"You can suffer thinning hair due to illness, stress, weight loss and even an iron deficiency.Whatever the reason, losing hair can be extremely upsetting. "
Dr Bessam Farjo
EAST London is the hair loss capital of the UK, new research has revealed.
People from the town of Ilford, located on the border with Essex, were more likely to Google the term ‘hair loss’ than anywhere else in Britain.
And, remarkably, Ilford residents were also the most likely to Google the term ‘hair transplant’, too.
The data comes from analysis of Google Trends stats going back five years.
Other locations where thinning locks were the subject of the most internet searches include Bradford, West Yorks, as well as Midlands hubs Leicester, Birmingham and Halesowen.
Meanwhile interest in hair transplant procedures has almost doubled since 2014 - driven by a host of celebs admitting to their own operations.
Leading UK hair restoration surgeon Dr Bessam Farjo, who carried out the research, says the stigma surrounding hair loss has receded quickly in the last five years.
Dr Farjo, founder of the Farjo Hair Institute with clinics in London and Manchester, explains: “There are many different reasons why someone might end up turning to the internet for advice about hair loss.
“You can suffer thinning hair due to illness, stress, weight loss and even an iron deficiency.
“But the most the most common cause of hair loss is a hereditary condition called male or female ‘pattern baldness’ - what’s known as 'Androgenetic alopecia’ and is simply down to genetics.
“And whatever the reason, losing hair can be extremely upsetting, particularly for those who start balding at a young age.
“For most people their hair is part of their identity. It signals to others who they are. When that’s lost, many feel their identity is also stripped.
“Thankfully, the stigma surrounding both hair loss and subsequent hair restoration treatment is diminishing.
“And conversations about hair transplantation are now almost as commonplace as for other forms of cosmetic treatments, such a breast augmentation and even Botox.”
The Google trends stats analyse the popularity of certain search terms before giving it a value of between 0 and 100.
In the first quarter of 2004, ‘hair loss’ searches in the UK had a value of 39. As of April this year, that’s now reached a value of 73.
Searches for hair transplants have also exploded, particularly in the last five years - going from 31 in July 2014 to 72 in April this year.
Dr Farjo adds: “The increase in Google searches reflects the growing popularity of hair transplant surgery itself.
“According to stats from the International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery, there were 225,779 procedures, worldwide, in 2006.
That figure increased to 635,000 ops in 2017 - a huge rise.
“There are many factors driving the trend, but the increasing number of celebrities talking about their surgical hair restoration is certainly contributing to the popularity of hair transplants.
“And this transparency and honesty when it comes to talking about transplants is helping to diminish some of the stigma and taboo.
"It's no longer the 'embarrassing' procedure it once was.”
The Google trends stats also highlight a couple of big spikes in searches for the term ‘hair transplant’.
The biggest came in June 2011, when England footballer Wayne Rooney, 33, admitted his hair transplant procedure for the first time.
He tweeted to his followers: "Just to confirm to all my followers I have had a hair transplant. I was going bald at 25 why not. I'm delighted with the result.”
Other large spike came in September 2018, and March this year.
The September surge coincided with rumours about hair restoration treatment undergone by former England football captain David Beckham, 44.
Meanwhile March 2019 saw soap star Alan Halsall, 36, taking to Instagram to show off his hair transplant - a procedure carried out by the Farjo team.
Alan - best known for playing Tyrone Dobbs on ITV’s Coronation Street - told fans: “Why not? Since I had my first a few years ago I’ve spoken with so many men who have confidence issues etc. because of their hair, maybe this will let some of them know they have options and people have it done all the time.
"It’s not something to be ashamed of.”
Dr Farjo warns those taking to the worldwide web to find hair loss help not to be suckered-in by offers of cheap restoration surgery.
He adds: “A properly executed hair transplant can transform the patient’s life, whether that’s to combat male pattern baldness, for example, or to help a female with alopecia.
“But a poor hair transplant - which can look unnatural, create awful scarring or simply not work at all - will not only leave a patient out of pocket but will potentially permanently deprive them of the hair they desire, and have an enormous impact on their confidence, psychological well-being and self-esteem.”
TOP 10 LOCATIONS WHERE ‘HAIR LOSS’ WAS MOST GOOGLED SINCE 2014:
• Ilford (East London)
• Hayes (West London)
• Halesowen (West Midlands)
TOP 10 LOCATIONS WHERE ‘HAIR TRANSPLANT’ WAS MOST GOOGLED SINCE 2014:
• Ilford (East London)
(* According to data from Google Trends)