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Dr Bauman – Hair restoration hacker

As we approach the new year, many of us are already thinking about our goals. What do we want to do differently? What do we want to accomplish? Usually pretty high up on anyone’s list is looking and feeling good. Perhaps we plan to diet, work out, or both. But as we get older, it can be harder to look our best. For many of us, our hair starts to thin, our hairline recedes, or we may even start seeing bald spots. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, roughly 80 million Americans (50 million men and 30 million women) suffer from androgenetic alopecia – or hereditary hair loss related to genetics and hormones. That’s almost 40% of all adults in the United States. To cater to the millions of men and women losing their hair every year, a plethora of products – topicals, pills, shampoos – have popped up. We’re all familiar with Rogaine and Propecia, and now there are newer options including Nutrafol, Vegamour and Keeps. But how does one choose from such a dizzying array of options?

Enter Dr. Bauman and his renowned Boca Raton clinic, a 12,000 square foot, state-of-the-art “Hair Hospital” in downtown Boca Raton. Despite the moniker, the building doesn’t feel at all like a clinic. Visitors enter an airy, modern two-story lobby, sprinkled with artwork. Patients coming in for surgery are admitted through a private elevator, and there are lounge areas with laser machines and coffee.

Dr. Alan Bauman is a board-certified hair restoration physician who has treated over 33,000 patients and performed over 12,000 hair transplant procedures and over 12,000 PRP’s since starting his medical hair loss practice, Bauman Medical in 1997.  He is one of roughly 200 physicians worldwide to achieve certification from the American and International Board of Hair Restoration Surgery (ABHRS) and was voted “#1 Top Hair Restoration Surgeon” in North America by Aesthetic Everything for the 6th consecutive year, as well as “Top Hair Restoration Surgeon of the Decade”. Dr. Bauman has been a guest speaker at numerous international scientific meetings and live surgery workshops and has been featured in hundreds of news stories in the media. He has also appeared on shows including ABC Good Morning America, CNN, The Doctors, Bulletproof Radio with Dave Asprey.

Dr. Bauman is also an enthusiastic proponent of biohacking – which is where people “hack” their own bodies with a mixture of scientific concepts, tools and technology in order to achieve longer life, better health and improved performance. While biohacking can involve intricate technology like the Oura ring or genetic profiling, it can also involve simple practices like intermittent fasting, meditation and herbal supplements. Dr. Bauman brings this passion for high-tech improvement to hair loss treatment, investing in cutting-edge innovations including AI hair analysis, Platelet-Rich Plasma therapy (PRP) , Transepidermal Delivery (TED) and Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE), which extracts and transplants individual hair follicles for a more natural look.  

After consultation, patients go through an evaluation with the help of a scalp microscope like a HairCam or a scientific tool like a HairCheck trichometer that measures hair quantity and quality. After determining the condition and the likely causes, Dr. Bauman proposes a bespoke treatment plan. We got to sit down with Dr. Bauman to get a peek at the man behind this cutting-edge practice.

What was your motivation in becoming hair restoration specialist?

I never dreamed when I was younger that I was going to become a hair surgeon. I had a unique opportunity to become mentored by a very prominent plastic surgeon on the upper East side of Manhattan when I was a teenager. And so I always thought that that's what I was going to do. But many years later, during my internship in residency, I had met a hair transplant patient and I was completely fooled, unable to tell that he had had a hair transplant. In the 90s, hair transplantation wasn’t as sophisticated. It was usually very obvious and “pluggy”. His transplant looked amazing, and he was totally thrilled that he fooled the surgeon. I was enthralled that the technology seemed to be progressing. And so I kind of kept that in the back of my mind. Over the years, I looked into hair transplant; I read journals and textbooks, visited physicians and attended conferences. And eventually I found my next mentor who was a hair surgeon.

And once I got into the world of hair transplant, I basically just diverted completely from plastic surgery and just made that the one thing.

For someone who's concerned about hair loss, what does the hair restoration journey look like?

Well, unfortunately, for most who are struggling with hair loss, sometimes they don't even know where to go or what to do. And there's a lot of confusion out there. They may ask their hair stylist, for example. I seem to be shedding more. I seem to have less coverage. What's going on up there? Or they may turn to a physician like a dermatologist or their primary care doctor, but those folks don't have any way to measure what's going on, and they're not focused on hair loss, so there's no real keen interest in getting to the correct diagnosis.

And even though nearly 80 million Americans suffer hair loss there are only 2000 hair surgeons - only 200 of whom are board-certified. So, there's a big gap.

In the world of hair time is follicles. When you lose time, you lose follicles because hair loss is chronic and progressive. It gets worse with time without treatment. So it's really important for those experiencing hair thinning or loss of volume or coverage, to find a board-certified hair restoration physician. You have to find a specialist if you're want to get accurate diagnosis and, consequently, effective treatment.

A lot of what we do here is technology driven, but also human resource driven. Each procedure necessitates 20 man-hours of labor for each patient every day. And to have the highest quality people to get these procedures done requires a lot of resources and training. And so that's what goes into a hair transplant.

Now, typically you hear about men getting hair transplants or hair restoration services, but how often is it women?

Women make up roughly 40% of our practice. In my practice, we've worked very closely with salons and hairstylists for over a decade. It’s important to offer treatments that actually work for women, whether it be medications or red-light therapy or PRP regenerative medicine treatments that are non-surgical. In those early stages, we can really help women. And women's hair loss can look different too. They can have eyebrow loss or eyelash loss or scars from plastic surgery before they have a receding hairline later in life. All of those things may need slightly more invasive procedures. In fact, I have written textbook chapters on eyelash transplantation in all the major textbooks in the world of hair transplant.

Where did you get this passion for always learning, innovating and pushing the boundaries of your industry?

 

I think part of it is just being a gadget person. I had a computer from the time I was in grade school and I loved putting models together whether it was like a Lego or Erector sets. My dad is like that. He's a dentist, but it pains him to call a repair person. Whether he fixes it or not is not really the point. It's just whether he tried. He basically taught me at a very young age how to take apart anything and how to put it together again.

That kind of segues perfectly into the biohacking. How much would you say that has actually helped you over the years?

I've been a member of the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine for over 20 years. So I've always been around the people who were interested in longevity. Besides wearables that track sleep or glucose levels, or calorie restrictions or water fasts, the best biohack is Vitamin G – gratitude. It's free but I wouldn't say it's easy because you have to think about  what you're thankful for.

When it comes to your practice, what is the one thing that you feel most grateful for?

My team, because I know there are many practitioners around the world that would love to be able to provide the services and the skills and, and the procedures that we do. But they have trouble finding and keeping their team members. I’ve been blessed with an amazing team for a very long time. Most of my team members have been with me for over a decade. Whether it's someone that just is compassionate at the first call or visit, making patients feel comfortable, or doing the initial hair measurements. So to the people that help me do procedures and treatments and coordinate the running of the business, I'm very grateful.

In the world of hair time is follicles. When you lose time, you lose follicles because hair loss is chronic and progressive.

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