Due to widely different genetic makeups, there is no particular age when a person can expect to start balding. More severe and extensive in men, balding signs usually start appearing past the age of 30. However, it can be very distressing for people to lose their hair at very young ages – below 25. Hormonal changes and thyroid diseases are the commonest cause of early on-set hair loss, and most people dealing with this would often spend a lot of the following years trying to find permanent solutions.
For international hair transplant specialist and mentor, Joe Tillman, losing his hair noticeably at the age of 17 was not how he planned his transition to adulthood. He was troubled but there weren’t many options for a kid in the ‘80s. Tillman is the founder and CEO of Hair Transplant Mentor, an online platform with a mission to educate and empower people with unbiased information on hair restoration processes. Tillman is a renowned hair clinic promoter and the first hair restoration education blogger in the world, since he championed the earliest blogs and online movement about the process.
After several years of trying out fruitless remedies for his severely ravaged hairline, Tillman tried his first hair transplant surgery in 1992. He’d been pumped with excitement but a permanent shock loss after the surgery left him worse off than he’d been before. The results had been so bad that he had to opt for a second surgery in less than a year. Again, he was disappointed and left to his fate for years with a transplanted hairline that was “poorly angled, pluggy, and looked like ant legs sticking out of my forehead.”
One lucky break
Joe’s fortune with his hair troubles turned around for the better in early 2002 when he met Dr. Jerry Wong, a hair transplant specialist based in Vancouver. The images and testimonials on the website’s gallery had been almost too good, and as someone who had already been through the disappointment, Tillman knew better than to believe anything until he saw for himself. However, after meeting with three past patients of the clinic, he decided to take the chance.
“I pushed on and had my surgery,” he said in an interview. “I knew from the first glimpse I was able to get of my hair during a washroom break during surgery that what I was receiving was something special. I took pictures of my head at various stages of the surgery. This allowed me to start sharing what happened to me on a small website with my family back east.”
As Tillman’s hair finally started growing back, he’d already been posting about the process so much that he became an authority on hair transplant information. People trusted him and so many depended on his opinions and recommendations. Eventually, Tillman delved into the world of clinical promotion and collaboration when the clinic that had performed his transplant hired him to promote their services. He accepted the job but on the terms that he would be paid a salary and not the usual commission when a person opts for surgery. He wanted people to know all the facts, understand all the options, accept all the possible realities, and to always consider surgery as a last option.
As time went on, he began to expand his knowledge by observing the actual physical work done by the clinic. He said: “I spent time learning how to do what the technicians do. Working with microscopes to dissect follicular units is very difficult if you’ve never done it before so when technicians can perform their job for hours on end, every day, they do so at a very high level, especially for better clinics.”
Blazing a trail by helping others
Years later, Tillman realized that he had the potential to do so much more in the field. His mere affiliation to the clinic was pulling clients from all over the world, making him a powerful influencer in the growing industry. He had severally told people on his websites that “the perfect hair clinic” does not exist. However, the mere fact that he was attached to a particular clinic was all the pitching some people needed.
Tillman’s eagerness to see more people embarking on hair transplant journeys fully armed with unbiased knowledge spurred him onto creating a full consultation and mentorship brand, the Hair Transplant Mentor. He works with a group of excellent doctors and highly reputable clinics to provide the most patient-specific services to people looking for safe transplants. His website and YouTube channel have become repositories for thoroughly screened information about clinics, doctors, and all the processes in hair restoration. He is also the co-host of The Bald Truth, a hair loss radio show anchored by Spencer Kobren.
Tillman said: “I pioneered the idea of the “online consultation”. I’m unique in that I don’t sell anything and I actually try to talk people out of undergoing surgery which is what my clients offer. By creating an education-based platform my subscribers become better patients because they better understand the realities of their decisions.”
Just recently, in light of his many remarkable contributions in the field, Tillman was named Manager of Medical Media for Global Hair Loss Summit 2020, the largest online hair restoration conference in the world. He travels all over Europe, The Middle East, and America to speak at hair loss conferences and visit clinics to be screened for his online platforms.
Tillman said about his position in the industry: “Empowering patients with real information they can use, to be brutally honest about the realities of the industry, is the only way to truly pass on a useful education.”