Health & Lifestyle

Model Paul Knops had a £5,000 hair transplant even though he wasn’t going bald… along with thousands who have had the operation just because they don’t like their hairline

It would be fair to say that model Paul Knops is genetically blessed in the looks department. Despite this, there was one aspect of the 37-year-old’s appearance that he ‘wasn’t ever happy with’: his hairline.

He was conscious of his ‘widow’s peak’ and his modelling agency would insist that he brush his hair forward – which made him even more paranoid.

Paul, who lives in London, adds: ‘I was lucky in that I haven’t receded or lost hair, but I had a widow’s peak all my life. We all have insecurities and that was mine.’

In November 2020 he underwent a hair transplant – not because he was going bald but simply to change the way his hairline looked.

Today Paul, who has not had any other cosmetic procedures, is delighted with the results.

London-based model Paul Knops underwent surgery to straighten his widow's peak (before)

Paul Knops after getting a hair transplant to straighten his widow's peak

A CUT ABOVE: London-based model Paul Knops underwent surgery to straighten his widow’s peak (before left; after right)

He says: ‘During my initial consultation, the surgeon drew my new hairline on to my scalp with a pen. I instantly knew it looked right.

‘Although it’s a minor procedure and one most people would say isn’t necessary, it was important to me. I have never looked back. It’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.’

The popularity of hair-transplant procedures – which typically involve surgically removing individual hair follicles from the back of the head and grafting them elsewhere in the scalp – has boomed in recent years.

While an exact figure for the number of UK operations isn’t clear, the International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery says more than 112,000 hair transplants were carried out in Europe alone in 2021.

And many UK clinics saw a sharp rise in demand during the Covid pandemic as people recovered in the privacy of their homes while the awkward wounds healed.

Now one of Britain’s top hair-transplant hospitals is reporting a surprising trend: using the procedures to ‘optimise’ looks rather than to combat thinning.

Experts at London’s Wimpole Clinic say up to a third of its patients, such as Paul, do so for this reason. Many, they add, are in their 20s.

The clinic’s lead surgeon, Dr Kieran Dayah, says: ‘We’ve noticed a real change in the market. Ten years ago it was about restoring hair where it was balding. Now it’s about optimising – an enhancement rather than a solution for hair-loss.’

The most popular surgery for this is on the hairline. ‘Many patients want to round off the temples in order to get rid of a widow’s peak,’ Dr Dayah explains. ‘But some might want fuller, thicker hair all over and we can offer this, too.’

Patients are proposed a form of follicular unit extraction. During the painstaking procedure, which can take up to eight hours, patients are first given anaesthetic injections into the scalp.

Tiny incisions are made in the area that the hair is being transplanted to, then individual hair follicles are taken from the back of the head and, one-by-one, grafted into their new position.

‘We’ve studied natural hairlines in order to replicate them,’ says Dr Dayah. ‘Irregularities are crucial at the front as natural hairlines are never perfect. There’s an amount of artistry to it.’

NO PAIN, NO GAIN: Doctors graft the hair follicles on to the scalp of model Paul Knops

NO PAIN, NO GAIN: Doctors graft the hair follicles on to the scalp of model Paul Knops

Once complete the back of the head is bandaged for two weeks, but the transplant site is left uncovered to avoid pressure on the grafts which would damage them. Patients are also advised to spray a saline solution to prevent scabs marring the surgeon’s work.

Dr Dayah believes social media has partly inspired the new trend. ‘There’s a generation who want to look good on camera all the time, and having a strong hairline is part of that,’ he says.

Hair-loss affects about two thirds of men and up to 40 per cent of women. It is usually the result of both genetics and the hormone dihydrotestosterone, which can bind to and weaken follicles.

Paul says the procedure was straightforward. ‘The anaesthetic injections feel like bee stings but after that your scalp is numb and you can’t feel a thing,’ he says.

‘I wasn’t anxious at all – more excited that I was finally going to get it done. It was completed around the lockdowns, which gave me a window to relax.

‘I’m much more confident with my hair, so much so I have grown it long and wear it back,’ he adds. ‘When I look in the mirror I am much happier knowing it’s something I no longer need to think about.’

  • Hair transplants at the Wimpole Clinic start from £4,500. Procedures at its VIP sister facility, the Mayfair Hair Clinic, start from £12,000 (wimpoleclinic.com).


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