Hair loss can be a traumatic experience for anyone, but it can be especially difficult for those who have scars on their scalp. Tough enough to lose one’s hair, but for that loss to be compounded by visible scars resulting from accidents, burns or surgery? Well, as the song says, ain’t that a kick in the head. Whatever the cause of the scars, their visibility can have a profound impact on an individual’s self-confidence and capacity to live life to the full. All is not lost, however. Advances in hair restoration treatments are changing lives by hiding scars and restoring the confidence of those who carry them.
Read on to find out more!
Psychological Effects of Scarring
Visible scarring can have various psychological effects on individuals, including decreased self-esteem, anxiety, depression, and negative body image. This impact has been well documented in scientific studies. Researchers from the University of Maryland, for example, published work in 2018 in which they showed that people with scars ‘undergo a remodelling of their emotional state and are more prone to the development of depression and anxiety.’
The effect is particularly pronounced when those scars are highly visible. Scalp scarring made visible by hair loss would fall into this category. It should also be noted that some types of scarring aren’t just revealed by hair loss but are caused by it; cicatricial alopecia is a type of hair loss in which the hair follicles are destroyed by an infection, an autoimmune disorder, chemicals or burns. Permanent scarring is an inevitable consequence.
Transplanting hair onto scar tissue on the scalp poses several challenges for hair surgeons. As with any transplant, the relative size of the donor area and the scarred area to be covered are important factors, but there are other issues, too. Scar tissue is different from normal tissue because it lacks the necessary blood supply and elasticity, which can make it difficult for hair follicles to thrive and grow.
Scar tissue also creates an uneven surface on the scalp. Great skill is therefore required to implant hair follicles in a way that doesn’t look odd. It requires extra attention to detail and specialised techniques to create a natural-looking result.
Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE)
One of the most used hair transplant techniques for hiding scars is FUE surgery. It’s a minimally invasive procedure that involves harvesting individual hair follicles from the scalp and transplanting them to the affected area. The procedure is precise and can be customised to the patient’s individual needs.
The efficacy of FUE is confirmed by several studies. One piece of work undertaken in 2019 by Korean researchers looked at the treatment of scars caused by surgery. The researchers’ main finding was that follicular unit surgery could be an effective treatment for reasons ‘including relative safety, a high transplantation survival rate, and satisfactory postoperative results, even after a single session.’ More recently, Chinese clinicians concluded that follicular unit transplants were an effective and safe option for children with burn trauma and cicatricial alopecia.
Micro Scalp Pigmentation (MSP)
Hair transplants are not the only effective treatment for scalp scarring. MSP is another safe option for people unwilling or unable to undergo hair transplant surgery. MSP is a non-invasive procedure that involves tattooing the scalp with tiny dots of medical-grade pigment to mimic the appearance of hair follicles. The result is a natural, shaved head look that both looks great and hides scars..
The benefits these treatments offer go far beyond the physical appearance of the scalp. If hair loss and scalp scarring are sources of anxiety and low self-esteem for many people, hair restoration treatments can boost confidence and improve mental well-being.
In a study published in October 2022, Iranian researchers followed up on a group of thirty-five men with androgenetic alopecia (AGA) one year after they had undergone hair transplant surgery. They found a significant difference in the scores for anxiety, loneliness and depression between the ‘before and after’ situation of the study’s participants. Their findings confirmed the results of many other studies on the psychological effects of hair restoration treatment.
Hair restoration treatments are changing lives by hiding scars and restoring confidence in those who suffer from hair loss. Whether it’s FUE or MSP, these treatments not only provide camouflage for damaged scalps, but provide a great new look into the bargain.
If you’re concerned about visible scars on your scalp, or if you’re simply worried about hair loss, Vinci Hair Clinic is here to help. We are one of the world’s leading hair restoration organisations, with a network of clinics around the globe. Even better, we offer a free consultation to all our new clients. It can take place in person or over the phone using photographs, whatever suits you best. Get in touch and book an appointment today!