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MARK Gil feels younger and more confident with his new crown. RYAN LIM



The bald truth about Mark Gil

By Alex Vergara
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 05:06:00 06/01/2008

Filed Under: Fashion, Lifestyle & Leisure

MANILA, Philippines - Actor Mark Gil used to keep an arsenal of ?bald? jokes and expensive hair-growth products at home?from lotions to potions, from shampoos to hair sprays?in his losing battle with advanced male-pattern baldness.

Thanks to trichologists (hair and scalp experts) at Svenson, Gil, 47, now sports a full head of hair. The actor first started losing his hair in his mid-30s. After recently undergoing the hair center?s Transdermal Cosmetic Reconstruction (TCR), he now looks younger and feels more confident on and off screen.

Rid of all sorts of bottles, vials and swabs, his bathroom cabinet has also become roomier of late. Best of all, he?s now free to do more important things.

?I even used this imported hair-spray paint to hide my bald spot,? he says. ?Before that, I would ask my wife to shade any balding areas with her Max Factor eye pencil before I go to work.?

Apart from being tedious and time-consuming, such solutions were at best temporary and, dare we say, pathetic. Worse, a good number of these hair-growth products, he swears, don?t even work.

There was even a time he went to the United States to explore the possibility of having hair transplant. Alas, his healthy scalp didn?t offer enough hair bulbs to cover those balding swaths.

?I went home a bit disappointed,? he says. ?I was already resigned to the fact that I?d be bald for life until I visited Svenson. It turned out to be the best decision I?ve ever made to address the situation.?

After measuring Gil?s head, the attending trichologist took a sample of his hair before sending it together with his measurements to Svenson?s laboratory abroad.

While the hair center?s personnel worked on fashioning a so-called synthetic skin based on his measurements, another team began working on finding a match based on his hair sample. Svenson uses only human hair from healthy donors for this purpose.

Once they found a match, they started weaving the hair unto the synthetic skin. Two months later, a consultant at Svenson?s Tomas Morato Avenue branch attached the custom-made piece on Gil?s scalp, using a special kind of adhesive.

?It really works for me,? says Gil. ?I don?t feel like I?m wearing anything. Unlike weaves, people can?t readily tell from looking where the TCR ends and the real hair begins.?

Since TCR is neither a wig nor a weave, Gil can now channel his younger self while engaging in such weekend activities as swimming and football. He can even sleep and do fight scenes on screen wearing it.

No bed scenes, please

?I don?t do bed scenes anymore, but I?m sure my new hair can withstand its rigors,? he says with a chuckle. ?Just don?t ask me to do rape scenes. You can do anything to me, even tug at my hair, but you can?t pull it.?

Not that his TCR is in danger of being blown away or pulled off easily. Gil says he need not worry of going through the classic movie clich of a dude leaving behind a floating toupee after going for a dip. No such comedy roles for him, thank you.

Svenson uses a special solution to dissolve the stubborn adhesive that binds the TCR from Gil?s scalp. Removing the TCR without a solution can be quite difficult and painful.

?I just go to them weekly or every two weeks to have it maintained,? says Gil. ?They even trim my real hair to match the TCR.?

Due to his once-receding hairline and thinning crown, the former matinee idol was once stuck doing villain roles. Although he doesn?t expect to give the likes of Piolo Pascual and Richard Gutierrez a run for their money, Gil is looking forward to playing a wider range of roles in the near future.

A well-meaning piece of advice from Nestor Torre several years ago became his wake-up call. After seeing him in one of his films, Inquirer?s resident film critic was all praises for Gil?s performance except for the fact that his receding hairline had become distracting.

?I really took his unsolicited advice to heart,? he says. ?But I really did this for myself. Since getting a full head of hair back, I suddenly felt like dressing up again. And the best part is my wife likes my new hair. She thinks I look great.?

It?s important for him to look young not only because he?s an actor. Gil also happens to be 13 years older than his wife, Maricar Jacinto. In other words, he doesn?t want to look a day older than he really is.

The actor may have put aside all those expensive yet useless treatments behind him, but he has managed to retain his sense of humor, especially when he pokes fun at himself.

?They say when you have a receding hairline, you think a lot,? the former sex symbol deadpans. ?When you lose hair on your crown, they say you?re good in bed. So what does that make of me who began losing hair on both areas simultaneously? Someone who only thinks he?s good in bed.?

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