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Akon Hair Transplant: Everything You Need to Know

Akon’s hair transplantation is one of many hair restoration surgeries undergone by celebrities in recent years, as this type of procedure is becoming increasingly popular. Since 85% of men experience male pattern baldness by the age of 50 [1], more and more famous singers, actors or footballers have had hair transplant transformations, with various results.

While some stars, such as David Beckham, Elton John, and Chris Evans have left the public wondering about their new hairlines, Akon has openly spoken about his hair transplant surgery. The singer seemed content with the outcome of the hair transplant procedure he got in Turkey in 2020. However, the internet was quick to judge his new appearance, which struck many as unnatural [2].

Keep reading this article to find out everything you need to know about:

  • Why Akon chose to have a hair transplant
  • The type of hair transplant Akon had
  • Akon’s hair transplant cost
  • What went wrong with Akon’s hair transplant
Table of Contents

Who is Akon?

Akon is the stage name of world-famous singer Aliaune Damala Bouga Time Puru Nacka Lu Lu Lu Badara Akon Thiam. The hip-hop and R&B star was born in Missouri, U.S. He started his music career in the early 2000s, launching his solo debut album, Trouble, in 2004. It was a great hit, followed by other five successful albums, for which he received several music awards.

Aliaune Damala Bouga Time Puru Nacka Lu Lu Lu Badara Akon Thiam (aka Akon)

Did Akon have a hair transplant?

Yes, Akon did indeed have a hair transplant. While speculation about his hair restoration surgery had been going around since 2020, the singer removed all doubt on this matter in 2022, as he was asked about his hairline during a podcast. He was very open about having had a hair transplant in Turkey, likely in 2020, and credited his new look to this procedure.

Why did Akon need a hair transplant?

Akon needed a hair transplant because, around the age of 45, he started showing signs of male pattern baldness: his hairline was receding and he was experiencing temple hair loss and frontal balding. In his own words:

“In the beginning, my whole front was loose, it was really thin.”  

Akon’s condition, also known as androgenetic alopecia, is the most common reason for hair loss in men. It is caused by a complex set of factors, such as genetic predisposition, age and hormones.

Some of your naturally occurring testosterone is converted to another androgen hormone, called dihydrotestosterone (DHT). When the level of DHT production is too high, it can bind to receptors within the hair follicles, causing them to shrink and produce smaller, finer hair and then to stop producing it altogether.

Since male pattern baldness progresses with age, its successive stages are measured by the Norwood Scale.

Norwood scale

While it is difficult to determine the stage of androgenetic alopecia Akon was in, due to the fact that he often shaved his head in the year before his procedure, he seems to have been Norwood stage 3. That is because he clearly displayed an M-shaped hairline, but there did not seem to be a visible bald spot on his crown.

Akon's receding hairline
In 2019, Akon had a visibly receding hairline and thinning temples, forming an M-shaped pattern which is typical of male pattern baldness

Akon hair timeline

Akon has always had a wide forehead, with a high hairline. By the time he came into the public eye, he was 31, an age when many men see the first signs of hair thinning and balding.

However, it did not seem to be Akon’s case, as his hairline did not change shape significantly during the following few years.

Akon in 2004 (at age 31)
Akon at age 31, around the time of his debut, in 2004

Judging by the position of Akon’s hairline in relation to the small scar on his forehead, no significant signs of receding could be seen between the pictures taken in 2006 and those taken in 2009. The hair on his temples seems to be consistent as well, however, it is hard to tell, due to his short, skin-fade hairstyle.

Akon's hairline in 2006 (left) and 2009 (right)
Left: Akon in 2006; Right: Akon in 2009
No significant changes were noticeable in photos from his 2013 appearances either, which shows that male pattern baldness had not yet set in at this time.
Akon in 2013
Akon in 2013

However, by the time the singer had reached age 46, in 2019, his hairline recession and thinning at the temples had become visible, which is when he started to fully shave his head in an effort to mask his hair shedding.

Akon in 2019
Akon in 2019

That is why, likely in 2020, Akon decided to go to Turkey and get a hair transplant to regain his frontal hair fullness.

By 2022, the singer had reemerged with a brand new hairline which was set about 2 cm lower than it was originally and about 4-5 cm lower than it was after receding.

Akon in 2022
Akon in 2022

In 2022, when Akon decided to publicly address the speculations regarding his hair transplant, the singer declared himself content with the results of his hair restoration surgery and made no mention of any plans to have any further adjustments done.

Akon’s hair transplant seemed to hold up well over time, as his hairline looked unchanged during one of his final public interviews of 2023.

Akon in December 2023
Akon in December 2023

What kind of hair transplant did Akon have?

Akon reportedly had an FUE procedure, which has been increasingly popular among men in the past years, as it leaves minimal scarring on the donor area. Since Akon has always worn his hair short, the linear scar left by an FUT procedure on the back of his head might have been visible had he opted for this type of surgery.


How many grafts did Akon get?

Since Akon appears to have experienced Norwood stage 3 male pattern baldness, according to the hair graft calculator, he is likely to have had a 2000-graft hair transplant. This should be sufficient to lower his hairline and fill in his temples.

informational graphic about how many hair grafts are needed to restore hair

How much did Akon’s hair transplant cost?

According to Akon himself, he had his hair transplant at a clinic in Turkey, because they are reputed to have significantly lower prices than those in the United States.

He confessed to being impressed with the fact that he only paid $7500 for the procedure (which is just under £6000, close to the average cost of a 2000 hair graft transplant in the UK).

That is because the average Los Angeles hair transplant cost for the same intervention would have been much higher – approximately $15,000 (almost £12,000).

Average LA hair transplant cost vs. average UK hair transplant cost
Cost infographics for approximately 1500 hair graft hair transplant procedures in LA (left) and in the UK (right)

While it is true that in Turkey, hair restoration prices are somewhat lower than in the US or the UK, unless you opt for the best hair transplant clinics available, the lower hair transplant costs in Turkey may not be worth the risk.

That is because according to a 2021 British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons survey, 100% of cosmetic surgery complications were developed after procedures performed in Turkey [2], often by insufficiently skilled professionals working in underregulated clinics.

Since the price of a high-end hair transplant procedure for Norwood stages 2-3 is around £2500 in Turkey, it is clear that Akon chose one of the best clinics for his hair restoration surgery, which charged him three times that amount.

Even so, after revealing his new hairline to the world, many fans and other celebrities found it unnatural, which led to running jokes about the singer’s hair transplant outcome on the internet.

What went wrong with Akon’s hair transplant?

While the singer seems happy with the results of his hair transplant, the media has reported negative fan reactions in response to his new hairline. According to The U.S. Sun [3], Akon’s look was ridiculed online, as commenters quipped:

“Akon 3D printed his hair.”

“Akon threw that hairpiece in the air and ran up under it.”

Akon's hairline being compared to Lego Man's hairline
An internet meme comparing Akon’s new hairline to the Lego Man’s

The reason why Akon’s hair transplant seemed so unnatural to fans is that the surgeon did not take into consideration the artist’s original wide forehead and high hairline. They set his new hairline a few centimetres too low while leaving his temple hair at the same height as it used to be.

This altered Akon’s appearance and made it obvious that he had undergone hair replacement surgery. It is unclear whether this happened per Akon’s request or whether it was proposed by the doctor who performed the procedure.

A skilled and experienced hair transplant surgeon will normally take the patient’s original hairline appearance into consideration. They will ensure that the grafts are set at an appropriate height and in a manner which allows the patient to get a natural-looking hair transplant [4], so they can have a hair transplant without anyone knowing [5].

How long will Akon’s hair transplant last?

In most cases, successful hair transplants are permanent and can last a lifetime, so Akon may be sporting his surgically restored hairline forever. However, there are also situations which may require getting another procedure, such as experiencing significant further hair loss or wanting to adjust the results.

It is not known whether Akon is currently taking any medication to help his hair loss, such as Minoxidil or Finasteride, but they could help prevent his male pattern baldness from progressing and requiring a second hair transplant.

While Akon may not need to get another hair transplant, he may, however, opt to get a beard transplant sometime in the future, as he revealed that he has difficulties growing a full beard. Should he choose to do so, his beard restoration would also likely be permanent, provided that the procedure is successful and that he engages in proper transplant aftercare.

Are you considering getting a hair transplant?

If you are considering getting hair restoration surgery, you should keep in mind that you are investing in a procedure that will shape your appearance and can have a significant impact on your confidence. That is why it is advisable to book a consultation with an experienced and reputable surgeon at one of the best hair transplant clinics

While it may be somewhat more expensive to get a hair transplant in the UK, Wimpole Clinic surgeons have a success rate of 97-100% and have provided top-tier, natural-looking hair restoration surgery to numerous celebrities, such as Ben StokesRob Holding and Danny Ings. Check out our before and after hair transplant gallery to see our results for yourself.

Akon Hair Transplant: Everything You Need to Know, Wimpole Clinic

Other celebrities who got hair transplants

Hair loss or thinning is an issue that anyone can struggle with, even famous people. So rest assured that you are in good company if you decide to get a hair transplant. Here are some of the celebrities who have undergone hair restoration surgery or are suspected to have done so:

The Wimpole Clinic offers FUE Hair, Beard & Eyebrow Transplants & Trichology.
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