What is the right hair transplant age? A recent article in the UK paper, Mirror, reported that a 23 year old pop singer, George Sampson, recently underwent a hair transplant. But is 23 too young for a hair transplant. Maybe.
When considering a hair transplant, the first question to ask is what is the cause of the hair loss. If the cause of the loss is gone, like chemotherapy or hair pulling, then a transplant can be successful at any hair transplant age. In the case of androgenic alopecia, there is no way currently to definitely stop the progression of hair loss. The transplanted hair will not fall out because of androgenic alopecia so you could run into a situation where you look unnatural with only transplanted hair left on your head.
Bottom line, what the appropriate hair transplant age? There is none. When considering a hair transplant, first determine the cause of the loss. This can help to determine 1) what the final pattern of loss might be and 2) if the transplanted hair will be susceptible to falling out after transplant. For the most common form of hair loss, androgenic alopecia, there is no way to determine was the final pattern of loss might be. A good proxy is if the hair loss has plateaued over 9-12 months, further loss can be expected to be slow or non-existent for most people. With a good stabilization of hair loss, transplants will be more successful. Even after a transplant, many patients with androgenic alopecia will still treat hair loss with non-surgical methods to maintain the remaining natural hair.
While I don’t have a crystal ball, Mr. Sampson is likely he will need another transplant or be shaving his head at some point because he will have an unnatural look. For most patients with androgenic alopecia, 23 is too early for a hair transplant. If they do undergo a hair transplant, attention should be paid to thickening the middle of the scalp and widow’s peek, leaving temporal recession for a long term natural result.