Turkey as a travel destination offers dozens of hair-raising attractions for the adventurous traveler, but recently the country has seen an influx of visitors looking for an altogether different experience – men in search of facial hair implants.
The Guardian newspaper reports that Turkey’s cosmetic surgery industry is positively booming, with around fifty intrepid male tourists arriving in Istanbul’s clinics every single day to undergo the procedure, mainly from Arab countries.
According to the report, its largely cultural reasons that are driving this desire for more facial hair among Middle Easterners. Mustaches in particular are viewed as a sign of seniority and virility in many Arab cultures, and consequently men from the Gulf are arriving in Turkey in their droves now that they’ve heard it’s possible to have thicker whiskers slapped on their upper lips.
Patients undergo local anesthetic before the procedure, which involves transplanting hair follicles from ‘hairier’ parts of the body to somewhere considerably more desirable. The procedure isn’t cheap however, costing anything from $2,000 to $7,000 a shot, although that hasn’t put off legions of Arab visitors keen to improve their looks.
Dr. Selahattin Tulunay, who runs a clinic in Istanbul’s fashionable Nisantasi area, told the Guardian that he usually performs around 60 such procedures a month.
“For some men who look young and junior, they think a mustache is a must to look senior, more professional and wise. They think it is prestigious,” Tulunay explains.
Such is the popularity of ‘facial hair holidays’ that some travel companies have begun offering specialist packages for those seeking a more hirsute look about themselves, with all-inclusive trips starting at just $2,300. The package includes the procedure itself, followed by four days sightseeing while the patient recovers from the ordeal.