Lars Skjøth is the founder of the Hårklinikken hair loss treatment clinic, which has branches in Denmark, Germany, Norway and the United States. Mr Skjøth, a Dane, opened a clinic in Dubai in October. Here, he explains why he expects the business to do well in the UAE.
Why did you choose Dubai for your newest clinic?
Hair loss is mostly genetic, [but] I made a feasibility study [and] one issue is the desert water, which is a big problem here. It seems to be among many women - expats and local - there is a great amount of hair loss compared to other regions in the world. Chlorine is used in the water and that is tough on hair, contributing to breakage and damage. The drinking water also lacks minerals essential to human well-being. There is also a lot of stress in the region - people work long hours, they may not eat healthily or have regular meals - and that is also a factor.
How has business been since you opened?
My gosh, right now we are always booked four or five days ahead. Even though I had done feasibility studies, seeing on a practical level the [extent of] hair loss, it was quite a surprise. [Men] here also seem react quite late when the hair loss is very visible - the hair may have receded 8cm from the forehead. In Germany and Denmark, people react much sooner.
How many people work at the Dubai clinic?
I do all the diagnoses myself and as we go along, more and more, people will assist me. Currently we have five people working at the clinic, but when we get to maximum levels that will rise to about 20. When I am at the US clinic, I see about 80 to 100 people a day. I have been doing this for 21 years and it's essential to ensure quality that everyone is seen by me.
How much does this treatment cost?
It depends. The treatment is tailored to the individual, so it varies. Some people will spend a couple of hundred dirhams per month. Some will spend Dh600 [US$163] or Dh700 per month. For hair transplants, we use a top specialist. We have been working together for 11 years and he has done about 2,700 treatments for people from all over Europe. Now, we hope to take a lot of that business down here. It's both expats and Emiratis who are interested and we also have people from Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Lebanon and all over the UAE. We plan to start the hair transplants - for women and for men - in March or April. We already have a waiting list.