NEW YORK (Reuters) - Young men wearing pork-pie hats, knitted snoods and stylishly drab clothing are crowding doctors' waiting rooms in a burgeoning trend: Brooklyn hipsters seeking beard transplants.
Toting photos of perpetually scruffy-faced actors like Jake Gyllenhaal and Ryan Gosling, an increasing number of men in their late 20s to early 40s are undergoing the procedure that can cost up to $7,000, Yael Halaas, MD, a facial plastic surgeon based in Manhattan said on Wednesday.
"The demand for it has definitely increased," agreed Jeffrey Epstein, MD, a New York facial plastic surgeon who said he did 175 beard transplant procedures in 2013. "One reason is that whole hipster, casual way people like to look."
Demand for the out-patient procedure completed under local anesthesia, which involves transplanting hair from the top of the head to the face, is growing quickly among those living in Brooklyn's coolest neighborhoods.
"They are young people who live in Brooklyn, look cool and hip and tend to work in the visual arts," Halaas said. "I've had pork-pie hats in my office and that kind of beige and olive wardrobe they tend to wear."
New York's coolest go as far away as Florida to undergo the one-day transformation without raising suspicion.
"We're seeing Brooklyn hipsters," said Glenn Charles, a cosmetic surgeon from Boca Raton, Florida, who said a third of his beard transplant patients are from New York. "They are hiding away for a little while. It takes a week or so to heal up so you'll have remnants of the surgery show for a week."
Some smooth-faced young men ask for bushy beards, others are looking for a chic square of hair under the lower lip, known as a soul patch, Charles said.
Some patients seek to fill in bald patches caused by scarring, sometimes from acne, others have difficulty growing any facial hair at all on their own.
While 90 percent of the transplanted hair tends to flourish, it can take up to 10 months to see the full fuzzy result, Halaas said.
Editing by Ellen Wulfhorst and Gunna Dickson