From age to genetics to stress, there are many factors that impact balding and hair loss. Over time, these traits can combine to leave you with major hair loss that impacts your self-confidence.
This can leave you wondering if it’s too late to maintain or restore your hair.
If you’ve been losing your hair for a long time, you might already have resigned yourself to the clippers. But no matter how old you are, if you’re self-conscious about your hairline, it may not be too late for a hair transplant.
Age is actually less important than your current rate of hair loss when it comes to determining the right time for hair restoration treatment. In fact, in some cases it’s too soon to have a hair transplant. A good clinic will explore preventative hair loss medication and therapies with you before recommending the surgical option.
So how can you tell if it’s the right time to consider a hair transplant?
How to choose the right time for a hair transplant
Hair loss can continue even after a hair transplant. So if you have a hair transplant too early, you may be left with uneven results. However, if you leave it too late, there may not be enough grafts available in your donor area to successfully complete the transplant.
The good news is that it’s always the right time for a free consultation. Talking to an experienced reputable clinic is the best way to decide if you’re eligible for a hair transplant. Be aware that there are hair transplant clinics in operation who have less experience than they claim to have — so make sure you look out for these transplant clinic red flags. These clinics may push to get you into surgery, even if it’s not the right time for you.
Make sure you know who your surgeon will be, and see if they recommend hair loss prevention techniques first. This is a great sign that you’re dealing with a clinic that really cares about giving you the best results.
Are you a candidate for a hair transplant?
Here are the key factors your clinic will consider when deciding if you’re a candidate for hair transplant surgery:
- Age — 81.7% of male hair transplant patients in 2020 were aged 30 or over, so if you’re in your 20s other hair restoration treatments may be more appropriate
- Current rate of hair loss — if you’re still losing hair, it may not be the right time for a transplant
- Donor area quality — if your donor area is depleted, either because of genetics or previous surgery, you may not have enough follicles to get results
- Other options — if you haven’t exhausted other non-surgical options, your surgeon may suggest other treatments before surgery
When is it too late for a hair transplant?
There are usually only 2 scenarios when it’s too late for a hair transplant:
- You don’t have enough healthy follicles in your donor area.
This is sometimes seen if you’ve had previous unsuccessful hair transplant surgeries, or if hair loss has continued after a previous surgery. If a surgeon has overharvested from your donor area in the past, you may not have enough follicles left for another procedure.
If you’re considering your first surgery, it’s important to ask your surgeon how many grafts you’ll need for your transplant. This will help you manage your donor area in case you opt for more surgeries in future.
- Hair loss is too advanced.
If your hair loss is very advanced, it may not be possible to harvest enough grafts from your donor area to cover the affected area. Clinics use the Norwood scale to assess your level of hair loss.
|Number Of Grafts
|Number Of Grafts
|2||500 – 800||–|
|2a||Centre||500 – 1000||–|
|3||Front and temples||1000 – 1500||–|
|3a||Front and crown||Front:
1000 – 1,500
500 – 1000
|4||Front and crown||Front:
1,200 – 1,600
800 – 1,100
1,700 – 2,500
|5||Front and crown||Front:
1,800 – 2,200
1000 – 1,500
|6+||Front and crown||Front:
1,800 – 2,500
1500 – 1700
Using the Norwood Scale to assess your hair loss
This chart gives an indication of the degree of hair loss you’ll see at each stage of the Norwood scale.
It’s generally agreed that balding and thinning can be treated up to stage 6. If your hair loss has progressed beyond stage 6, it may be too late to consider a hair transplant. However, if you’re unsure, it’s always best to consult with a clinic directly.
Can you have a hair transplant if you are bald?
It depends on how much hair you’ve lost, and how many follicles are available in your donor area. If you have enough healthy follicles in your donor area, you may still be able to have a hair transplant even if you’re bald.
Losing hair in your 20s and 30s
Although there’s generally a correlation between age and hair loss, it’s still possible to be a good candidate for a hair transplant in your 20s and 30s. If you’ve been losing hair since a young age, your hair loss may have progressed enough that a hair transplant is a good option for you.
However, it’s also important to note the difference between a receding hairline and a mature hairline. A mature hairline will slowly decline over time, leaving a slightly recessed hairline that corresponds with your age. You’ll often notice much faster hair loss if your hairline is receding.
If you’re still young, your hair loss may not have peaked yet. If you have a hair transplant while you’re still losing hair, this hair loss may continue in the non-transplanted areas even after surgery. This can be costly both financially and in terms of the health of your donor area. If too many follicles have been harvested, you may be ineligible for future transplants.
With hair loss prevention medication, you can slow and even halt hair loss. That’s why it’s vital to discuss preventative options before you sign up for surgery.
How to prevent hair loss
No matter what age you start experiencing hair loss, prevention is better than cure. Surgery should always be the last resort — so here are some non-surgical treatment options that prevent and minimise hair loss:
- Laser hair therapy
- Vitamin infusion therapy
- Medicated shampoos
- Drugs and supplements
Speak to a clinic to discuss the best course of action for your current rate of hair loss.
Is it the right time for your hair transplant?
You won’t know for sure until you consult with a clinic. An experienced, knowledgeable surgeon will be able to discuss the best course of action to restore your hair to its former glory.
No matter how old you are or how much hair you’ve lost, see how to get the best hair transplant results in this guide to choosing the right hair transplant clinic in 2022.
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