HatingHats

The MHT Ball Starts Rolling !

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So, this coming Monday in LA, Aldemar gets to work on the head that is currently being used as an anti-satellite beam weapon by the US Navy.  I can neither confirm nor deny that the shine from my scalp has been used to shoot down seven Chinese spy satellites, but the Navy is truly upset that one of their best weapons is being retrofitted with MHT, and will be decommissioned.  (they decided to cut costs on the rail gun project by going with my scalp instead) 

I am scheduled for three treatments on June 11th, July 18th and August 29th and hopefully that will do it.  I spaced out the treatments on purpose so that I can see the fade effects very clearly and take my time to assess any lightening of pigmentation, etc...    I will post some pictures pre-treatment later this evening or tomorrow morning to show my (sad) Norwood 4 level.

And if any folks new to the forum have questions, feel free to ask me and I will update with the best answers I have as I go thru the treatment.

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Yes, I have been told that Aldemar will be doing all my treatments Budock.  I have also been told that he will be doing many of the treatments in June, so you may get him as well.

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Thanks guys.  It is just like Cyclops from the X-men comic books.  If I go into the LA clinic and unsheath my dome without proper precautionary steps, the whole clinic will go up in an intense blaze in only a few seconds  :)

Posting pics later tonight of the before treatment.

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Pictures coming in a bit, but first some commentary

Okay, had first treatment yesterday with Aldemar in LA on June 11th, 2012 and give it a rating of eight out of ten (8/10) for my first round.  Pics are coming in a bit when I finish resizing them and posting them to Photobucket.  Below, I will explain all the good, the average and the bad.

First, I will address some of the most common questions:

Do the MHT dots look real ? - The short answer is a resounding "yes".  I took my lab's optical laser micrometer with me and the MHT dots on my head are 130 to 300 Um in diameter.  An average hair on a caucasian scalp is about ~ 77 to 100 Um, so the pigmentation (at least on me) is very, very accurate.  In many of the photos guys post a day or two after MHT, the dots appear larger but these are actually the scabs you are seeing from the dermis being injected.  That is why you see what I call the spotty look (the scabs are roughly 300 to 800 Um in diameter) but that is part of the normal healing process after each treatment. The scabing process has already started on me as well.

What causes the MHT dots to be larger or smaller ? - Primarily the skill of the practitioner using the tattoo machine.  If the practitioner applies light pressure to the needle, the dot is small and if the pressure is greater, the dot is larger in diameter.  Items like I previously mentioned in other posts are very important, like the manner in which your DNA codes for your scalp collagen matrix and its lumen diameter, but these factors are more important months or years down the road as concerns fading.

Do they match color and blend into your balding hairline well ? - Yes.  They apply MHT right up to the balding hairline and then sprinkle (feather) MHT down into the old hairline.  The color match is a black/white scale from very light (something like a shade 48) down to a very dark shade for perhaps African American clients (something like a 20 or below).  All hair in caucasians and asians appears as a blueish/gray when shaved or in the first day or so color matching is really black or white matching (even in very fair haired clients). This enables an easy and repeatable darkness scale matching.

What is the pain like ? - Overall, it was a 5 to 6 out of ten for me.  (a one for me is a minor skin abrasion and a ten for me is a kidney stone which caused me to go from completely fine to bent over screaming and vomiting within one minute flat).  I have a 24 inch diameter head (which is about the 95% percentile for men in North America) so I have a large surface area that had to be covered (I was a Norwood 4 before the first treatment).  When Aldemar started with the needle on my back crown the pain was 2 or 3 out of ten.  By the time he was going over some of the cranial nerve branches near my upper temples, the pain was 7 out of ten, and I could only take it for 30 to 40 seconds at a time. There are also two types of pain; the pain from the needle when active and the second background pain from the entire scalp that has been injured.  Once my first treatment was over, I was immediately fine and felt a very, very minor soreness much like receiving a sunburn on your scalp .  Now, 30 hours later I feel no pain and really no soreness either.

Do you have to sign a legal waiver preventing you from saying negative things online, etc...? - No.  There are several documents you sign which are waivers against infection, not using proper precautions with your MHT, disclosing prior medical conditions etc, but their is no legal clause included which prevents you from criticizing them at a later date  (which, in good conscience I could not have signed).  Unlike, two other smp providers in North America, HIS does not go for this slime ball stuff.  That means they have confidence in their technique and in their practitioners.  And, if there are unsatisfied clients, they are open to honest criticism which might help them improve.  Awesome.

What is the ink made of ? - Aldemar said the exact mix was a company secret but some of the literature I signed said the ink is mainly iron oxides with organics like beta carotene mixed in.  So, the final answer is that it is a mix of metal oxides and hydrocarbons.  I suspect the iron oxides (which is the main pigment types used in most modern standardized tattoo inks) are used primarily for those with dark brown to black hair, and the beta carotene chains are used more in clients with naturally blond or red hair.  This means for the majority of clients, the fade and long term durability will be similar to modern tattoos, as I have spoken of in other posts.

Now, to the appointment itself:

The Good - Aldemar knows what he is doing and has a deft hand.  I am by nature a very skeptical person (as is my wife) and we both looked over my first treatment closely.  Except for the redness, it looks like like real shaved hair.  The dots look like follicles and it appears nice in most lighting conditions except for some bright light directly overhead. Aldemar also continually moved the needle around and this helped to keep the pain down.  He would hit an area for 30 sec to one minute and then move to the opposing side of the scalp.  He also created temples for me that I never had (even when I was 20 years old) with a very light and skillful touch on the needle. Overall, for appearance after the first treatment, I rate my new look as a 8.5 or 9 out of 10.  Not overjoyed yet, but pretty happy, and realistic that this is a process which has several steps.

The Mediocre - The frontal hairline is too straight.  I dont believe this is a fault of Aldemar, but rather the manner in which HIS is training all their practitioners.  I asked Aldemar for the most broken up and soft hair line and what I have after session is a pretty straight line.  It does not appear fakey, but it is rather straight.  I wish I could get Aldemar to bring the needle down 2 to 10 mm below the hairline to add in random dots and really break up the hairline much more.  I will work towards this in session two.  (if Damien or Ian read this sometime this week, please send me a private message as I would even like to be an experimental test subject in this area if need be (even if I have to sign a legal waiver)).

The Overall Hairline - I think by nature, HIS trains their practitioners to be conservative with the hairline.  Especially, with the first treatment. After all, going high on the first treatment is only prudent as it is permanent (barring laser removal)  But, I have always had a very high hairline (which I hated, even when I was 20 years old)  and wanted a look that is fairly close to gallery picture of Andrew.   At first, Aldemar wanted me to go with a hairline that was almost identical to what I had when I was 20 years old. I really had to pressure him to get my hairline down until we agreed on a middle ground between what I wanted and what he first drew in.  I didnt want to upset him obviously, but I also dont want the look of a 60 year old man.  I mean no disrespect to HIS, but many clients dont want to pay $3000 or more to have a high receding hairline (although, I can truly understand those clients who do, and want a very natural look).  So, I was able to get 50% of what I wanted, but I had to fight for it too.

The Bad - Actually, I would not call it bad, but just a bit disorganized.  It seems like HIS really is a stand up business, but their scheduling and appointments calendar needs one overall director who has a staff meeting (by teleconference or Skype) with his/her practitioners every morning and sets the agenda for the day, so that everyone is very clear on their clients, their meeting times and their obligations.  HIS' only negative for me is that speaking with different people produces slightly different answers and the right hand doesnt seem to know what the left hand is doing.

So, overall, after round one, I would say it was about an 8 or 9 out of ten.  The treatment looks nice and I will make more comments later tonight.  Photos in a bit after I get my son from daycare.

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TooSmooth - The dots becoming bigger IMHO is very much an individual question that really does depend on the collagen structure in your upper dermis.  Like any human bell curve (height, weight, intelligence, etc..) I think most people on average will have a very small amount of dot enlarging (say from 150 Um to perhaps 200, or something on that order - this is an educated guess).  Unfortunately, collagen lumen diameter cannot be measured so it is not possible to tell if you will be doing fine or be in that rare group that might have larger dots down the road.  As to fading, for caucasians, asians and African americans, the inks are mainly metal oxides I suspect, so you can expect fading similar to a modern well done tattoo. This means slight fading on the order of 5 to 15 years, so a small touch up will be required every ~5 to 8 years.  These are my best guesses and I am not a dermatologist or medical professional.  For those with red or naturally blond hair, the pigment is more hydrocarbon based and likely includes beta-carotene.  This is more susceptible to UV degradation from the sun and more easily fades.  Hard to say, as I dont have enough info to make an educated guess in those cases.

I do believe MHT is a process and not a one shot and you are done for life deal.  I think the educated client should expect a touch up at least once a decade as part of maintaining the look as a reasonable guess.  Some may need a touch up every ~ 3 to 5 years.  Fortunately, HIS charges the hourly rate for touch ups and seems to be interested in treating people fairly, which is what anyone wants in a long term business relationship.

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Warning - Below are the photos before my first treatment.  Viewing these could damage your eyesight or possibly destroy the pixel elements of your computer screen.  Extreme caution and protective eyeware should be employed, much as when viewing a solar eclipse. 

(also, my wife is apparently new to using a zoom lenses, so apologies for the fuzziness)

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I apologize if you cannot see that well as it appears I am completely bald and my wife overshot the flash.  I know I look like Anakin Skywalker after his disfigurement, but I am actually a Norwood 4 and have hair on the sides and back with fuzz on top.  This is in the afternoon after I shaved it that morning with a razor.

 

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And this is 20 hours after my first treatment.  Pay attention to the side shot where you can easily see my real hair versus the MHT dots.  As you can see, Aldemar created temples for me that I never had in real life.  The redness is typical for the first few days after a treatment and you can see my new hairline which will hopefully be a bit like Andrew's gallery shot beginning to form.  Remember, this is treatment number one, where they go lighter and set the hairline higher to get a good gauge of things before the real meat comes in treatment number two.

 

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I posted this when I first joined the forum awhile back, but will repost this since this is sort of like my diary.  Here is a bit on my background:

Currently, a 41 year old caucasian male (white – non-hispanic) of
Scotish heritage who resides in the San Francisco Bay Area and is at
either Level III or the beginning of Level IV on the Norwood chart. No
previous hair transplants or operations/MHT/ or tatooing of any kind.
(also never used any medications or scalp drugs, except for Rogaine
which I tried for four months and stopped due to scalp itchiness and
dryness when I was 29 years old). Thirteen years married with one small
son, so considering the MHT process more from the anti-hat/anti-wig
wearing angle than from the younger single man angle. Began to lose hair
at age 27 and by age ~33, it was clearly noticeable, especially with my
already high forehead. Since then, balding has slowed, and if I follow
like my father, will stop at around the Norwood Level IV stage. Have
some density of hair in the back and weaker at the sides with just a
little bit left on top including peachfuzz and none at the apex of the
back crown. Definitely not enough though to get really dense coverage
if I considered a major hair transplant (which I will not, due to the
scarring, pain, difficulty in finding the correct doctor, overpriced
expense, etc...). Despite having found my wife fairly early, went thru
grad school with several colleagues who had great heads of hair and by
age 30 began to feel like the odd man out with the see thru scalp at
social functions. By age 31 or so I began to wear a hat most of the time
and by age 33, I was never caught outside my home without it on.
Remember a trip to Italy with wife several years back when the Swiss
Guard at the Vatican motioned for me to remove my hat upon entering St
Peters, and I cringed for the next three hours I was inside constantly
moving to cover my head with my hand. Although, not anti-religious, it got so bad that if someone invited me or my wife to a
church service or formal dinner (where hats had to be removed), I would not attend. From age 33 to age 37, I just got
some clippers and trimmed it to about 10mm long all over, which was
mehhh, okay, but looked a bit like a balding serviceman (and, I still kept wearing the hat). At age 37, when
I landed a university teaching position, I bought an expensive custom
made human hair wig and it looked fabulous. I was transformed from
Archie Bunker's head to Fabio instantly and most people standing from
further than about 3 feet/ 1 meter away never noticed. The problem was some of my
intelligent colleagues who I had to constantly work with in close
proximity could guess that something was up. Plus I didnt like
presenting myself as a 'fake' as it were. It is also tight fitting, hot
and a royal pain in the arse if I want to do a 5k run or swim, etc...
And so, that journey has brought me to HIS, and beginning the treatments. I was shaving my head twice a week with a wet razor
anyway to fit on the wig, and I am considering the look where the top of
the head is dotted dark enough with MHT to last for 2 to 3 days before
shaving it again. And my goal is to eventually end up looking a bit like Andrew's case study and gallery photos but without the temples coming in as far. And, with a fresh shave, I am hoping for a bit darker pigment on top compared to the sides, a bit like some US Marines have with a high and tight haircut.

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I will also post some answers to some other common questions:

What is the needle used and how large is it - It is what is called a standard 3 Round by tattoo artists and it is 3 steel needles soldered to a base in a circular pattern.  This is the smallest standard size needle that is used in large quantities by tattoo practitioners and each individual needle has a base of 450 Um in diameter with a tip of 30 Um in diameter (a red blood cell for comparison is often 6 to 8 Um in diameter and a human egg cell from a female ovary is about 100 Um in diameter) and is under high magnification, a triangular wedge needle at the tip (ie.. it is shaped like a sharp triangle). Tattoo artists use the 3 round needle for fine detail work commonly. Under light pressure the needle can make dots about as fine as 100 Um and under heavier hand pressure from the practitioner, it can make dots up to perhaps 900 Um (or 9/10ths of one millimeter (mm)).

How long does the treatment take - It depends on your hair loss level.  The first 30 min is reading and signing paperwork.  The next one hour to 1 1/2 hours is setting the hairline and discussing the look you are after with your practitioner.  After that, it depends on your hair loss amount.  For me (a Norwood 4), it took almost 2 hours and 40 minutes to do treatment number one, but I have a very large head.  Aldemar said that Norwood 2's often take 30 min or so and a Norwood 7 takes about five hours.  This is not continuous needle use as the practitioner does move the needle around and you get many small breaks (say 10 to 20 seconds)  but also take larger breaks of five to ten minutes every 45 min or so.

What payment do they accept - Cash (duh), debit cards and credit cards.  Those using credit cards are charged a 2% fee I believe (not sure).

How did the actual payment go ? - It went fine.  I received my first treatment and Aldemar looked up my prior email quote when we finished on his smartphone and I paid one half of my quoted amount during my first treatment.  No shadiness or pressure, ... just like buying an item at Amazon.com

Will post more questions I often see with answers as they come to mind.

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Another major question that people often ask, is How does it look in direct lighting ?  Especially a sunny day at the ocean for example.

Before I started the treatments, I took refractive index readings off my head.  For those who dont like physics, the refractive index is basically a measure of how light propagates through a medium.  It is also when adjusted a measure of how much light is reflected by an object (which for MHT clients is the shiny scalp). This will give us an unbiased exact number on how an MHT scalp appears under different lighting conditions (and in comparison to a bald scalp) Will post all the details tomorrow.

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Wow, thank you for posting such a comprehensive account of your experience so far. I know many people here will be reading with great interest.

Could you drop me a PM with your full name and clinic location please. I can then pass your message to Ian.

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dont need numbers to know how it looks under light. go look in the mirror =p

i think those concerned are more so with how the mht looks under light. it looks dotty and gappy for some. if this is the same for everyone fair enough

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Thanks for the comments guys.  Feel free to comment freely even if you think it looks poor (the first session is done light on purpose though).  I realize I am just an average looking guy and so I am hoping to just get back to normal and my ego is fairly toughened after years of dealing with hair loss, LOL. 

Another comment I will make is that MHT looks best on guys who maintain their weight.  About 38% of adult men in the USA and 36% of men in the UK are medically obese (BMI over 28) and I realized before this treatment started, after a month of putting little test dots on my head with a marker that for the shaved look to look its best, I need to drop weight. I am 5 feet 11 inches tall and currently weigh 188 to 192 pounds depending upon how many garden plants my wife makes me plant on the weekends.  And that is too high to achieve best results with MHT (what can I say, academics dont get out as much).  My eventual goal is get back down to ~170 pounds and look lean and mean.  Part of the reason why slim guys look better with MHT is that the fatty tissue on the sides of the head and neck are obviously larger in obese individuals which emphasizes your real hair to the detriment of the MHT.  In more narrow guys, the sides of the head and neck are more narrow with your real hair being on a more vertical angle which places the emphasis on the MHT.

More later today on the refractive index and light absorption.

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Haha !  Actually, more just like an interest observer who is trying this as much for scientific purposes as for cosmetic appearance.  I can say that Aldemar surprised me by saying that several clients have come in with no idea of what hairline they want.  Since this is for life (barring laser removal), I was tempted to think that every client would be drawing all kinds of hairlines on their scalp for several weeks before treatment time came so they know exactly what they prefer. I guess some folks just prepare in different ways.  I know for myself that if something is for the rest of my life (or many decades), I want to know ALOT about it.

As you can see from this thread, finding doctors for myself or my family is very hard.  I find they often dont like to be asked detailed medical questions that challenge their knowledge base and I am not usually satisfied until I find individuals who can answer all questions honestly (and in my experience that is perhaps ~20 to 30% of doctors).  Fortunately, (so far) I dont have to go to them often.

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