Kirk Peffer, 39, started noticeably losing his hair in his late twenties.
“It was just like a slow, gradual decline to a point where you’re like, ‘Man, I really wish I could do something about this,’” says the on-air jockey for 94.5 Bay FM in San Jose, CA. “For the longest time I kind of defined myself by my hair, and so losing it was a blow to me as a person, or at least, my confidence.”
Male-pattern baldness impacts an estimated 50 million men in the United States, and more and more men like Peffer are turning to surgical procedures to fix it. Surgical hair restoration procedures have increased 60% worldwide from 2014 to 2017, according to the International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery. Many public figures have undergone hair transplant procedures, and spoken publicly about them too, from singer Joey Fatone to footballer Wayne Rooney to actor Jon Cryer. And for those who haven’t been paying attention, hair transplant technology has greatly improved since the days of hair plugs.
“Everyone can remember those very early transplants featuring Elton John 30 years ago where the transplanted hair looked completely artificial — like the hair on a doll.”
“Everyone can remember those very early transplants featuring Elton John 30 years ago where the transplanted hair looked completely artificial — like the hair on a doll,” says U.K.-based hair transplant specialist Dr. Asim Shahmalak. “That ended many years ago, and good hair transplantation these days looks completely natural and blends perfectly with the existing natural hair.”
After some internet sleuthing, Peffer became interested in one method called a Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE). “I did a lot of YouTube [viewing] to understand what the process was,” he says. “It looks natural. I became excited about it.”
FUE and Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT) are the two most prominent modern hair transplant procedures. FUE involves cutting the person’s hair to a buzz cut, then “harvesting” thousands of individual…