If you are worried about a receding hairline, don't go into hiding. Just follow in the footsteps of Bollywood actor Salman Khan or cricketer Virender Sehwag - get your crowning glory back through a hair transplant.
According to Amit Gupta of Delhi-based cosmetic centre Divine Cosmetic Surgery, hair transplantation is still at a growing stage in the country, but a 20-25 percent increase has been noticed in the number of people who avail themselves of the service.
"The trend of hair plantation has increased enormously. It has increased up to 20-25 percent. People have become very conscious and particular about their looks. The advancement in technology has made it all the more convincing," Gupta said.
Cricketer Sehwag reportedly went for a hair transplant because he feels one sells good when one looks good. But unlike Bollywood stars, he didn't fly abroad for the treatment. "People asked whether I got it done from Dubai or the US, but when they got to know it is happening in New Delhi they were very happy," he was quoted as saying.
Manoj Khanna, who introduced hair transplants in the country in 1995, says people hesitated when he brought the treatment here, but thanks to celebrities, it has become popular. "I was trained in 10 different cities all over the world like Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, Buffalo, Detroit, Miami, London, Paris, Birmingham and Singapore.
"When I brought this technology to India in 1995, it was in a nascent stage and people didn't know much about it. They had apprehensions," Khanna, who has centres in Delhi, Mumbai and Dubai, told IANS on phone from Kolkata where he is based.
"But there is a lot of awareness now about it as a lot of celebrities have got it done and hair transplantation has increased. Many of the cricket people have got it done from me - like Ravi Shastri, Arun Lal, Harsha Bhogle and Nikhil Chopra. Even Leander Paes' father, Vece Paes, has got it done," he added.
Gupta too gives credit to celebrities for popularising the treatment.
"The coming in of celebrities has increased the credibility of such surgery. When a person comes across names like Sehwag, Salman Khan, Himesh Reshammiya, Annu Malek, Ravi Shastri, Bhogle (who have all undergone hair transplantation), nobody dares to doubt the results. We get 15-20 cases a month and are expecting it to double in another two years' time," he said.
The commonest cause of baldness is genetic. Hair transplantation is a surgical technique that involves moving skin containing hair follicles from one part of the body (the donor site) to the bald or balding parts (the recipient site).
However, contrary to common perception, the treatment is not just limited to the scalp but is also used to restore the eyebrow, beard and moustache.
The clinical process is usually a one-day affair performed under local anaesthesia, and is a permanent solution to balding. After the surgery, it takes about a month's time for the hair to regrow.
The transplantation techniques have advanced so as to ensure no pain or scars and that is also one reason why people are lapping it up. While we thought women were more conscious about their looks, experts say men approach them more often for hair transplants.
"Women come to us for other hair treatments, but for transplantation their numbers are very less," a doctor from The Richfeel Trichology Centre here told IANS on condition of anonymity.
Viral Desai, a renowned cosmetic surgeon with the DHI global group, said: "The surgery has been simplified even more as it leaves no cuts, no stitches, no scars, no pain with the DHI (Direct Hair Implant) method.
"The demand for this treatment has increased immensely. We treat almost 30 cases in a month, of which only two-three are women."
Hair transplantation costs anything between Rs.40,000 and Rs.100,000, depending on the number of follicles to be transplanted, said Desai. "The DHI method is expensive and may vary between Rs.200,000 and Rs.500,000 because it has no stitches and guarantees no pain," he added.
Rahul Sharma, an executive at a multinational company, opted for hair transplantation after failing to regain his tresses with home remedies.
"My hairline had reduced almost 60-70 percent. I tried many remedies and several products claiming to help the hair grow again but nothing worked. Finally, I was suggested to undergo hair transplant. I spent around Rs.60,000 for the treatment. Though I was reluctant initially, now I am really happy that I have got hair back on my head," said Sharma.
For best results, one must adhere to certain precautions like staying away from chemicals, gymming and excessive exposure to sunrays.