Why Do Hairs Turn White and Thin and Cosmetically Worthless?

I'm a hair transplant veteran (4 procedures) and I would like to know why hairs turn thin, wiry and unmanageable and how we, as hair transplant victims, are supposed to stop it from happening. I have asked hair transplant doctors this question repeatedly but no one can give me a straight answer. In short, what is the point of transplanting hairs into a man of 30 years old, when by the time he's 50-60 there is a high likelihood his hairs are going to be thin, grey and cosmetically worthless?

Doctor Answers 4

Why did my hairs turn white and thin?

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You actually have a special problem. Some people develop miniaturization of the donor area after they had a hair transplant and if this happens, it will impact the recipient area hair

Los Angeles Hair Restoration Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

Why are you a victim of hair transplant surgery?

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Why do you think you are a victim of hair transplant surgery?  If you are a genetic male, and have androgenic alopecia as your only cause of hair loss, with no other medical issues, you should not lose transplanted hairs. You may have a medical condition that doctors have missed.

Transplanted hair do not turn thin and wiry.

Your story and descriptions are not typical and the fact you don't trust your doctor means there is miscommunication or no communication.  

Jae Pak, MD
Los Angeles Hair Restoration Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 106 reviews

Hair Transplant Repair

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Your experience is not typical in modern hair transplants. The changes undergone by your grafted hair from 20 years ago would be influenced by the location from which the hair was taken. If the hair was taken from an area that was destined to go grey and or bald, then that is what is happening.

Sanusi Umar, MD
Redondo Beach Dermatologic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 33 reviews

Deterioration of a hair transplant result

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The wirey problem was seen more often in the old days when large plugs were done. No one has ever had a good explanation  as to  why it occurred.  I totally agree with your point about young men being transplanted only to look balding again later in life. The long term result depends so much on the hereditary aspects of the balding pattern. And those men whose ancestors progressed to Norwood class 7 are likely to lose the transplanted hair. This has to be thoroughly discussed before a transplant is considered.

There is a growing belief that the continued use of DHT blocker drugs may retard this inevitable loss of hair. However, I would not bet on it for the 30 year period we are discussing.  If you had a nice result in your 30's and 40's, the transplant might have been worthwhile. Only you can make that determination. 

Sheldon S. Kabaker, MD FACS
San Francisco Facial Plastic Surgeon

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.