“An A-list actor is bending his head to show me his balding pate. I now have a vantage point on something he, his agent and the makers of the Hollywood films he stars in want no one to see. His hair loss is not too bad: a spot in the crown, coupled with thinning at the temples – a scenario familiar to millions of men the world over. But I’m here to give him advice, on the quiet, about hair transplants.” Stevenson said.
Majority of Stevenson’s colleagues and friends only know that he is 37 years old, he live in Nottinghamshire with his 4-year old twins and his wife and he manage his business. Now, he wants to expose his other job as a hair-transplant guru.
He meets men around America, Europe and Britain to offer expert advices. Some of them are popular celebrities, afraid that their loss of hair could end their career in showbusiness.
Lately, he went to a soap opera star that had bad results after one hair transplant. The star went to America for another secret surgery. Stevenson also met an American actor, famous for a successful US series.
But the greater part of his work is advising average men like him. Not too long ago, he helped Morgan Spurlock from “Super Size Me Fame” with Mansome, his newest documentary, an exploration of the booming male-grooming sensation.
Between year 2002 and 2006, Britain’s market alone tripled to an approximated value of £781,000,000. Sales of sun-care products, depilatories, body-toning gels and body lotions among men elevated by 77% during this period.
Men’s cosmetic surgery has experienced the same increase. However the most notable surge has been in the quantity of hair transplants. Last year, almost 300 thousand worldwide and 83% of them were men. This growth is in part a result of how frequent hair loss is. One-fourth of men begin to experience hair loss by the age of 30 and two-thirds by 60.
Hair transplants are also common in prominent celebrities like singer Jason Donovan, James Nesbitt, and football player Wayne Rooney. Nesbitt’s and Rooney’s are good examples of great hair coverage and natural-looking.
However, some rumored hair transplants are not quite good like Mel Gibson’s, Mickey Rourke’s and Nicolas Cage’s. Stevenson is recognized in the industry as Spex, a nickname in childhood which he used in online hair transplant forums. His blog that deals with male-pattern baldness treatments is one of the most reliable in the particular field. His second, hidden career occurred through nasty personal experience.
Stevenson started losing his hair at age 21 in 1997. He was dismayed because his brown locks mean everything to him which is part of his identity. He quickly lost his self-confidence and started to conceal the hair loss by shaving. However, people laughed at him saying that he looked like EastEnder’s Grand Mitchell.
After a couple of years, Stevenson considered to go travelling for 6 months because he was so conscious with his baldness that he wants to be with people who did not recognize him at all.
Year 2000 in New York, he was at the end of his trip watching Super Bowl on TV, commercial of the hair restoration clinic appeared. He then researched the clinic and called them when he got home. A couple of weeks later, he travelled for an appointment.
The clinic told Stevenson that they can restore all of his hair back with a treatment referred to as follicular-unit transplant or “strip” for short. A few months later, he travelled for the treatment. The treatment lasted 4 hours where they extracted a strip of skin that contains hair follicles at the back of his head and divided it into 3 or 4 hair clumps.
The dissected clumps or micro grafts were then transferred to the balding part of the head. He did not experience any pain because of a great local anesthetic used.
It was the most innovative solution at that time. The treatment cost him £6 thousand which his mother paid because he don’t have the money back then and his mother knew the depression he’s going through.
Right after his treatment, he thought the procedure was successful. There was swelling and redness, protected by bandages. After a few weeks, the swelling and redness finally diminished.
The transplant’s full effect requires months to appear, since a lot of the hairs fall out before growing back. But his hair wasn’t looking fine after 7 months. Since the hairs had been extracted in clumps, the hair did not totally cover the bald portions and his transplant is noticeable.
He called the clinic and they said they could resolve the issue, so he went back a few months later. The clinic extracted another 500 grafts of hair, extending the scar on the back of his head. Yet another 7 months later, the result was still patchy.
He had an additional 2 hair transplants at this same clinic in New York over the next 3 years. He was so naïve that he stayed in that same clinic. He spent a total of about £25 thousand.
After 4 treatments, he had a better hair coverage but not sufficient. Even though he is taking Propecia, his hairline still appeared unnatural. Most of the time, he is wearing a hat and sometimes use a hair-thickening powder known as Toppik.
In 2004, he met his future wife Natalie. At that time, when she attempted to touch his hair, he would drive her hand away. Luckily her girlfriend (now wife) said that his condition don’t matter to her. But still, Stevenson’s low self-esteem is not yet over.
He began posting his hair loss experiences in internet forums, cautioning people regarding the risks involved. He kept conversing with Dr. Allan Feller, a surgeon.
He made a decision to contact Dr. Feller. The Dr. was pioneering follicular-unit extraction (individual hair follicles are extracted from the sides or back of the head and placed independently or in tiny groups for a more natural look) and is also based in New York. Dr. Feller checked his hairline and promised to resolve the problem. To his tremendous relief, the doctor even filled the scar on the back of his head.
The treatment cost him around £8 thousand this time and took 8 hours to finish.
In 2008, Stevenson made a blog providing assistance about hair transplants. Dr. Feller then requested him to become a paid adviser for him. Stevenson is required to recommend Dr. Feller and meet sufferers and show them his hairline.
Soon, Stevenson received dozens of email from men, advising and meeting 3 or 4 of them a week. His main advice to everyone is to not hurry into it and make a ton of research.
Stevenson mentioned that there are lots of companies exploiting other people to take a large amount of money from susceptible guys and many clinics are deceitful by showing before and after pictures that are not real. He also said that the simplest way of distinguishing it is by the difference between the lighting and angle of the pictures.
“Also, do not be swayed by offers – if they’re offering ‘special deals’, run a mile. If they suddenly have a cancellation, don’t take it. These are all signs that they need your business more than you need their service.” Stevenson added.
He also suggested to see former patients and don’t hesitate to ask questions and inspect their hair. When Stevenson meet men, they can touch his hair and he even wet it in front of them and comb it. In his experience, North American surgeons are at present the best surgeons, so be ready to travel.
Don’t expect that all of your hair to be as normal as before if you have the severe case of hair loss or if you are totally bald because hair transplant requires extracting hair follicles from the remaining healthy ones in your head.
According to Stevenson, “Many men ask what proportion of transplants succeed or fail, but it isn’t that transplanting hairs doesn’t work, or the hairs fall out. It’s more that men either aren’t satisfied or the transplant doesn’t fill the bald patch completely, or naturally.”
He said that before you even think about hair transplant, consider applying Minoxidil or using Propecia for a minimum of 6 months first, to prevent additional hair loss and make the existing hair stronger.
Finally, Stevenson is very happy and satisfied with his hair after 10 years. He wants everyone to experience the feeling he feels right now by going into hair transplant surgery equipped with facts. If you are one of the politicians, sportsmen or celebrities he have advised, you can calm down because he promised not to expose all of your hairline secrets.
If you want to get in touch with Spex and have his expert advice, you can visit his website: Spex.com