I saw Bruce Willis on the David Letterman show the other day and he told everyone that he was bald and happy. That could put you out of business so don’t buy your new Mercedes yet doc. What do you think of the balding trend? Is bald beautiful?

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Bruce WillisI have followed Bruce Willis’ hair loss over the years from his thinning during the TV series Moonlighting, to the present day shaved head look he sports. A while back, I did notice what I thought were hair transplants placed in the front of his head, showing a less than artistic straight line of hair (suggesting a poor hair transplant), but if my initial guess was correct, there would be some signs of it on the front (recipient area) and in the back of the head (donor area). Judging by photos I’ve seen, I can not stand by my original assumption. I do not think Bruce Willis ever had transplant work done. It is interesting that my daughter met him at a party in the mid-90s and engaged him on the balding issue and my transplant services. He commented that he would remember the connection when the time came, so with that knowledge, I have followed his balding over the years waiting for him to come to my office and join others in that line of work that have come my way.

It must be clear to anyone considering hair transplants, that the option to shave the head as Bruce Willis does may be lost if you have the procedure, as some scarring may be present at the donor site (even with the FUE technique). I have seen many patients that had a small-session transplant, which was inadequate to cover the bald area, because less hair is moved to produce the fullness that a reasonable person might expect. Small, delicate follicular units will mimic the normal hair and to get that, the doctors performing the surgery must be adhering to the standards of Follicular Unit Transplantation. Anyone with even a good hair transplant that uses strip harvesting would have a noticable scar if the head was shaved, even if it were 1mm in size. For the unfortunate person who had unsightly or poorly planned hair transplants, they may have no choice other than to live under a hat or a hair piece most of the time.

Some men shave their head as a way to accommodate their balding. This is a style that has more recently been accepted by the ‘hip’ young men today. We see many ways these men deal with their balding/thinning at our monthly Open House events, where a significant number of men who have to deal with balding come to learn more about the hair restoration process. Many men shave or clip their hair short, or are wearing baseball hats or hair systems. Unlike the average guy, Bruce Willis could get away with wearing a baseball hat to the Oscars because of who he is, but I would not recommend interviewing for a high powered job with a baseball hat on your head. With a poorly done or incomplete hair transplant, an interviewer might spend too much time looking at the hairline rather than in the eyes of the interviewee.

Society has stereotypes and a bald head is stereotypically a ‘hard’ look, the man’s man look. In the past, Hollywood actors have gone clearly bald (Yul Brynner, Telly Savalas), and they were tough character actors. Bruce Willis now joins that pack, but if he had transplants, unlike those bald men who could elect to let their hair grow in and not shave their head, Bruce Willis may not have that choice. His options may be limited if he wanted both hair and the opportunity to keep shaving his head.

Now to comment on your last inference, I am not buying a new Mercedes and I fully expect to keep driving my Toyota minivan, which seems to get me from here to there just fine. If it is short hair you want, don’t worry about my car payments as I have accounted for those choices already.