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Women Turn to Eyebrow Transplants to Improve Brow Fullness

John Slater/Digital Vision/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- When it comes to eyebrows, thin is no longer in.  But if you’ve been waxing and plucking for years, you may find that your eyebrow hair just won’t grow back.

Some people with that problem are turning to eyebrow transplants.

Take Pamela Penrose, for instance.  For 10 years, she watched as bald spots appeared in her eyebrows.  She was constantly filling them in with a pencil hoping for a better look.

“It’s a little embarrassing and it affects my self-esteem,” Penrose told ABC's Good Morning America.

Penrose turned to Dr. Sanusi Umar for an eyebrow transplant.  Doctors used to transplant head hairs, but Umar pioneered a way to harvest hair from a woman’s arms, legs or nape of the neck.

Hair from those areas “much more resembles the natural eyebrow,” Umar, of Derm Hair Clinic in Los Angeles and Redondo Beach, Calif., told GMA.

“It’s slow to grow, small in appearance and much more resembles the natural eyebrow,” he said.

It’s painstaking work.  Each hair is transplanted individually, and the entire procedure lasts about two-and-a-half hours.

GMA went back to visit Penrose three weeks after she had the transplant.

“My eyebrows look a lot larger and thicker and exactly what I wanted,” she said, adding: “I feel like a totally different person.  I feel much more confident.”

Eyebrow implants are not cheap -- they cost between $6,000 and $8,000, depending on how much hair needs to be replaced.  But there is another alternative that women can consider first: Rogaine.

Rogaine is the anti-balding medication used mostly by men, but there is a women’s version.  Dr. Doris Day, a dermatologist, said her patients have had good luck getting eyebrow hair to grow in fuller using it.

But be careful how you apply it.  If you get the treatment on other parts of your face, you could end up growing unwanted hair there.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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