I got a cheap hair transplant in Turkey, the recovery was agony, and I’d do it again in a heartbeat

By month seven, there was no more ambiguity; Hair looked better than it had in decades. I looked younger. I felt young. When I visited my barber, he whistled his praises like a proud grandfather. After the cut, he said, “I’m sorry, but I have to do something.” Then he ran his hands all over my hair, back and forth, a big smile on his face. “It’s great.”

On the first date, a woman told me I didn’t look anywhere close to 46. (This is obviously a white lie that everyone tells, but still.) Then she explained: “You’ve still got hair.”

“Good luck, I guess. Good genes. “

At nearly nine months, studying my hair with satisfaction, I noticed something less pleasant: I gained weight. My face was puffy and my cheeks looked fat. I stepped on the scale and indeed, I had gained about 10 pounds since the operation. I can’t blame the transplant, but now baldness anxiety is replaced by body anxiety.

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Both of these concerns are, of course, foolish. (Special talk after school: “It’s what’s on the inside that counts!”) But I realized that perhaps I have a basic level of insecurity about my appearance—as many of us do—and that no matter what I do to upgrade or optimize, the symptoms may be treated but the underlying psychological issues remain. How it works with money. Research on happiness suggests that we experience happiness when we buy new things, but this wears off and we soon return to our baseline. Then we want more stuff, rinse and repeat.

However, asking for a hair transplant to tame my inner-demons was too much; The goal was to repair my hair, not act as a treatment, and by that standard it was a roaring success. The bald crown on top of me was mostly full, the front of the hair looked thicker, and I didn’t need to use pomade to “hide” the bare corners of my widow’s peak—the widow’s peak was completely gone. It’s just natural, thick hair.

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On a backpacking trip in South America, I met a group of 20 and 30-somethings who were surprised to learn that I was 46 years old. He thought it was just politeness until he unsolicitedly approached the others in the group and excitedly exclaimed: “You’ll never guess how old Alex is!”

This is new. Before Istanbul, I had never had such a reaction. So I give full credit to the exchange. And after a while it no longer felt like a hair transplant and just felt like it my hair, Period, I don’t have to worry anymore. Now, in the 10th month, I even forgot to check in with Hair of Istanbul – that’s what makes me feel at peace.

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Would I do it again? Absolutely. (That’s not what you’re saying should be: Do your research, understand the risks and know what you’re getting into.) I’ve done a lot of dumb things in my life. This is not one of them. I’ll go even further: I predict that hair transplants will become very mainstream in the near future, especially if the costs keep coming down. The results are too good to ignore.

At a recent party I ran into a friend I know about Instagram, but haven’t seen since the Ugly Duckling phase. “The hair is great!” She whispered not wanting to blow my cover.

I thanked her, told her I was happy with it, maybe I would look a little younger.

She took my new look. I was thoroughly examined. Then she nodded and said, “You know, you could get some Botox.”

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