Hair transplant barber Jason Shankey on how baldness battle can be won
A Belfast barber about to have a hair transplant is urging men in Northern Ireland feeling down about going bald to seek professional help.
Ahead of Jason Shankey's second hair transplant, the self-styled male grooming expert behind five successful businesses is speaking about his experience of male-pattern baldness in an effort to help others.
Jason (45) told the Belfast Telegraph men should not be embarrassed to talk about hair loss and should seek assistance from reliable sources regarding the options available.
"I am a reasonably good role model to talk on this as my business is about making men feel good about themselves," he said.
According to the NHS website, hair loss (alopecia) can be difficult for people to come to terms with, can affect self-confidence and sometimes lead to depression.
Male-pattern baldness is the most common type of hair loss, affecting around half of all men by the age of 50, and while many people are not concerned about it, for others it can seriously impact how they feel.
Jason started to lose his hair aged 34 and used a variety of products to try to "hold that at bay" but eventually opted for a transplant. "Products worked for a few short years and then it started to come out again," he said.
"It was devastating. I lost all confidence in myself
"I started to look like a different person, like an old man, and I felt really bad about myself."
Jason contacted Ziering Medical and began to take medication aimed at slowing hair loss.
Then in 2012 he opted for a hair transplant and was thrilled with the results.
"I flew to Los Angeles and Craig Ziering, who did Bruce (Caitlyn) Jenner's hair transplant, did mine.
"He does all the Hollywood celebs, he is the man to go to.
"He took about 3,400 hairs from the back of my head and put them at the front, but now it's starting to thin around the crown and I don't want a bald spot around the crown, so they are going to fill it in."
Jason said he shared his experience at the time on his own blog site and got a great response from readers.
He will travel to Birmingham for the second procedure in two weeks' time and is looking forward to having a full head of hair once again.
Instead of the surgeon taking a full strip of hair from the back of Jason's scalp, around 1,700 individual follicles from the back and sides of his head will be inserted into the thinning crown area.
"Go and speak to someone about it," Jason urged.
"There are things out there to do like liquids to rub into the scalp, tablets that can bring some back and reduce hair loss, and ultimately there is a hair transplant.
"There is plenty of options. Definitely speak to a professional."
Coleraine actor James Nesbitt is among those in the public eye to speak about having a hair transplant.
Last month the 51-year-old Hobbit and Cold Feet star sparked conversation when he hosted the Ballon d'Or football ceremony with a fuller head of hair than when he had when photographed at the BBC Sports Personality of the Year awards in Belfast just before Christmas.
For more about Jason's hair transplant experience visit https://www.jasonshankey.com/blog/