Don’t Let “Hair Greed” Eclipse Common Sense - When Hair Transplants Might Not Be For You

If the risk of having a hair transplant can possibly be greater than the reward, hair transplantation might not be for you. Jeff from Connecticut calls in to talk about his successes and his mistakes as a young man desperately trying to remedy his hair loss.

Spencer Kobren: Hey, you are on the air. Who's this and where are you calling from?

Jeff: Hey Spencer, hey Joe. It’s Jeff from CT.

Spencer Kobren: Hey Jeff.

Joe Tillman What’s up Jeff?

Spencer Kobren: What's happening?

Jeff: I'm good. How are you? The Constitution state.

Spencer Kobren: Yes.

Jeff: It’s true. I actually haven’t called in for a while, but it's good to see that you guys are on the air again.

Spencer Kobren: You know what? It's good to be on the air again. It’s kind of I had a lot of shit to do.

Jeff: I know you do. I'm sure you are a very busy guy.

Spencer Kobren: I thought to myself, okay we are upgrading the studio which we did. Sadly the upgrade, some of it's good and some of it's not so great I have to tweak it but that took lot of work. I’m just like these guys are e-mailing us. It's just so funny to me. I appreciate the guys who genuinely miss the weekly show, but so many other guys, I don't know if you caught the opening, who have complained about us week in week out online about the fact that we not talking about what they consider to be the cutting edge, possible cures for hair loss. These are the guys who are bitching that the show is not on the air. It’s wild.

Jeff: This is not my topic that I'm bringing up. There is a 200 page thread on  that  talks about derma rolling. I swear to god I ripped hair out of my head with derma rolling.

Spencer Kobren: It's craziness.

Jeff: That is not what I’m going to talk about. I don't know why they want to talk about that. I'm pretty sure it didn't work for me. I don't get why so many people are glued to that. It's like one of the largest threads on the forum.

Spencer Kobren: Yes, it is huge. It’s huge. If we allow the anti-masturbation stuff to continue that would be the huge thread. These are some big threads there when it comes to that, but after a while it just became like spamish so it had to be controlled to some degree. There are people who actually believe that if you control masturbating that you can re-grow a full head of hair.

Jeff: Yes, believe it or not I tried it very early on, noticed zero effect.

Joe Tillman Then made up for lost time.

Jeff: help

Spencer Kobren: What's the point of keeping your hair? What are you going do? You are going to time your sex? Okay, I have my hair but I can only have sex once a week or once a month. I get this hot chick -- Go ahead.

Jeff: No, no, I remember back when I was 18 I read that theory, and I was like -- You just start college when you are an 18. I read this theory and I was like, “Well, okay then when I start meeting girls I have to do a  ration,” but I started going through all these like ridiculous sort of theories in my head and I obviously it's ridiculous to consider those things. If you want to give it a shot but don't turn down sex. It’s really not worth it.

Joe Tillman I think that the whole idea was just made up by someone in a fraternity to see if they could actually make the ideas stick and it stuck.

Spencer Kobren: Let me tell you man. Anyone who's writing about that they are not turning down sex. They are just not having sex anyway.

Joe Tillman They are just not able to get it.

Jeff: Yes, exactly.

Joe Tillman They want to pull everyone else into their personal hell.

Jeff: What I was going to bring up though just touching base on what the last caller said there. I don't know what category it would fall in but I started on the Teva brand Finasteride. I got mine initially through Wal-Mart I guess and I started on that, and actually went through a bit of shedding in the vertex a little bit where I have never really had any hair loss. The whole thing is sort of shedding and not really anything noticeable but just a little bit. I went through four months of that because I was on Propecia and then got the name brand stuff and didn't shed any more after that really. It was like the shedding was a thing of the past and then I started re-growing like little baby fine hair along the hairline too. That's just my experience too so just wanted to throw in a little anecdotal thing there for him to hear if he's still listening.

Spencer Kobren: Teva is actually one of the few really good, in my view. I’m not going to say one of the few but it happens to be a really good drug company that makes great generics. If I was going to go for any generic, whatever the drug is, I would prefer Teva brand which I think is a -- It actually is an Israeli company.

Jeff: Yes, I'm not saying it won't work for anyone, but I do know that I just – May be it was just the timing too that was it was five months after and it just started kicking in. The active ingredient just started kicking in, but once I switched to the brand I started noticing. It's like you’d have to use a weed whacker to see the scalp on top of my head right now.

Spencer Kobren: I love hearing stories like this. I think it's so important that guys understand the opportunity that they have or that they're in they're missing out on based on a lot of the fear that's out there. I think that's why Joe decided to do this latest video on the reality of Propecia side effects because you're a prime example. I'm a prime example look I need a haircut. I was telling Joe I had to really paste it together today it was going so long , but I am 51 years old. It doesn't matter if I have to paint, it doesn't matter if I choose to wear a hair system at some point in the back of my head whatever it is. I have enough hair on my head where I can kind of make it look I have a full head of hair, and for me because I started to lose my hair at 21 that is huge. It's monumental.

Jeff: Yes, absolutely. I took the different route though when I didn’t listen to the -- Joe knows my story very well. I almost reached basically perfection with just  Finasteride alone. I was not  using Minoxidil at all. I got back maybe like a one point five on Finasteride, then I said I'm just going to go for the cherry on top and I moved forward with that hair transplant and I had scheduled anyway. Obviously it didn't turn out so well but that's not really what I'm calling about. Had I just stuck with it and probably just pulled the Spencer Kobren strategy and not move forward with the hair transplant and just stuck with the drug, I probably would be very silent right now.

Spencer Kobren: I was having a conversation with the Ron Shapiro in Las Vegas. I had a fresh haircut so everything was looking really good, super sprayed. We're talking and he's looking at me. He's asking me questions about my thoughts about the ARTAS robot and Doctor D's new motorized handheld device and asking me what I would do as far as if I decide to have a hair transplant.

I was telling him I would probably at this stage in the game if I need a lot of hair to be moved, because I wear my hair long in the back, I would most likely get a strip initially to get the most hair out. I would not be as concerned about the scar. Now with that said there's always a chance of nerve damage. There's always a chance of your changing the structure of your scalp by having that done. There's always a possibility of complications. He actually looked at me. I turned around and he looked at the paint job and he’s like,” You know what, I wouldn't even touch it . You don't need a hair transplant.”

Jeff: He looked at your crown and everything. I know that's your area of concern.

Spencer Kobren: Yes, because like he said it and this is what I said, it's too much of a risk. I'm able to camouflage it enough where I don't need perfection.

Joe Tillman I've been telling this anyway. It's like you're already comfortable with what you're doing. Why change it?

Spencer Kobren: Well, listen I'm not 100% comfortable. When you're at the hair conference you get the stares but in regular life no one ever looks at my hair. I'm comfortable with that so I feel good enough and actually go to this restaurant all the time and there's a parking attendant at the valet. He always comments on my hair because it's much, more gray in person, and I guess for whatever reason when they see a guy with what they consider to be a full head of silver hair, it's almost like an anomaly. The guy always comments on it, calls me the silver fox. He's a man I get it but I still take it as a compliment.

Jeff: Yes, for sure.

Spencer Kobren: I guess the moral of the story is -- Obviously you know the moral of the story because you're just telling us – I kind of forgot your story. You can remind me if you want. That you sought out perfection and maybe it did you more harm than good.

Jeff: I’ll tell you kind of a 30  second elevator pitch that I guess is a-- I went to a very reputable clinic, was basically not sold but I convinced myself of the idea that FUE was basically going to be invisible. Not scar-less was but I figured nobody would ever see it. I happen to have very thick caliber hair but the density in the back is pretty low. It was very easy to over harvest accidentally a particular area so now I sort of have a-- My front is still very easily camouflaged but I have one area in the back of my head that’s pretty roasted, for lack of a better word. I’ve got one hole gaping in the back of my head there.

Joe Tillman It looks like in one area at the back of the scalp he has scaring.

Spencer Kobren: By the way what’s interesting about that is and I know it’s not interesting for you, but having really a great caliber hair, thicker hair, is obviously something that is very beneficial when you’re having a hair transplant. When you’re removing it via FUE what you don’t realize is that thick caliber hair that is going to be removed is going to leave a, in my view and from what I’ve seen, a more visible, I guess, deviation or a more visible defect than if the hair was finer. Do you know what I’m saying, Joe?

Joe Tillman Yes.

Jeff: Correct, correct

Spencer Kobren: That is very, very common and it’s something that’s not talked about at all. When someone is doing FUE on someone with a strong, thick, caliber, robust hair like yours, in my view, they actually have to kind of separate the extractions or the scouring even more than they would with people with different types of caliber hair, if that makes sense. I don’t think a lot of people -- A lot of people who are doing FUE and guys who are just getting into FUE don’t really understand that.

Jeff: Yes, this is one question I want to know, one by you just for your personal opinion. I’m not asking for a doctor recommendation at all. Joe and I have actually talked about this and he’s set me at ease a little bit. What is your opinion about the viability of not  body hair as a whole, but specifically beard hair to address this kind? Not building out a hairline or anything like that. It’s basically just using it to camouflage an area that still has scalp hair. I just want to know what your opinion is.

Spencer Kobren: I think it’s hit or miss. I think that we know that when it’s done correctly beard hair is extremely viable. It’s a great option for underground, in my view. It’s a great option for guys who really need the repair work and hairline, and it can be a great option for what you’re dealing with but it can also be an abject failure even in the best hands. Usually it’s not but it can be.

There are really only a handful of guys that do facial hair transplants or facial hair extraction well on a regular basis. Again in my view, you want someone who is probably doing that by hand, is not using a machine to make that happen.

Jeff: Of course.

Spencer Kobren: There’s only a handful of guys who I’m sure Joe discussed with you who might be capable of doing that, and you’re probably going to have to travel.

Jeff: Yes, I’m definitely going to have to travel and I’ve been fortunate enough to have traveled already to see one of these doctors in person and he’s taking a very conservative approach should I move forward with this. This actually goes back to what you guys were talking about very early in the program, when you said no doctor should offer the guarantee. We guarantee you we will replace and that’s very true. You cannot replace the hair because if you could replace hair I wouldn’t have a hole at the back of my head obviously.

Joe Tillman Right.

Jeff: Obviously no guarantees he’s not saying that anything is going to grow, and in my particular case he wants to take a very conservative approach and start up with something very small and observe if they grow. If they don’t then we can cut our losses there and if they do then we can go for something a little bit more aggressive, which is why I like this particular doctor.

Spencer Kobren: You know what, I think it’s unfortunate that you have to be dealing with this and again what you said speaks volumes and I think it’s really important for people to hear. Is you were doing well and you wanted perfection. It's called hair greed, and it's not something that I'm blaming you for. I get it. You figure wait a second I could do this. Well, I see all these great hair transplants online. With a little bit more hair I could be perfect again. I could be back to where I was before this nightmare began. That's what people want but you know what

Joe Tillman Part of the problem is that the -- You can't blame them, but part of the problem is that when clinics are talking about what they can do they are selling the sizzle not the steak. They're always showing -- You can't blame them but they're always showing the absolute best results possible for any situation. I have to admit, I was part of that like even in my own case.

Spencer Kobren: We all are

Joe Tillman Like my own repair case is one of those cases where there has to be a disclaimer. Your repair case most likely won't be a similar type of recovery because I did have the benefit of having -- This is just blind luck. I think I was explaining to someone on the phone of the day. It's blind luck I wound up with a doctor I wound up with that perfectly matched my particular characteristics and my situation. Obviously it worked out fine. It wasn't perfect across the board. I did have to have a scar revision at one point because the back scar widened a bit more than we wanted but the revision worked and all the good stuff and it helps to have worked in the clinic. When people are looking online and Jeff you're having to deal with this issue. You match up perfectly with the video I put out about don't have a hair transplant unless you are ready to deal with the consequences of  it not turning out well.

Jeff: Yes, sure.

Joe Tillman We have discussed that.

Spencer Kobren: The biggest amount of shit I get in this business is the fact that I advocate doing nothing. Now the world knows because I was the first and really the only one to make it public initially, and then other people made it public but they never talk about how much money they make. I let the world know that doctors who are part of IAHRS pay a screening fee. That's it. They pay to be a part of it, and they also have to understand that I'm not going to sell surgery. I'm not going to have online consultations if you're just looking to be a part of what we do for leads. If that's what you consider to be the only ROI of being accepted into what we consider to be a really elite group then you're in the wrong fucking place. There are other avenues for you guys just to market yourselves. What we do and what we're trying to do with the IAHRS and The Bald Truth and I tell all these doctors this. Is while you may not see us selling surgery, we're guiding people in the best possible direction and to be frank you don't need to sell surgery. You are a prime example of that Jeff. No surgery needs to be sold to you. You made that choice.

Jeff: I made that -- I don't even blame the clinic or anything like that. That's also why I also tell people -- I interact in the forum sometimes and I tell people make sure you speak to the doctor and not just the patient advisor because the patient advisor's job is primarily to sell you surgery, that's what they're there for. Unless you get someone that really does know what they're talking. I know Joe was a patient advisor at one point. I'm pretty sure he was a little bit more scrupulous in who you recommended to move forward with surgery. Unfortunately mine wasn't so much, but the doctor himself when I finally met him and I traveled all the way to meet him, I still stand by that he that even ethical guy. He said we could do this or we cannot do this here. You are one of these on the fence patients but I'm going to leave this up to you.

This was a year ago, actually way over a year ago. I was a stupid 20 something kid. I had other doctors actually -- But this is the point I actually wanted to make. I had another reputable doctor really close to home actually that said, “Don't do this. You don't know what you're getting yourself into.” I didn't listen because I didn't want to listen. This was just not what I wanted to hear so I just went and found a doctor that told me actually what I wanted to hear, and that's not the best strategy in the world to just find someone that tell you what you want to hear. That's in fact the worst strategy in the world.

Sometimes when a really reputable doctor says, "You're not a candidate for this." You have to know when to walk away. It's not like it would've been crippling to me if I walked away. I still would have had a full head of hair. It just wouldn't have been the Brad Pitt hairline. I just think that not a lot of young guys realize that because I certainly didn't and I read it and I heard it over and over again but I just didn't want to listen.

Spencer Kobren: Well, you know what? Who wants to listen to something like that? Who doesn't want to be told what they want to hear? That's just the way that it is and these guys depend on this. I'm more involved in mainstream cosmetic surgery and the stories that I hear are fucking frightening and what is being done to people. If you think hair is bad -- I'm trying to figure out a way to get involved and feel good about myself.

Joe Tillman [laughs] That's the challenge.

Spencer Kobren: That's the challenge. I have all these opportunities. We put out pilot shows and right away, large medical device companies contacted me ready and willing and able to sponsor whatever I decide to do. Not saying there's anything wrong with Patreon because people make a lot of money with Patreon, but I'm talking about, right away, on the air. All they saw was stuff on Facebook and they're willing to pay me what I wanted for a monthly sponsorship. I had to step back and think, "Holy shit." If it's this easy then I have to look into myself and say, "If I start to take these peoples' money then, I'm going to basically have to play by their rules."

Just putting it out there, I'm not saying they did or they didn't but say CoolSculpting which is the device that works for some people, doesn't work so great for others. There's a lot of questions about stuff out there happening at least according to some plastic surgeons who are utilizing this piece of equipment. Say they came to me and I'm like, "You know what? Everyone's promoting CoolSculpting, but I know that maybe this particular type of procedure is only good for 40% of the population who are looking for that type of weight loss." I wouldn't be able to say that because I'm taking their money.

I'm put into a very unique position. That's why I love the way we were able to run this program. That's why when I talk about the IAHRS and I tell these doctors, "Look, you're supporting the truth, that's your ROI, period. You give people the opportunity to learn about something that you're supposed to specialize in and you guys are supposed to want to help people. It's not just about leads." You know what? These guys get it and that's why they've been with me, most of them for 15 years. Even though I'll sit here with Joe and say, "Don't have surgery."

Joe Tillman That's marketing to the truth.

Jeff: It speaks volumes to the people that are on the list because most of them, I assume-- At least the ones that I've interacted with that are on the list had no problem telling me that this is not a good idea.

Spencer Kobren: Absolutely. Well, I'm glad we're able to do that and I'm glad that most of these guys are -- Listen, there are "people who are on the list", they may have some sort of financial pressures that month and they have made decisions that they regretted in the past. It's just the way that it is. It's human nature. My job and Joe's job is just to let people know, no matter who it is, that shit could happen.

Joe Tillman It does.

Spencer Kobren: It does all the -- The best doctors out there fuck people up every year. That's just the way it is. All right, man always a pleasure guys. [laughs] These guys are holding on and they hung up. Guys, call back. I'll take your call, 888-659-3727. Jeff, man, thanks so much for the call and I wish you the best of luck.

Jeff: Yes, pleasure talking with you.

Spencer Kobren: All right. You got it, man. Take care.

Joe Tillman Take care, Jeff.

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The International Alliance of Hair Restoration Surgeons is a consumer organization that selectively screens skilled and ethical hair transplant surgeons. The IAHRS does not offer an open membership policy to doctors practicing hair transplatation, and is the only group that recognizes that all surgeons are not equal in their skill and technique. Its elite membership seeks to represent the best in the discipline, the true leaders in the field of surgical hair restoration.