James Nesbitt’s Hair Transplant

Being in the spotlight from a young age is no easy feat. And in an industry that values both looks and talent, compromising on either can mean a plunge in your career. James Nesbitt’s hair transplant surgery was likely to be motivated by this fear. 

The 57-year-old Northern Irish star has been a part of some of the biggest TV and movie hits. And undeniably, his lustrous mane makes him look like George Clooney (not of the dwarves), but things weren’t always this glamorous for him. After entering adulthood, he experienced significant hair loss, for which he had treatments for over a decade. 

Who Is James Nesbitt? 

Born in 1987, initially, William James Nesbitt wanted to be a teacher, just like his father. So, he started studying French at the University of Ulster. However, he was soon swayed toward his true passion when he was encouraged by his teacher Robert Simpson to take an apprenticeship at a theatre at the Coleraine campus of his university. 

Fast forward a year, and he had dropped out of his university to become an actor. For this, he went to the Central School of Speech and Drama in London. For years, he did theatre and supporting roles in different TV shows, along with one feature film, Hear My Song, in which his performance was praised quite a lot. 

He always had the bearings of a star, but he got his first big break with ITV’s hit comedy-drama Cold Feet, in which he played Adam Williams first from 1998 to 2003 and then 13 years later, from 2016 to 2020. The drama was critically acclaimed and won the actor many awards. 

Since then, he has appeared in numerous hit films and TV shows, including Murphy’s Law, Bloodlands, The Missing, Jekyll, Outcast, Occupation, and Midnight Man, among many others. Many also know and love him as the cheerful dwarf Bofur in The Hobbit trilogy. 

What Kind of Hair Loss Did James Nesbitt Have? 

James Nesbitt’s hair loss is probably a result of androgenetic alopecia. It is a hereditary condition which affects both males and females. If you look at Nesbitt’s hair from the early days, he has glorious curls.

However, with time, you can see that his hairline keeps moving backwards. There’s a significant increase in the size of his forehead as a result. When he was in his 30s, the pattern hair loss became prominent. 

The actor himself recounts the experience saying, “a young man in his 20s with a head of thick curly hair, waking up over a period of time to find hairs appearing on pillows, more and more hairs as time passed.” He also said that it was something that affected him both personally and professionally. 

You can see photos of the Murphy Law star with short, trimmed hair where he seems to be on the Norwood Scale 5; his hairline has receded, and the crown is thinning, but there is still some hair on the top of the head between the two bald patches. It was there for the world to see since he was a public figure at that time. 

Reportedly, the actor took vitamins to slow down the hair loss, but it didn’t work. It’s true that your hair needs vitamins to grow normally, and their deficiency can cause hair loss.

But that’s the only case where vitamin supplements can help. Vitamins will not reverse genetic hair loss. Since that wasn’t working out for the actor, he kept losing his hair, so when that changed drastically, people took notice of that.  

What Was James Nesbitt’s Hair Transplant Journey?

James Nesbitt’s hair transplant took place several times. Here’s a timeline of the event: 

2008: First Hair Transplant

In a testimonial video in 2022, James Nesbitt said that he had his first hair transplant 15 years ago. That would mean that he had his first hair transplant surgery around 2008. It is also suggested that it may have taken place in 2009. 

But by 2010, people saw a visible change in the hairline of the actor when he attended the United For Unicef Gala at Manchester United’s Old Trafford.

Since he already had a full head of hair by then, he must have had the surgery a year or two ago. It can take around 1 to 1.5 years for hair to grow fully after a hair transplant surgery. 

By 2013: Second Hair Transplant

For the first time, he admitted he had not one but two hair transplants in a testimonial video that came out in 2013. He didn’t get the second hair surgery in 2013, but he may have had it 1 or 2 years before that. That’s because, in the video, his hair had already grown, so he had already recovered from the surgery. 

James Nesbitts hair in 2013
Christopher William Adach from London, UK, James Nesbitt 2013CC BY-SA 2.0

He said that he was “very pleased with the result” and that he’d even “go as far as to say they’ve changed my life.”

In addition, he also said that he was using minoxidil and finasteride to maintain the results of the surgery. These are both FDA-approved drugs for hair loss that you need to keep using to see any results. 

By 2017: Third, Fourth & Fifth Hair Transplant

In an interview with BBC Radio Times in 2017, he said, “I’ve just had my last one.” So, by 2017, in 10 years, the actor had 5 hair transplants.

He is “happy” that he has been very open about it, himself saying that “somebody is going to say it before I say it.” 

The Missing actor has also said that his hair transplant had a direct positive impact on his career. “In terms of the range of leading roles I’ve had since then, it’s probably helped,” said the Northern Irish star.

He also said that it was something that he “struggled with,” and it “was probably the vanity in me,” but that doesn’t change the fact that it helped him “career-wise.” 

2019: A Rumoured Sixth Hair Transplant

Now, this is only rumoured, but sources close to him have said that he has been talking about getting his sixth hair transplant with his pals.

He may be thinking of getting one. Here, it’s important to note that 50% of men experience pattern baldness in their 50s, and ageing itself can cause hair loss, which can result in visible thinning. 

This could explain why he had so many hair transplants. It is possible that he kept losing his hair (as the hair loss pattern changed) even after the surgery.

However, this is something that experienced surgeons take into consideration beforehand, so hair grafts are only taken from the safe zone.

What Was James Nesbitt’s Hair Transplant Surgery Technique? 

In an interview, the actor described the procedure, “they take a strip from here (pointing to the nape of his neck), separate the hairs and put them back in.” That is the FUT hair transplant, which was more popular before the newer FUE came out. 

The surgeon cuts out a strip of skin from the back of the head (its size varies depending on the area of baldness).

From this strip, individual hair follicles are taken out and then transplanted back into the scalp, but in the balding regions. This kind of surgery is recommended if the density of the hair in the donor area (back and sides of the head) is not that high. 

Since the surgical technique can help ensure a high graft yield, that may be preferred in some instances. However, its biggest problem is that it can leave a prominent linear scar, and the recovery is also more difficult.

Considering that James Nesbitt’s hair transplant first took place in 2008, FUT was understandable because FUE was still fairly new back then (it started in 2003). 

FUE VS FUT hair transplant

As far as the number of grafts is concerned, he had more than 10,000 of them moved from the back and sides of his head to the top and front in those 10 years he had the surgeries.

Since his balding area was quite extensive, he would have needed a large number of hair grafts. Additionally, he would have needed to undergo more than one surgery because it is not safe to transplant more than 4,500 grafts in one session. 

How Much Did James Nesbitt’s Hair Transplant Cost? 

Nesbitt has admitted that a hair transplant is not cheap, and it cost him “probably 20 grand.” That’s for 1 hair transplant, and since he had 5 confirmed hair transplants, it cost him £100,000.

If we factor in the cost of the rumoured procedure, it would bring the total of James Nesbitt’s hair transplant procedures to £120,000. 

The consultations and medicines alone would have cost him thousands of pounds. He had it done at a clinic in Dublin, Ireland. However, the actor says that this surgery “is an investment for life,” which can be true for everyone, although the cost of his surgery is prohibitively high for many people.       

That’s why many choose to become medical tourists in Turkey. The hair transplant cost in Turkey is usually anywhere from £1,700 to £2,000, which is far more affordable. And the surgeons are also highly experienced.  

How Did Hair Transplant Affect James Nesbitt’s Life?

As mentioned above, he said that the surgery had “changed his life.” And he has also said that “it’s ridiculous, but it’s horrible going bald. Anyone who says it isn’t is lying.” In a survey of 1.536 men, 62% agreed that losing hair would impact their self-esteem. 

Not just that, but they felt it could make them less attractive, negatively affect their social life, and cause feelings of depression. Over 70% of men agreed that hair was “an important feature of image.” So, hair loss can impact anyone’s quality of life, not just a celebrity’s. 

James Nesbitt’s hair transplant has also influenced others going through a similar problem. The Mirror reported that after James Nesbitt’s hair transplant was made public in 2010, the enquiries for hair transplants increased by “over 65% year on year.” 

The actor himself has been vocal about breaking “the stigma” around this surgery and helping with the “taboo”. He has said, “I made the decision to talk about it because there are an awful lot of actors who don’t talk about it, which I thought was just absurd.”  

Concluding Remarks 

James Nesbitt’s hair transplant has been much talked about, and refreshingly so, the actor was quite open about it from the beginning. For him, this surgery was important both professionally and personally.

However, this sentiment is not just limited to celebrities. Many people feel that way when they experience hair loss. The first thing to do in that scenario is to get diagnosed by a medical professional. 

Reviewed and Approved by Trichologist Yaprak Yazan

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