What is Non-Surgical Hair Replacement?

Medically approved by
Dr Earim Chaudry
Last updated
14th July 2021

In 30 seconds…

What is non-surgical hair replacement? It’s a new treatment option for men with male pattern baldness. Often referred to as a hair replacement ‘system’, it works by using a membrane and real hair attachments to cover the area that is affected by thinning hair or a receding hairline.

Pros and cons? Well, it’s non-surgical, firstly — meaning that you don’t have to go under the knife. And it’s affordable and gives guaranteed results. On the other hand, though, it’s not just a one-time solution. Your hair replacement system will itself need replacing, and a lot of maintenance, too.

The alternative to both surgical and non-surgical hair replacement is science-backed treatment, such as Finasteride and Minoxidil. These are proven to support men with male pattern hair loss to naturally regrow their hair.

Finding the Right Hair Loss Solution

Male pattern baldness (MPB) — or androgenetic alopecia — is tough. Affecting the vast majority of men as we age, MPB can trigger all sorts of negative emotions, from frustration to embarrassment to nostalgia.

However, a receding hairline or a thinning crown is no longer a necessary part of growing older. Instead, from surgery to medication to hair loss shampoo, there are many options to support you in protecting your head of hair.

Here, we’re looking at one hair loss treatment that’s less well known: non-surgical hair replacement. It’s a new technology that replaces your hair with a replacement system. Does it work? And what are the pros and cons? We’ll cover them all right here.

What is Non-Surgical Hair Replacement?

Non-surgical hair replacement is a type of hair loss solution. It works by covering your head with what is known as a hair replacement system.

Think of it like a high-end toupee or hairpiece. A membrane is securely attached to your scalp, which is then covered by new hair (and in many cases, actual human hair). The results can be great, as modern technologies have almost perfected the art of disguising the system, making the replacement hair look completely natural.

As the name suggests, they’re usually marketed as an alternative to the hair transplant. That’s the surgical process where you’ll go under the knife to have hair follicles taken from one part of your body or scalp and moved to a balding area. This procedure is notoriously very expensive, and not everyone wants to undergo surgery.

Non-surgical hair replacement avoids this. However, before you go and invest in these replacement products, let’s talk through the pros and cons.

Should I Get a Hair Replacement System? The Pros and Cons

Every hair loss solution has its advantages and drawbacks. Before you opt for any particular treatment, it’s best to consider these in detail. 

So, the pros and cons of non-surgical hair replacement? Let’s start with the advantages.

The advantages of hair replacement

  • Instant, guaranteed results. Once the hair system has been made, you’re all set with a full head of hair. There aren’t any other hair loss solutions that offer such quick results that you can rely on.
  • Convincing look. With the most high-tech hair replacement products, no one should notice that you’re wearing a hair solution. Hair system specialists can produce a realistic hairline with a natural shape and perfect colour match with your existing hair.
  • More affordable than a hair transplant. Transplants are notoriously pricey solutions for balding. Hair replacements make things more manageable.
  • No side effects. As hair replacement is a non-medical, non-invasive solution, you won’t experience any side effects, as long as the product is of good quality. If not, it’s possible to experience irritation or a reaction to the membrane or its adhesive.

The downsides?

It all sounds good so far. But remember, artificial hair replacement might not be the best option for everyone. Why?

  • Maintenance. A hair replacement product may need to sit on your scalp all day. That means that it will need regular washing and attentive maintenance. To ensure it stays at the highest possible quality, this could become quite time-consuming.
  • Replacing your hair replacement. The cruel irony is that, even with the best maintenance, you’ll eventually need to replace your hair replacement. It will lose hairs over time and, considering it’s not growing, it will suffer wear and tear.
  • Not your real hair. While it does a pretty good job of replacing your hair — and while it may boost your self-confidence — it’s not your real hair. This is something that can put some people off.
  • Often low quality. Some incredible hair replacement specialists can do a fantastic job. However, others might not offer the high quality you’re seeking. According to the American Hair Loss Association, 70% of people who use hair replacement products are unsatisfied.

Other Non-Surgical Male Pattern Baldness Treatments

Hair replacement systems are not the only non-surgical solutions for MPB out there. Two of the most successful treatments for male hair loss are non-surgical. What are they? Finasteride and Minoxidil.

Finasteride

Finasteride is a medicine that tackles MPB by blocking the root cause of hair loss — a hormone known as dihydrotestosterone, or DHT. This hormone causes your hair follicles to weaken and shrink, and ultimately stop producing hair.

However, Finasteride intervenes in the process that produces DHT in your body. As a result, hair follicles recover and hair can regrow. While it doesn’t give you the instant results of hair replacement, in one study from 2012, 87% of men who used it showed signs of natural hair regrowth over time.

The best bit? Rather than any complex maintenance routine, all you need to do is take a pill once a day. 

Minoxidil

Minoxidil is an alternative medicine that is applied topically to the scalp. It helps to promote the healthy flow of blood to the hair follicles on the scalp, bringing the oxygen and nutrients they need for healthy growth.

Two-thirds of men who use Minoxidil see hair regrowth. It provides a natural option that can return your hairline to its full glory, without the hassle of a hairpiece.

The Complete Hair Loss Plan

Finasteride & Minoxidil

This powerful combo promotes hair growth by blocking DHT – a hormone linked to hair loss – and by increasing blood flow around your follicles.


Best for
Overall thinning hair
Effectiveness
Over 9/10 Men
Contains
One-a-day tablets (Finasteride) / Daily Spray (Minoxidil)

Key Takeaways

What is non-surgical hair replacement? Essentially, it’s an advanced, high-tech hairpiece; a hair loss solution that provides instant results without the need for medical intervention or surgery. However, with many low-quality providers out there, it can be difficult to find a convincing product.

If it’s not for you, Finasteride and Minoxidil are medical alternatives that have been proven to deliver results time and again.   

References

  1. American Hair Loss Association – Hair Replacement – https://www.americanhairloss.org/hair_replacement/introduction.html

  2. Akio SatoAkira Takeda (2012). Evaluation of efficacy and safety of finasteride 1 mg in 3177 Japanese men with androgenetic alopecia – https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21980923/

  3. Jan Rundegren (2004). A one-year observational study with minoxidil 5% solution in Germany: results of independent efficacy evaluation by physicians and patients- https://www.jaad.org/article/S0190-9622(03)03692-2/fulltext

While we've ensured that everything you read on the Health Centre is medically reviewed and approved, information presented here is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. It should never be relied upon for specific medical advice. If you have any questions or concerns, please talk to your doctor.

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