People of all ethnic backgrounds may lose their hair, making hair transplantation a popular procedure among a wide range of demographics. The same is true for beard transplants. Men of all races and ethnic backgrounds may struggle to grow a beard.
Facial hair transplantation or beard transplantation is an effective procedure that can create natural-looking facial hair using the patient’s own living hair follicles. The follicles are carefully placed and will continue to grow permanently in their new locations. Men often feel much more confident and masculine after getting a beard transplant.
It’s important to understand that everyone’s experience with facial hair transplantation is different. Your ethnic background may contribute to how the procedure is performed and how the grafts look once they are placed. Your hair transplant surgeon should know not only beard transplant techniques but specifically ethnic facial hair transplantation.
Facial Hair Transplantation Basics
Today, there are two major facial hair transplantation techniques: FUE (Follicular Unit Extraction) and FUT (Follicular Unit Transplantation). The hair is typically taken from the back or sides of the scalp, as these areas are typically unaffected by hair loss in men.
During an FUE procedure, each small group of follicles is harvested individually, from all over the donor area. A small tool, such as a drill, is used to remove the follicles, meaning that only tiny scars are created during the harvest process. This reduces the recovery time from the procedure and also eliminates visible scarring, empowering patients to wear their hair however they’d like.
The FUT technique is more traditional but less popular for modern transplantation procedures. A strip of hair follicles is taken from the donor areas, leaving a long linear scar. The follicle groups are then separated before they are placed into the beard area.
After the follicles are harvested, the surgeon makes tiny incisions in the beard area and places the grafts. They must angle the hair for natural-looking hair growth, making this a painstaking and time-consuming procedure. Once the area heals and the follicles recover from the grafting process, beard growth will occur and continue long-term.
Recovery after the procedure is minimal when the more popular FUE technique is used. Patients can get back to their daily routines almost immediately with no stitches and few activity restrictions. Ethnic facial hair transplants are outpatient procedures that do not require general anesthesia.
About Ethnic Beard Transplants
We live in a diverse society and it’s so important for plastic surgeons and hair transplant surgeons to avoid cookie-cutter techniques for cosmetic procedures that are designed for white patients. Ethnic beard transplants are no exception. There are some special considerations surgeons need to take when performing these procedures to ensure that patients get the best possible outcome.
Surgeons performing ethnic beard transplants must take many different factors into account when planning the procedure, including the differences in hair types, the potential for scarring, and cultural trends. Communication between the surgeon and patient is key for success, as hair transplantation of any kind is a highly customized procedure.
Ignoring these differences leads to disappointing results. If you are interested in an ethnic facial hair transplant, it’s a good idea to get familiar with the procedure so you can choose the right surgeon and set yourself up for a successful surgery.
Ethnic Hair Differences
Although the beard transplant process is generally the same for all patients, different ethnic hair types can make a big difference in the way the surgeon approaches the procedure. Three major hair types have been identified:
Each of these hair types differs in the shape of the hair follicles. Asian hair follicles are round, African follicles are oval, and Caucasian follicles are egg-shaped. The shape of the follicle influences the shape of the hair.
The keratin in the hair is no different among the three different hair types. But because the shape of the follicle affects the appearance and texture of the hair, it can influence how a hair transplantation procedure should be performed.
All three hair types also have variations in the number of follicles in each follicular unit. A follicular unit is a group of 1-4 hairs growing inside a protective structure. A surgeon extracts these groups and places them to restore the hair or beard.
Although any hair type can create follicle groups of up to 4 hairs, certain hair types are more likely to form larger or smaller groups. Asian hair, for instance, is more likely to grow in single hair follicle groups, which can increase the procedure time overall. Large follicle groups containing 3-4 hairs are usually split to fit into the tiny incisions made in the beard area.
Facial Hair Transplant Considerations For Ethnic Groups
African-American Beard Transplants
Although African-type hair is slower-growing and generally less dense than most other hair types, its kinky texture can create the illusion of extra density. Therefore, you may need fewer grafts to achieve your goals than patients with other hair types.
Your surgeon must understand the differences involved in transplanting African hair from Asian or Caucasian patients. The hair is more prone to breakage and must be handled with extra care.
African hair can also change direction underneath the skin, requiring the surgeon to take extra care in harvesting follicular units. Surgeons who use a manual drill tool to harvest FUE grafts generally get better results overall for African-American patients.
East Asian Beard Transplants
Skin contrast makes a difference for Asian patients. The surgeon needs to understand that because most patients of East Asian descent have lighter skin and darker hair, that it can be more difficult to achieve the patient’s desired beard density.
The punch technique may also require a different approach, due to the depth of the grafts. However, the FUE technique is preferable for East Asian patients as the linear scar from a FUG procedure is often more visible under this hair type. The grafts will be fast-growing but may be less likely to survive if they are not placed quickly.
Surgeons have to understand all of these factors when creating a new facial hair pattern for East Asian patients. They must be precise in placing the hairs to achieve a natural appearance since the contrast between the skin and hair is typically so high.
South Asian/Indian Transplants
South Asian patients with darker skin can generally get more fullness in the beard from fewer grafts as opposed to East Asian patients because the contrast between the hair and skin is not as dramatic. However, there are still special considerations for South Asian beard transplants.
Many Indian and other South Asian patients want a very full beard for aesthetic and/or cultural reasons. It’s important for the surgeon to set expectations for the number of grafts available and to ensure that patients understand the tradeoffs of using a large number of available follicles in a beard transplant (those hairs will not be available later on for hair restoration).
For South Asian patients, the quality of the grafts can also be an issue. For reasons that are not understood, some patients have “mushy” grafts that are difficult for the surgeon to place. Bleeding risks are also higher, so patients and their surgeons must take precautions to prevent complications.
General Tips For Your Ethnic Beard Transplant
Although beard transplants are minimally invasive when the FUE technique is used, it’s still a big investment and requires you to use non-renewable hair follicles. So it’s important to set yourself up for success as much as you can. Here are some tips for reaching your facial hair goals.
Choose The Right Surgeon!
As a patient, you don’t have much control over the surgery itself. You’re not the one going in and grafting the hairs! You have to put a lot of trust in your surgeon to give you the results you want.
Choosing the right surgeon can be difficult, especially for an emerging procedure like beard transplantation. Finding a hair transplant surgeon with facial hair transplant experience is difficult enough. Finding one who really understands ethnic beard transplants and the need to customize procedures based on several different factors is even more difficult.
Experience matters. One of the most important things to consider is how often the surgeon performs facial hair transplants and how many men of different backgrounds they have worked with.
Before and after photos can give you a good idea of the kinds of results the surgeon can produce for patients. Take a look at the surgeon’s photo gallery and make sure the results are in line with your expectations. Individual results vary because each patient has different goals, but it’s important that you get familiar with the surgeon’s results before you book a consultation.
You should also do some research on surgeons’ credentials. Don’t just take it for granted that every surgeon has adequate training for hair and beard transplantation. Read more about each surgeon and what they’ve done to learn the cutting-edge techniques required for ethnic facial hair transplantation.
Choosing a surgeon is the most important decision you’ll make in this process, so take your time and be willing to travel. You might not be able to find a specialist locally, but it can be worth traveling elsewhere in the country to work with the best of the best. Don’t go with the cheapest or most convenient surgeon—you may end up regretting it.
Your expectations will be key in your satisfaction with the results of the procedure. Looking at before and after photos and talking to hair transplant surgeons will help you to set your expectations and stay realistic about the procedure and your results.
Be honest with yourself. Do you have enough grafting material for the results you want? Will you want a hair transplant later on?
Asking yourself some tough questions before you start looking for a transplant surgeon is important. While you don’t have to know for sure if you want a beard transplant before your consultations, it will save you and any prospective surgeons time if you think about what you want and ensure that your goals are realistic.
Prepare For The Consultation
Most surgeons prefer to do in-person consultations with prospective patients, but that might not be possible for safety or distance reasons. Fortunately, plastic surgeons will typically offer virtual consultations if you’re unable to attend an in-person session. Virtual consultations are ideal for out-of-town beard transplant patients.
The consultation serves several purposes. It allows you to learn more about the treatment and your individual candidacy. It also allows the surgeon to get to know you and learn more about your goals so you can get on the same page.
Preparing for the consultation properly will allow you to make the most of it. You’ll need details about your medical history and a list of medications so the doctor can make sure it’s safe for you to undergo elective surgery.
You will also want to be pretty clear on your goals before the consultation to ensure that the surgeon can design a treatment plan to suit your needs. Bring example photos, if possible. Communication is key for feeling comfortable with your surgeon and getting the best possible outcome.
Finally, you should make a list of questions ahead of time. It’s easy to freeze up and forget what you wanted to ask. It’s important to get all of your questions and concerns addressed so you can move forward with confidence.
Don’t Be Shy
It’s important not to hold back about what you want when you’re discussing the procedure with hair transplant surgeons. You need to be honest about what you want and what you don’t.
You will work closely with your surgeon to design your ideal facial hair pattern. Your satisfaction is the most important goal, so make sure you and your surgeon are on the same page and don’t be afraid to ask questions.
Depending on your age, you might need to think about the future a bit before you focus on getting a beard transplant in the future.
You only have a certain number of hair follicles available for grafting, whether you need additional follicles to fill in facial hair or areas of hair loss. If there is a pattern of male pattern baldness in your family and you’re still young, think about whether you might want a hair transplant later. If you do, you might want to adjust your facial hair transplant goals to save some grafts for future hair restoration.
Your surgeon needs to evaluate the number of grafts that will be available based on the hair on your scalp. Facial hair patterns like a full beard require a large number of follicles. If you think you might need hair restoration later, based on your family history of hair loss, be sure to mention that.
That depends on the density of your natural facial hair and the type of beard you want. The number of grafts needed can vary quite a bit depending on your hair type and ethnic background, but here are a few rough estimates:
• Mustache: 250-450
• Goatee with a mustache: 450-750
• Sideburns: 500-700 total
• Cheek beard: 600-1300 total
If you’ve never had any kind of transplant before, you may have several thousand grafts available, but you will never gain more in your lifetime. Talk with your surgeon about approximately how many are available and what you might need for each procedure you’re interested in getting.
Keloid scarring (scar tissue that expands beyond the borders of the original wound) is particularly common in African-American patients and may be a cause for concern following the surgery. However, patients who get an FUE transplant are less likely to experience keloid scarring than FUT patients.
It’s important to note that keloids can occur in any patient. It is a rare risk that should be discussed during the consultation. Most patients find that the risk of developing keloids is overshadowed by the great results they can get from a beard transplant.
Absolutely. Some experienced hair transplant surgeons will use the FUE technique for nearly all African-American patients. This is because the low density of the hair may reveal the scar from a FUG procedure more, causing an aesthetic issue with shorter hairstyles.
FUE beard transplant procedures are better for African-American patients as a whole, but it is crucial to find an experienced surgeon. African hair changes direction frequently, which can make extracting the grafts successfully more difficult.
Not necessarily. A lot of different factors go into how long the procedure takes, but the patient’s race or ethnicity isn’t the most influential factor. The number of grafts will largely determine the procedure length.
Beard transplants are not quick procedures. It is a detailed surgery, with individual grafts needing placement at the proper angle. Generally, this procedure can take anywhere from 2 to 8 hours.
After hair follicles are grafted, they go into “shock” for a while. The grafted hair will fall out a couple of weeks after the surgery, which is perfectly normal. After a few months, the hair will start to grow again in its new location.
Depending on your individual hair growth rate and hair type, it might take a while to see your beard transplant results. Generally, Asian hair grows very quickly, while African hair takes longer to grow.
For some patients, full results can take as little as 6-12 months. For others, it can take up to 18 months.
The procedure itself should not cost more due to your race or ethnicity. The complexity of the surgery and the number of grafts should determine the cost. Beard transplants can get quite expensive, but it’s very important not to cut corners to save a little money. It’s better to pay more to work with an experienced and skilled surgeon than it is to take a gamble on someone who charges less.
About Dr. Anthony Bared
Dr. Anthony Bared is a beard transplant specialist, one of only a few in the nation. He has pioneered facial hair restoration techniques and performed many beard transplants for men from all walks of life. The beards Dr. Bared creates for patients look incredibly natural and help men put their best foot forward.
As a beard transplant expert, Dr. Bared has an in-depth understanding of how ethnic beard transplants should be performed. His patients are extremely diverse and have different cultural and personal expectations for the procedure. Dr. Bared works hard to ensure that each patient is thrilled with their beard transplant results.
Schedule Your Consultation
If you’d like to work with one of the world’s top ethnic beard transplant surgeons, then you might want to consider an in-person or virtual consultation with Dr. Anthony Bared. Dr. Bared can help you figure out if you’re a good candidate for the procedure and create the perfect treatment plan to suit your facial hair goals. To schedule an ethnic facial hair transplantation consultation in Miami, call 305-666-1774 today.