Viewers of Saturday nights X Factor may have a little more than they bargained for when they tuned in for last weeks performances from few remaining acts left on the show. In fact, eagle-eyed fans might have noticed something a little different about Louis Walsh, the music manager who brought us Westlife and Boyzone.
It appears that the 59-year-old manager has had a hair transplant, similar to the one that Wayne Rooney had this year. And if reports are to be believed, Louis is so happy with the results that he has even passed on the details of his surgeon to fellow judge – Gary Barlow, who, as the cameras have panned backwards, has been seen showcasing a rather prominent bald spot on the ITV talent show.
It is believed that Louis’s friend – Simon Cowell first alerted him to the fact that he was losing his hair and prompted him to do something about it, after he already told him to have his eye bags removed. In an interview with the Times magazine, Louis says, “He came up to me and said, ‘you know, you’re starting to lose your hair, dear’. “I said ‘I am not, dear! And anyway, you’re going grey!’’ But evidently it appears that Cowell persisted and said, “Darling, you are. You’re losing your hair.”
It was only after Louis caught a glimpse of himself on a camera shot on the X Factor that he decided to do something about it. Commenting, “I could have just left it and got on with things, but with TV today, everything is in high-definition, and people notice every little thing. And if you’re getting on, and you’re on TV with a lot of young people, you have to look after yourself. So I thought ‘I don’t want a bald spot! I’m going to get this sorted.”
Although the treatment usually costs around £30,000, Louis had the transplant done for free at the HRBR clinic in Dublin in August. He had admitted that he did support the idea of ‘having a bit of work done’ after he had seen the results of footballer Wayne Rooney’s hair transplant. When questioned if he would have a hair transplant, Louis jokingly said, “If I had to, I would go down that route. I think it’s called maintenance. If it keeps me on the X Factor I absolutely would.”
It is not surprising as he has already had an eye lift in 2009 after his supposed ‘friend’ Simon Cowell told him to get rid of the bags under his eyes. It seems that whatever Simon suggests, Louis does! At least it is not like hair transplants where you do not know whose hair you are ending up with. A source close to Louis stated that, “It’s all Louis’s own hair – he just had some of it moved further up his head! He had it done in the summer, but it takes quite a while for it to grow back and cover the thinning spot. He’s really happy with the results and he’s given Gary the number of the clinic!”
Louis is not the only man in showbiz to opt for this method as James Nesbitt, Jason Gardiner, Wayne Rooney, Gordon Ramsay and Duncan Bannatyne have all had hair transplants. Dr Maurice Collins carried out Mr Walsh’s treatment, which is also known as Ultra Refined Follicular Unit Transplantation (URFUT). This is where very thin strips of skin are taken from the back of the head and the follicles are separated into individual ones. Each follicle is then surgically implanted in the areas of the scalp where the hair is thinning and will produce two hairs that will continue to grow throughout the patient’s life. The surgery is a lengthy one, taking up to ten hours and it requires many technicians – surgeons, nurses and technicians, who work in shifts to extract the follicles under stereoscopic microscopes.
Louis apparently did not waste the time he spent undergoing the operation, he said he spent the time watching reading magazines and DVDs! Never one to shy away from publicity, he stated that, “I wanted to get the problem solved before it became a problem.‘It’s like going to the doctor and getting something done for your heart before it goes. It’s called maintenance. It’s not a wig or a syrup or an Irish jig. It’s just me, with my own hair, feeling better.”
So will fellow judge Gary Barlow take him up on his offer? He did admit that his hair was turning grey due to the stress and ‘sleepless nights’ he suffered while appearing on the X Factor but he may not need a transplant as yet. Since Wayne Rooney went public about his transplant this year, Dr Bessam Farjo, the medical director of the Institute of Trichologists, said he had seen requests for hair transplants ‘triple’ since he had the treatment. And it’s good news for Louis. Dr Farjo says, “At 59, it’s unlikely that Louis will recede much further or lose a substantial amount of hair, making him a great candidate for surgery.
Hair loss can be quite unpredictable in its early stages, with the full extent of loss difficult to determine in men under the age of 30. Men under this age should consider taking preventative drugs such as propecia, in an effort to slow down or stop their hair loss. Louis has managed to conceal his hair loss quite well until now. We see a lot of patients who are tired of constantly trying to hide the fact that they’re losing their hair and want a solution. The recent surge in procedures amongst male celebrities demonstrates that perceptions around male hair loss are changing, it’s now seen as acceptable to do something about it. Thanks to the likes of Louis Walsh, the procedure has never been so popular.”
Louis has never looked so good in our opinion!