Elon Musk
Elon Musk has likely had a
hair transplant done, Yates says.

AP
Photo/Francois Mori


No guy wants to lose his hair. Period.

Luckily, with modern science, the process isn’t quite as
permanent as it used to be, according to hair transplant surgeon
Dr. William Yates of Dr.
Yates Hair Science in Vernon Hills, Illinois
.

Surgery is the only thing that can actually reverse hair loss.

“No one gets more hair as you age,” Yates told Business Insider.
“If your hair is looking better as you are aging, you’re doing
something other than a fancy shampoo and broccoli.”

So when it seems like a man who had a receding hairline suddenly
no longer does, that’s most likely the result of a hair
transplant.

It’s no secret, it’s routine, and there aren’t very many
downsides, aside from the monetary cost.

Here’s how it works:

It starts with an overview of the scalp, where your doctor will
identify which areas need additional hair to thicken.

The hair on the back and the sides of the head is then taken
and transplanted to the front. Yates says this hair is more
stable, and it’s genetically different enough to be resistant to
thinning.

“So we kind of rob from Peter to pay Paul,” he said.

The technique Yates uses is called folicular unit
extraction, which only extracts individual hairs, not long
strips, so as to prevent scarring.

“Basically it’s almost like farming. It’s just re-allocation of
resources,” he said.

It’s not creating any new hair. It’s just relocating the
same hair you already have in different areas of the
scalp. After a procedure, the patient should have
permanent hair all over, but the sides and the back are also
a little bit thinner by the same amount the front is fuller.

The good news: this transplanted hair won’t fall out like the
hair before it did. Hair loss is not a scalp problem; it’s a hair
follicle problem, Yates said. He added that hair transplants are
generally very successful, and they work around 90% of the time.

One word of caution: it takes a little while for the hair to grow
— around 3-4 months.

“Everyone now wants instant gratification, but it’s not one of
those deals,” Yates said.

Now comes the sticker shock: Yates says his average hair
transplant procedure runs around $8,000 to $10,000, but that will
depend on how many hairs need to be transplanted. This price
point seems to put it more in the realm of billionaires like Elon
Musk, who many speculate (and Yates confirmed, according to the
pattern of hair growth) likely underwent a hair transplant.
Still, Yates claims that many of his patients are of an average
income level.

“The majority of my practice is
just the regular guy,” he told us.

For the guys who think that
think they can regrow hair with a vitamin-rich supplement
like biotin or a home remedy like onion
juice
, Yates lays down a healthy dose of skepticism.

“Will they help you? Probably not. Will they hurt you?
Probably not, so it’s a wash,” Yates said. 

“I
don’t put too much faith in those things.”