(Newser) Baby-faced men can now look like lumberjacks thanks to advances in transplant technology, and a growing number of them are choosing to do so. Hair restoration surgeons say over the last decade, beard transplant requests have grown from a few a year to several per month or even per week, the New York Times reports.
Decades ago, hair transplants involved using plugs of follicles that recipients had to grow into what the Times calls "Trumpian swirls," but surgeons can now transplant single follicles to create beards, mustaches, or sideburns indistinguishable from those of the naturally hirsute. The hairs are generally taken from the back of the head, though surgeons say some balding clients decide to transplant chest hairs instead. A full beard generally costs around $7,000.
And it's not just hipsters getting the transplants. A 28-year-old paramedic who says his face used to alarm patients decided to get a full beard implanted. Patients "would look at me and be like, 'OK, is this 16-year-old really going to take care of me?'" he tells the Times. "It was hard for people to trust me because I had that baby face." He says the beard has played a role in him looking "more mature, more manly, and just kind of getting respect from people."
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The trend appears to be global: The New Daily reports that thousands of Australian men have been traveling to Thailand for beard transplants that are cheaper than what they can get at home.