Am I A Candidate/is It Useful for Me to Try Hair Restoration? (Young Male Under 20)

Hello, I'm Jesse, and I've been balding since I was 16. Though I don't really want to speculate about how, I believe it's no coincidence that I started to lose density, volume, and growth since my appendicitis. It burst in 2008, and I couldn't see a doctor for 5 days, (No relatives near, no insurance card on me) and had I known it wasn't just a bad ache, I wouldn't have roughed it. So I'm 19, and unattractive. I wonder if restoration would work for someone so young? Thank you for your time.

Doctor Answers 7

Under 20 and losing hair

Your biggest enemy is the progressive thinning leading to a balding pattern that is not evident at this point in time. The degree of thinning that you are experiencing would suggest that you should see a doctor who most likely will get Bulk Measurements of your hair to determine the degree of the thinning that you are presently having. If the diagnosis is early genetic hair loss (the most common cause of hair loss in young men), then the best treatment would be the drug finasteride which is highly effective in men of your age and may not only stop the hair loss but possibly reverse it. If you are developing a more advanced balding pattern the best test to get will determine the Bulk Measurements of your hair and this will show, over a one-year time frame, how effective the treatment will be. Once you know this information, then you and your doctor need to develop a MASTER PLAN which will define what you need to do over the years to come.

Los Angeles Hair Restoration Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 27 reviews

You don't just "try" hair transplant surgery.

Hi Jesse, you need to have a firm diagnosis before considering a life long permanent treatment option such as a hair transplant surgery.

A doctor usually needs to exam a patient, diagnose a problem (of why you are losing your hair or much more more hair loss you may have in the future), then needs to understand your goals and expectations before giving you options or treatment plan. 

Jae Pak, MD
Los Angeles Hair Restoration Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 100 reviews

Consider non-surgical treatment and visit with an MD

Consider non surgical methods such as Rogaine for now. There are many methods of hair transplantation.  Wanted them RFUE and another can be a surgical flap.  Grafts can be taken with as few as one hair follicle or multiple follicles.  The quality of the hair, the number of follicles per unit and the location in which the hair is to be placed are all important determinants in the final result.  While it is a common misconception that hair can and should be taken from any location, taking appropriate hair from an appropriate location is key to success.  For instance, one cannot always use hair from a beard to replace a frontal hairline.  The orientation in which Harris placed is also important.  If the frontal hairline is being created then it is important to make sure that hairs are aligned in the correct orientation.  The way the hair is also laid down, for example a staggered pattern versus a straight line will also change the quality of the result.  You should certainly visit with a surgeon who does many of these types of transplantations as well as offers multiple options for hair restoration.  The cost can vary by geographic locale.  In general they can arrange from $7000-$25,000.  When you go over consultation ask for before and after photographs.

Raj S. Ambay, MD
Tampa Plastic Surgeon
4.3 out of 5 stars 35 reviews

Candidacy for Surgical Hair Restoration

Hi Jesse. Though medication and illness can play a large factor in hair loss, you should consult a physician to find out if you are also suffering from early onset male pattern baldness. If this is the case, your hair will most likely continue to progress, and surgical hair restoration at this point would be largely futile. Most hair transplant surgeons will not consider you a candidate until you are over the age of 24. For now, try a non-surgical solution, like finasteride. This medication is prescription only, but is proven effective at stopping hair loss.

Sanusi Umar, MD
Redondo Beach Dermatologic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 32 reviews

Hair Transplant under 20

I would NOT recommend a hair transplant. You will continue to lose more hair. It is policy in our clinic that we do not do any transplant below age 25. I would try propecia and rogain. Dr. Behnam 

Ben Behnam, MD
Santa Monica Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 2 reviews

Good Candidate for Transplant

At 19 years old there is a good probability that you will suffer some further hair loss. Which was mostly genetic and not related to the appendicitis. Shock loss from surgery or medical problems usually returns after the problem is resolved with normal hair growth. You are a good candidate for transplantation even at 19 years old if you have good donor hair and good health. You can continue with further transplantation work in the future if hair loss continues. Personally I recommend trying to stay ahead of the hairloss problem and that way you keep a natural look as though nothing is being done.

Richard Galitz, MD, FACS
Miami Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 11 reviews

Hair Options in Young Patients

You need to be extremely careful before committing to a hair transplant.  Since you are young and already thinning the chance that this thinning will progress is very high.  You do not want to get a transplant now that will be noticeable and unnatural as you age.  The good news is that there are some things to try.  First, I would begin with medical therapy.  This could include minoxidil and Propecia.  These would have to be obtained through a prescription via your doctor so I would start there.  They can further discuss the risks and benefits of each.  While you are waiting for the medicine to kick in (at least 6 months) you could consider camouflage products. Toppik and DermMatch are two popular products.  Toppik increases visual hair density while DermMatch decreases the visibility of the scalp.  After several months on the medications then you can proceed with a hair transplant consult.   I would recommend several consults.  Find someone that you trust.  Many may make you wait until you are older.  Tread slowly and with careful consideration.  Good luck!

Hannah Vargas, MD
Kansas City Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 46 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.