.
As for any other hair loss, the treatment depends on the underlying cause. The options vary from non-surgical to surgical ones. Non-surgical primarily involve various types of medications, creams, and oils. In the first place,
Minidoxil is usually recommended if the causes are not hormonal or inflammatory. In these cases, hormonal replacement or anti-inflammatory medications are prescribed. Additionally, biotin creams can be recommended to promote natural hair growth and support hair follicles. Various types of beard balms, oils, hair growth shampoos, and vitamins and supplements can be found on the market nowadays. Many men try some of those options. Dietary changes may also be helpful.
Nowadays, patients are offered platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections which promote hair re-growth, stimulating the hair follicles. PRP treatment includes growth factors that can help in mustache hair restoration. This is a minimally invasive, non-surgical procedure, but although it sounds really attractive, it usually does not provide long-term results.
Micropigmentation is also an option in mustache hair loss. Mustache micropigmentation is basically the same procedure as scalp micropigmentation procedures. The pigment is planted on the mustache area, providing a topical effect. However, this procedure is performed on patients who wish to keep the size of their mustache at very short levels, and this is its major drawback. Since it is a tatto, it is also makes a mustache permanent which in the long run may be a significant drawback if you want a new look.
The only permanent, lifelong solution is mustache hair transplantation. This can be performed as the FUE (follicular unit extraction), FUT (follicular unit transplantation), or DHI (direct hair implant) procedure.
Usually, the FUE technique is preferred because of the minimal discomfort, no incisions, sutures, or linear scars. Furthermore, it is the least invasive transplant procedure for mustache hair loss, providing more natural-looking outcomes and the fastest recovery time. The basic principles of the FUE procedure are practically the same as for scalp hair transplantation. The hair grafts are being extracted from the donor area, usually from the back of the scalp. These grafts are then transferred to the bald portions of the mustache area. As the donor area has an abundant amount of hair follicles, most of the bald patches on the mustache can be covered and treated in a single session. Therefore, mustache hair transplant surgery most commonly has very satisfying results.
The primary donor area for mustache hair transplantation is the back of the scalp (occipital area), followed by the sides of the scalp (lateral areas).
These areas do not undergo balding, and they usually have a sufficient amount of hair follicles for transplantation. Furthermore, the scalp hair is naturally thick enough to be transplanted to the mustache area. The color and thickness of the donor’s hair are important, as they will be transplanted into the face.
Another potential donor area for the mustache hair transplant is the beard hair itself, harvested from under the jawline. In terms of physical characteristics, this is the ideal hair for the mustache. However, this area has a limited amount of hair follicles.
It is practically impossible to predict a precise price for the mustache hair transplant because there are many factors affecting the total cost.
You should be familiar with the approximate costs during the planning of the procedure when the surgeon determines the number of hair grafts required, the technique that is going to be used, and the donor area. Furthermore, at this time, you will have chosen your clinic, which also affects the price, as different clinics, cities, and countries have different prices for the same procedure.
In the UK, the approximate price for the mustache hair transplant may range from £1500 to £2500. High costs of mustache hair transplant in the UK make men opt for the alternatives, such as – Turkey. In Turkey, you can have a high-quality mustache transplant for more affordable costs. You will pay from £800 to £1200 for the same procedure in Turkey. In the end, this surgery is not covered by NHS, as it is a cosmetic procedure.
Surgery in the UK vs. Turkey
No specific differences exist between the surgery in the UK and Turkey, besides the costs and need to travel.
The mustache transplantation is performed as a one-day procedure, under local anesthesia, using one of the abovementioned techniques: FUE, DHI, or FUT. The hair follicles are being obtained from the donor area and implanted into the mustache area.
You can find a good surgeon in both the UK and Turkey, as well as a specialized and reliable center. Although the costs for the mustache transplant procedure seem higher in the UK, you have to consider the additional costs, including the travel costs – plane tickets, accommodation, travel insurance, sick leave, and many more potential costs. In case of any postoperative complication, you would have to fly back to Turkey and again have all these costs.
Furthermore, the costs should be the last consideration. Far more important than the price differences is to be sure your hair grafts are harvested and implanted safely and comfortably. Therefore, it is best to choose a reliable specialist, whether in the UK or Turkey. Furthermore, a reliable and experienced clinic with capable surgeons is the only thing directly affecting the results.
Risks and considerations
Like any other hair transplant surgery, the mustache transplant carries certain risks. You should be aware of the potential darkening (post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation) in the mustache zone, mainly if you have darker skin. Sometimes a depigmentation treatment is required.
The skin lightening (hypopigmentation) may also occur in the donor area, precisely the scar from where the grafts were extracted, especially if you have darker skin. So, if the donor area is the beard, the grafts are obtained from under the jawline.
Another complication is caused by the wrong direction or angle of the hair grafts during implantation, resulting in unnatural looks.
Infection, or folliculitis, is an additional potential complication in the mustache area. Small bumps or cobblestones may also form in the skin around the hair grafts. Scarring may occur in the donor area, as well as numbness, loss of sensation, pain, and bleeding.
Therefore, before you decide to undergo mustache hair transplantation, you should consider all these risks. In any case, if the surgery results are not satisfying, you may always perform corrective surgery to meet your expectations.
Mustache transplant timeline
The period after mustache hair transplant procedure from the initial consultation to full recovery may require around 10-14 months. We will briefly present you the timeline of the whole process below:
• Week 1 – 2 before the procedure: You will choose the clinic and the surgeon who will perform the transplantation. You should discuss the whole procedure with your doctor. If this meeting met your expectations, you would arrange your surgery date.
• The surgery itself 3-4 hours.
• Day 1-3 following the surgery: You can return to your everyday activities. Some bruising is considered normal at this time, as well as the crusting in the hair roots. You should not wash your face during the first 72 hours following the surgery.
• Week 2-3: You will witness some hair fall of the transplanted hairs.
• Month 2-3: Hair will start to slowly re-grow.
• Months 4-8: The hair roots completely hold on to the skin, and considerable hair growth is noticeable. The hair continues to grow.
• Month 10-14: The final results are visible.
Results and aftercare
During the process of new hair growth, which can take up to 14 months, it is important to stay patient. To ensure the best possible results as soon as possible, you should follow some simple aftercare tips.
For example, you will be strictly forbidden to cut or shave the mustache hairs during the first ten days after the surgery. You will be able and allowed to cut your mustache hairs after two weeks, approximately, using only scissors. The use of razor blades or shavers is still not allowed until about five months after the surgery. Furthermore, you will be advised to avoid smoking and alcohol consumption for at least a few weeks. The use of any of these will adversely affect the recovery process.