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A schoolboy whose confidence was rocked after he started to develop bald patches has had fake hair tattooed on his head.
Balding can cripple the self-esteem of middle aged men, with many resorting to regrowth foams, hair transplants or always wearing a hat. So it is easy enough to imagine how hair loss could affect a teenager.
Jake Reed, 16, from Peterborough, UK, developed alopecia areata a year and a half ago, resulting in circular bald spots developing and eventually robbing him of most of his hair.
Prior to this he was outgoing and gregarious at school, but taunting from other pupils left him feeling extremely self-conscious and reluctant to leave the house.
His mum, Caroline, said a teacher helped him to cope with the problem on a daily basis by using a coloured powder, but Jake's hair loss still had a huge impact on his personality and quality of life.
She said: "They had a brown powder product that they would put on the big circle of baldness to match the colour of his hair and disguise it a little.
"In the morning she would put it on, then lunchtime she would put it on again if it had been raining. It really helped him, if the teacher wasn't in school to sort his bald patches he would often come home.
"One day he was going through a doorway and the sixth form girls were just pointing at him, laughing and giggling.
"He called me right after that and told me he was coming home because he couldn't deal with it."
Desperate to help her son overcome the issue, Caroline eventually stumbled upon the option of scalp micropigmentation, whereby thousands of ink dots are used to create the illusion of a short buzz cut.
From there, Caroline and Jake took the brave decision to fly to New York for the six hour procedure, as tattoos are illegal for under 18s in the UK.
Jake said: "I was very nervous but I pushed through it. Six hours felt long but it was really good actually and it turned out great."
And for those wondering what a six hour scalp tattoo feels like, Jake said: "It was like a mosquito bite over and over again, a sort of annoying pain really."
His mum is confident the unusual tattoo will have a positive impact on Jake's future.
She said: "He looks fantastic, it will change the rest of his life and give him confidence to become the man he's going to become."
Who'd have thought a head tattoo could be discreet... or positively impact someone's future.
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