While the causes of hair loss are numerous and beyond the scope of this website, there are several anatomical variables affecting Asian hair that may be of interest to people of East and South Asian descent who are considering hair transplant replacement.
While individual Asian hairs may be thicker in diameter and thus give the appearance of fuller hair, the density of hair follicles (number of hair follicles per given area) is actually less than in the Occidental. This is true not only on the scalp but also over the rest of the body.
Scalp hair distribution (shape) varies as well, with a longer, flatter hairline in the front that then rounds more noticeably along the sides of an often wider underlying skull.
Although Asian hair replacement surgery is similar to hair restoration in non-Asians, several other differences can make treatment challenging:
• In Asian men and particularly women, scalp hair loss tends to be more diffuse resulting in thinning over wider areas of the scalp (diffuse alopecia).
• The typical straighter black hair contrasted against underlying pale skin makes hair transplant surgery less forgiving. Individual hair orientation tends to have a lower angle, which if not recreated may look unnatural.
• Because hair follicle density is lower, there are less available donor hairs that can be harvested for transplantation to other areas, a feature that may present limitation in treating more advanced cases.
• The chance of keloid formation is felt by some surgeons to be higher, which may present a special consideration in patients prone to more exaggerated scarring.
Eyebrow hair is often sparse in patients of Asian descent due both to genetic factors as well as the cultural practice of more aggressive shaping of the brows by plucking. Because of the flat angle and precise orientation of brow hairs, brow hair transplantation is more difficult. While brow tattoos can help to camouflage hair loss, they look more natural if there is at least some hair overlying the colored area.
Eyelash transplantation appears to be a fad that has run its course, especially since the introduction of pharmaceuticals that can stimulate the growth of thicker and longer lashes with very little risk.
Some East Asian women are concerned by their lack of development or gradual loss of noticeable pubic hair. Pubic hair transplant surgery can help to address this issue.
Because hair restoration surgery is so different from other operations, hair transplantation is less commonly offered by general plastic surgeons. The most skilled practitioners tend to be cosmetic dermatological surgeons who specialize in this treatment and amass a great deal of experience.
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