‘Hairy’ business: Turkey’s implant industry grows


Istanbul’s health and beauty industry is becoming ‘hairier’ as facial hair transplants rise in popularity amongst follicle-challenged men, the Guardian newspaper reported on Thursday.

For many men, the measure of status, strength and manliness is a thick moustache. Cosmetic surgeons in Turkey have responded accordingly as Istanbul reaps the benefits of ‘beauty’ tourism.

Tulunay, a Turkish doctor, said that over ten of his 60 monthly patients now request facial hair transplants.

The doctor describes the societal preference for increased facial hair in the region.

“Both in Turkey and in Arab countries facial hair is associated with masculinity, and its lack can cause social difficulties. In Turkish there is a word for it: köse – baldness of the face – and it is usually not considered a good thing”, Tulunay said.

A mainstay in the ‘hairy’ business for the more than ten years, Ali Mezdegi, a doctor, said: “Thick hair is a status symbol and a sign of strength and virility.”
He added that Arabs make up 75 percent of his clients.

A Turkish tourism agency specializes in hair implant tour packages that costs approximately $2,300 for the four day long procedure and treatment, which also covers medical and overnight expenses.

Mezdegi explained that over 50 percent of his patients were channeled either through such a tourism agency or via word of mouth.

The agency’s general manager, Irfan Atik, said that most of his clients are from Saudi Arabia, Qatar, UAE, Kuwait and Iraq. Atik notes that, in the West, clean shaven males are more prominent and fashionable as compared to the Middle East.