'I plucked my eyebrows until they stopped growing back': Delighted dentist, 30, reveals results of 3,500 transplant op
Trainee dentist Claire Culverwell restored overplucked brows to former glory with transplanted hair from her headNow Claire, 30, from Manchester, must trim brows every two weeks
British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons puts rising demand for op down to Kate's statement brow
15:12 GMT, 3 September 2012
A trainee dentist who had plucked her eyebrows until they no longer grew back has spoken today of her delight at having them replaced – using an eyebrow transplant.
Claire Culverwell spent 3,500 on the eyebrow transplant after over-plucking in her teens ruined her appearance.
The dental professional was left with just a few hairs on her brows after permanently damaging them by plucking for over 14 years with tweezers.
Delighted: LEFT, Claire Culverwell is pleased with the effect of her eyebrow transplant after years of plucking left her with almost no eyebrows at all RIGHT: Claire overplucked for years. 'It was the fashion,' she says now
Before the procedure, she was so short of confidence that she did not want to open the door without make-up on because she was so embarrassed over her looks.
Just as men have their thinning hair boosted with follicles taken from the backs of their heads, women can have their eyebrows thickened using the same technique.
The British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons has reported a surge in demand for the treatment, boosted, they say, by the current trend for bold eyebrows like those of the Duchess of Cambridge, currently the most high-profile member of the big brow brigade.
Claire's eyebrows were transformed during a six-hour operation at the Crown Clinic in Manchester.
In the pictures of Claire taken before the procedure, her eyebrows, which were no more than a thin line of hair, are barely noticeable.
The practitioner drew an outline to indicate where he would extend Claire's brows
The 'after' pictures – taken months after the operation when the new brows had fully grown in – show the brows restored closer to how they looked before over-plucking occurred.
Claire, 30, said she was thrilled with the results.
She said: 'This is big problem for thousand and thousands of women – especially for those around my age.
'It was very fashionable when I was a teenager to pluck your eyebrows – everyone was at it.
'I wanted to look like the celebrities at that time and, to have that look, you had to pluck your eyebrows.
'I carried on doing it over may years at home with tweezers and ended up permanently damaging my brows.
'A hair follicle only has a finite number of cycles of growth and if you pluck it too many times, you end up killing it off.
'That is what happened with me.
'I didn't understand the harm I was doing to my eyebrows in my teens and I was horrified when I finally learnt the truth in my twenties.
'It badly affected my confidence. I didn't like people seeing me without make-up – I would be reluctant to open the door if I hadn't used my eyebrow pencil.
'And obviously it affected me with men. You don't want your boyfriend to see your real eyebrows.
'I realised I had brought this on myself and I was a little embarrassed to seek treatment. I thought the only people who had eyebrow transplants were people who suffered from alopecia.'
Restored: The brows are now full and defined – but because the follicles are taken from Claire's head, she must trim them more regularly – cutting them every two weeks
Claire, from Manchester, eventually consulted the hair transplant surgeon Asim Shahmalak at the Crown Clinic just outside the city.
He carried out a transplant by removing a narrow strip of hair from the back of Claire's head, taking care to chose hair that most closely matched the colour and texture of her eyebrows.
The strip, which is around an inch long, contained 400 to 500 hairs, and each was painstakingly separated out under a microscope.
Inspiration: BAAPS say that the Duchess of Cambridge's statement eyebrows have led to women who had over-plucked their brows seeking to restore them
The individual hairs, still attached to their roots, were transplanted by Dr Shahmalak into small holes made in Claire's eyebrows using a fine needle and under local anaesthetic.
The one difference with her old brows is that new hair grows more quickly and needs to be trimmed every two weeks or so.
Claire, who works at Timeless Therapy House clinic in Whalley, Lancashire, said: 'I am so pleased with the results.
'It has boosted my confidence and made me feel so much more comfortable about my appearance. It is the best thing I have ever done.'
She said any women should seek expert help if they wanted to pluck their eyebrows.
'Don't do it yourself, is my advice,' Claire warned. 'You could end up doing permanent damage.'
Dr Shahmalak said that the Duchess of Cambridge had sparked interest in the procedure.
He said: 'Statement eyebrows are the new beauty must-have, but sadly many women have permanently damaged their eyebrows through over-plucking.
'For many women who crave fuller brows like the Duchess or stars such as Natalie Portman, the only solution is an eyebrow transplant.
'We have seen a big increase in interest in the procedure and many women, like Claire, have been delighted with the results.'