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Mainstreaming Hair Transplant Surgery: Have We Got There Yet?

UK comedian and TV personality, Jimmy Carr, has been very open about the hair transplant he got in 2020. That hasn’t stopped him from being on the receiving end of jokes and jibes about his new look. Carr is a standup comic with an acerbic style, so maybe it’s unsurprising that other TV celebs have taken the opportunity to exact a bit of revenge. But it isn’t just Carr that has had to put up with these kinds of comments. Former international footballer Pat Nevin admitted that he expected ‘plenty of abuse’ after revealing that he’d had a hair transplant.

What’s behind this sort of reaction? Are we still a long way off the point when hair restoration work is viewed similarly to dental treatment? Read on to find out more!

Bald Jokes

There is a long tradition of jokes about hair restoration work. Much of that goes back to an earlier era when the results were primitive and very noticeable. These days, however, hair transplant work involves sophisticated, hi-tech surgery, and the hair produced is as natural as any other strand on the client’s head. So, why the continued mockery? Perhaps it’s because the target of the joke isn’t so much the hair restoration work, but rather the baldness that necessitates the work in the first place.

The truth is that jokes about baldness are as old as time itself. Classical scholar Professor Mary Beard of Cambridge University has written a book about humour in the days of Ancient Rome. One of the things she uncovered was that the Romans found baldness funny. That strain of humour continues to this day. In 2019, Alopecia UK had to address the issue of bald jokes following complaints about a BBC presenter’s remarks about his bald colleagues.

The infamous Will Smith slap on Chris Rock at this year’s Oscars came about because the latter joked about Jada Pinkett-Smith’s alopecia. In one sense, however, the Chris Rock joke was an outlier; laughing at female hair loss is less common and undoubtedly less acceptable than laughter about male baldness. So, why are jokes about male baldness still considered acceptable in 2022?

‘Real Men’

In part, this kind of humour stems from an inaccurate, outdated view of what constitutes ‘real’ masculinity. From this old-school perspective, men are supposedly unconcerned about their physical appearance. Some male sports stars and fighters, indeed, wear their scars and cauliflower ears almost as a badge of honour. In this context, worrying about hair loss is viewed as unmanly.

If ever it was the case that men were oblivious to their appearance, things are changing. Sales of male grooming products continue to soar while take-up for cosmetic procedures, including hair restoration work, continues to rise year-on-year. Increasingly, men are prepared to admit that how they look matters to them.

The Beckham Effect

This change is tied up with the emergence of male actors, singers and sports stars who are prepared to be honest and admit that they care about their appearance. One standout example is former footballer David Beckham who has never been one to hide this side of his character. His love of fashion (remember the sarong?), his constantly changing hairstyles and his love of skin art blazed many trails and allowed other men to be more open about their own concerns.

Men’s attitudes to their hair are part of this new openness. Having seen so many celebrated men wearing bald or shaved heads with pride, some guys embrace their baldness, if that’s what they want to do. Equally, men who don’t wish to lose their hair have been empowered by the many male celebrities undergoing hair transplants and talking openly about it.

The ‘talking openly’ bit is important. Not only have celebrities been discussing the procedure itself, but they have also been honest about their reasons for choosing a transplant. Hearing successful individuals talk about how their confidence and self-esteem were shaken by their hair loss has resonated with Joe Public. It has helped banish some of the stigmas around the whole process and brought hair restoration into the healthcare mainstream. That process still has some way to go, but it’s getting there.


Whether you’re a man who chooses to embrace your baldness or someone who decides to have a hair transplant, the issue should not be worthy of comment. It should not be a subject for jokes any more than a visit to the dentist. Society has taken strides in that direction, but the journey isn’t over yet.

If you’re worried about hair loss or thinning, Vinci Hair Clinic should be your first port of call. We are one of the largest hair restoration organisations in the world with a network of clinics that provide an unrivalled range of treatments and procedures. What’s more, we offer all our new clients a free, no-obligation consultation. There’s never been a better time to book an appointment!