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We're often asked what age is reasonable to have a hair transplant. How young can you be?

There is no specific answer to this, because every patient is different. I think, as a very general rule, 25 should be pretty much the cutoff, the youngest age that a transplant should be considered for genetic hair loss, and certainly to wait longer. Earlier than that has a number of problems.

The first thing is that people who are losing their hair at a very young age, in their late teens or early twenties, often run the risk of being very bald. Also, their donor area may not be stable, and when someone is very young, it's really difficult to determine whether they have a permanent zone. If you operate on someone that's eventually not going to have a permanent zone, then not only will the hair transplant disappear because the hair that's moved is not permanent, but that area will continue to thin and then the scars from the transplant can become visible. That will happen either with F.U.E. or with F.U.T., with a strip procedure or with follicular unit extraction.

When patients are very young, also their expectations are very high. It's very difficult to satisfy someone that's first losing their hair when they're in their late teens or early twenties. They want all their density back and all their old hairline back. Although that's understandable, it's impossible to do surgically.

When someone is older, not only do we have more information about their donor supply, about the permanency of it, but their expectations are usually less. An older person that doesn't like to be bald doesn't need to have that much hair to make them happy. If they had hair on the front and top of their scalp and the crown was thin, or perhaps even not transplanted, they would look much better than being totally bald. They don't necessarily have to have every inch of their scalp covered.

A younger person, if they're going to have a bald crown, it obviously is not going to look any better than if they were bald and just cut their hair short. For young people, what we generally like to advise them is to start with medical therapy, and if they have extensive hair loss, keep their hair shorter, but try to postpone making a decision to have surgery as long as possible, specifically, at least until the age of 25.

How Young Is Too Young To Have A Hair Transplant?

Dr. Robert Bernstein explains why surgeons generally don’t perform hair transplants on patients younger than 25 and why young patients should first use medication.