From the shaggy mountain man beard to the perfectly sculpted goatee, facial hair is everywhere these days—which can be frustrating for the many men out there who can’t grow a full beard.
But while in the past the unbearded simply had to accept their fate, these days, more and more bare-cheeked men are opting for beard transplant surgeries.
According to the New York Times, beard transplants have increased dramatically over the last few years. A decade ago, doctors like Miami’s Jeffrey S. Epstein performed approximately 10 surgeries a year. Nowadays, he's performing about three a week.
The surgery, which costs several thousand dollars, involves taking hair follicles from the back of the head, where hair is thickest, and transferring them to a patient’s face.
Though the increased popularity of the surgery is driven in part by contemporary fashion trends, advances in technology have also made hair transplants more appealing. In the past, doctors transplanted hair in 15 follicle clumps, giving the scalp a cobbled or patchy look. But nowadays, they’re able to transplant single hair follicles, which makes both scalp and beard transplants look much more natural.
Men get beard transplants for a variety of reasons. Jose Armos, a 28-year-old paramedic, told the New York Times he felt his patients found his youthful appearance unsettling: “They would look at me and be like, ‘O.K., is this 16-year-old really going to take care of me?'” Others choose to have the surgery for aesthetic reasons—they simply think having a beard looks cool. One 53-year-old university employee told the Times: “A lot of guys go through a midlife crisis and they buy the sports car … I just got a beard.”
[h/t: New York Times]