A man who has no need of a beard transplant strokes his facial hair. Photo by g-stockstudio/Shutterstock.com
NEW YORK, Oct. 1 (UPI) -- Beard transplant surgeries are on the rise worldwide, with one New York doctor saying he performs about three of the procedures each week.
The nonprofit International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery said beard transplants accounted for 1.5 percent of all hair restoration procedures in 2012, but that number spiked to 3.7 percent in 2014.
Medigo, a company specializing in helping patients find overseas clinics for different types of procedures, said it compiled data indicating the number of beard transplants worldwide increased by 600 percent from 2004 to 2014.
New York surgeon Dr. Jeffrey Epstein told The New York Times he did about five of the procedures per year a decade ago, but he now performs an average three transplants per week.
"Brooklyn is probably the nucleus of the trend, it's the hipster 'look' guys want. If you have a spotty beard, and you let it grow out, it looks sloppy," Epstein told the New York Post last year. "[Clients] want full beards because it's a masculine look. Beards are an important male identifier."
Patients gave numerous different reasons for seeking out the procedure, which typically involves hair follicles being transplanted from the back of a patient's head to their facial hair region.
"It was hard for people to trust me because I had that baby face," paramedic Jose Armos, 28, told the Times. "They would look at me and be like, 'OK, is this 16-year-old really going to take care of me?'"
A man who wished to only be identified as Ray, 53, said he spent $22,000 on three procedures to correct the fact that whiskers never grew on his cheeks.
"A lot of guys go through a midlife crisis and they buy a sports car. I just got a beard," he said.