elon musk hair surgery

Elon Musk Hair Transplant Analysis

How Elon Musk got his Hair back!

written by Matt Dominance

Questions answered in this blog post on topic of: Elon Musk Hair Transplant

  • Elon Musk hair before and after
  • How many hair transplant surgeries did Elon Musk undergo?
  • Did he do FUE or FUT hair transplant, or both?
  • Has he already started using Finasteride(Propecia) and Minoxidil prior to his hair transplant?

Elon Musk Hair before and after

Elon Musk started losing his hair already in his mid 20’s. By the time he turned 28-29, he was already seriously balding.

His loss progression back then could be described on a Norwood scale between NW4 and NW5.

Norwood Scale

It’s likely that Elon started taking anti hair loss medication Finasteride back in the days but it is even more probably that he didn’t start using it during the first signs of his male pattern baldness progression.

Otherwise he would have been able to avoid the NW4-NW5 scenario. 

Finasteride has been FDA approved for treating hair loss in 1997. During this time Elon was 26 years old. He was probably unaware of this medication until shortly before his 1st hair transplant.

It’s crucial to focus on slowing down/stopping your hair loss progression in order to end up in a similar situation as Elon did in his mid-late 20’s!

Also read “The Big 3 of Hair Loss Prevention” to help you keep your hair loss under control instantly! 

Elon Musk late 1990´s
Elon Musk | 28-29 years old | NW 4

Hair Situation in the late 1990´s

  • 28-29 years old
  • NW 4 – NW 5 transition pattern
  • Diffuse thinning on the mid-scalp
  • High likelihood that he has been already using at least Minoxidil(Rogaine) and Finasteride (Propecia) shortly before his 1st hair transplant

Elon Musk Hair Transplant nr. 1

Elon Musk after his 1st hair transplant | 32 years old
  • 32 years old (2003)
  • Denser-looking hair on the hairline as a result of taking medication (Finasteride and Minoxidil) and a minor hair transplant
  • Conservative hair density on the hairline achieved after the first hair transplant, which later has been improved with another hair transplant
  • Hair on the front looks darker and healthier compared to late 1990´s

Hair Situation after Elon Musk´s 1st minor hair transplant

Elon musk 1st hair transplant lower density on the hairline
Transplanted hair density of Elon Musk's first hair transplant surgery
  • Conservative hairline with lower hair density allowing higher see-through effect
  • Estimated hair density on the hairline: 30-35 grafts/cm2
  • Implanted hair doesn´t look pluggy but it does look more coarse because it comes form the donor zone (occipital region) on the back of the scalp which provides thick and healthy hair – unaffected by androgens (DHT).

Elon Musk Hair Transplant nr. 2

elon musk after 2nd hair transplant
Hairline density improves with the time | Elon Musk | Around 40 years old
  • 40-ish years old (2010 and on)
  • Even more denser-looking hair on the hairline compared to 2003
  • Slight lowering of the hairline is likely compared to 2003
  • Lower see-through effect on the hairline compared to his hair in his 30´s

Differentiating between transplanted and non-transplanted hair on Elon's hairline

transplanted vs non transplanted hair - Elon Musk
Difference between transplanted (hairline) and non-transplanted hair (temples)
  • Single follicular units on the temples (non-transplanted) look still thinner and more refined compared to the implanted single follicular units on Elon Musk´s hairline 
  • Estimated hair density on the hairline after his 2nd hair transplant: 45-50 grafts/cm2

Elon Musk started coloring his hair darker in his 40´s (possibly because of hair greying)

Did Elon Musk have FUE or FUT hair transplant?

It is not going to be easy to precisely guess the final number of Elon Musk´s hair transplants. He could have done 2,3 or more, but at east 2.

Below you can see a proof of his FUT because of the linear scar across his donor area. Watch the interview on CBS from 2018 and skip to 4:25 to see the scar better.

Below there is one more photo from the profile which makes us see the linear scar better.

The FUT scars which spread across the whole occipital region all the way to the left and right temporal regions suggest a major FUT session of 4000 grafts or even higher.

Elon Musk Hair Transplant Scar
FUT scar on the back of Elon Musk's occipital region
elon musk strip scar
FUT scar is visible across the left side of Elon´s scalp.

Why did Elon Musk only do small FUE hair transplants?

The photo below comes from 2020. You can see how dark and dense Elon´s hair looks in his donor area.


elon musk 2020 air force association interview

If he had done multiple larger FUE sessions, his donor area would look much more thinned out or “moth-eaten” as some hair transplant doctors say.

Of course, he might have gotten a scalp micropigmentation on the skin surface of his donor area but the nonetheless the hair coverage looks very good on the donor area.

Small FUE sessions are usually suitable for little corrections in the hairline and temporal region once the patient who has already done 1 or more hair transplants decides to improve the hair density in his hairline even further. 

Is Elon Musk on Finasteride(Propecia) and will he need another hair transplant?

Elon Musk Crown area

Screenshot from the CBS interview in 2018 shows slight crown area thinning but decent hair coverage and hair density across the top of Elon´s scalp.

Elon Musk - Hair Summary

Finasteride (Propecia)

Elon Musk has likely been using Finasteride (Propecia) to keep the rest of his native hair from falling out fast over the course of his 30´s and 40´s (for the last 15-20 years).

FUT Hair Transplant

Elon Musk got most of his hair transferred from the donor area onto the recipient area via FUT. 

Elon has likely undergone 1 larger (4000-4500 grafts) or 2 medium-sized FUT procedures (2000-2500 grafts and 2000-2500 grafts). 

FUE Hair Transplant

Elon has probably had also one FUE procedure with relatively small graft yield as his donor area doesn´t show any signs of FUE over-harvesting or donor area depletion with FUE. His donor area above and below the FUT scar shows very good hair coverage and density. 

Scalp Micropigmentation

On some photos, Elon´s FUT scar is less visible than on others. It suggests, that he might have made use of scalp micropigmentation to have the surface of his scarred skin covered with pigment (especially on the left and right side, where the hair is naturally thinner and has lower density compared to the hair on the occipital region).

Elon Musk Hair Loss, Shocking Change, How did he do it?

If you enjoyed this read, make sure you also check out MinoxidilMax’s blog article on Elon Musk’s hair loss reversal! Did his hair loss really recovered on its own and did he use PRP (platelet-rich plasma) injections to recover from his hair loss? Read more on Minoxidilmax!

Elon Musk Hair Loss - Minoxidilmax Post

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4 Primary Ways of Treating Hair Loss

4 Primary Ways of Treating Hair Loss - Androgenic Alopecia (AGA)

  1. Using 5-AR (alpha-reductase) inhibitors “DHT blockers”
  2. Anagen Phase Stimulating Agents (anagen stimulants)
  3. Anti-androgenic agents (topical solutions) 
  4. Hair stem cell-related agents (injectable treatments)

Part 1

1. Inhibiting 5AR conversion from T to DHT ("DHT blocking")

DHT has been shown to progressively miniaturize the hair follicles on the scalp which is only one if its androgenic effects on human body.  Unfortunately this unfortunate effect of DHT only occurs by individual with genetic hair loss susceptibility.

Blocking DHT (dihydrotestosterone) always starts by inhibiting 5AR isoenzymes. Inhibiting the activity of type 1 and type II. 5 alpha reductase isoenzymes can be enough for the start. Men who suffer from any type of patterned hair loss (besides alopecia areata) start taking Finasteride (branded as Propecia, Proscar).

 Finasteride can inhhibit the 5-alpha reduction of Testosterone into DHT by approximately 70%. It is the only FDA approved oral drug for treating male pattern hair loss (AGA). 

Some Finasteride users may experience more than hair loss stabilization. Many of them also report positive hair thickening benefits over time. These are so called – well respondents to 5 AR inhibiting drugs.

Hair Follicle Androgen Receptor Sensitivity to Androgens and how Finasteride (Propecia) can help with hair loss


Inhibition of the 5 alpha reduction of Testosterone into several times more potent androgen – DHT results in less hair loss. Plasma DHT levels – lowered by Finasteride result in less frequent interaction of hair follicle´s androgen receptors with the DHT. 

For that reason, patients who use 5 AR inhibiting drugs like Finasteride tend to notice less hair loss. Importantly Finasteride limits the interaction of the most potent naturally-occurring androgen in your body DHT – with the hair follicles´ androgen receptor.

Types of 5 AR inhibitors effective for Hair Loss

Finasteride (Propecia,Proscar)
  • Inhibits 5-alpha reduction of T into DHT by 70% systemically and 50% topically
  • Only FDA approved oral medication for treating male pattern hair loss
  • Inhibits only type II. 5 AR isoenzyme activity
  • Requires prescription in most countries (excl. Turkey, Saudi Arabia)
  • Can come with potential side effects (statistically low percentage though)
Dutasteride (Avodart) 
  • 5-alpha reduction inhibition of T into DHT by 90-95% systemically 
  • Not FDA approved oral medication for treating male pattern hair loss
  • FDA approved medication for treating enlarged prostate in men
  • Suppresses type II. and type I. 5 AR isoenzymes activity 
  • Can come with potential side effects (statistically higher than Finasteride)
Topical Finasteride 0.25% Solution 
  • Suppression of 5-alpha reduction of T into DHT by 70% topically (study)
  • Very low (if any) effect on systemic DHT suppression
  • Not FDA approved oral medication for treating male pattern hair loss
  • Inhibits only type II. 5 AR isoenzyme activity
  • Can be compounded by a licensed pharmacy or bought online for research purposes
  • Requires a prescription sometimes by purchases from a pharmacy
  • Side effects can´t be entirely avoided either (statistically lower as opposed to oral Finasteride)
Topical Dutasteride
  • Very few clinical studies done on topical Dutasteride
  • Better efficacy as opposed to topical Finasteride can be expected but only via transdermal injection delivery or mesotherapy 
  • Low potential for systemic DHT suppression
  • Higher mollecular weight compared to topical finasteride restricting proper transdermal absorption
  • Not FDA approved for treating male pattern hair loss
  • Topical dutasteride application via mesotherapy is still relatively unknown among dermatologists and hair transplant doctors
Saw Palmetto (Serenoa repens)
  • Inhibits 5-alpha reduction of T into DHT by 32% systemically
  • Not FDA approved oral medication for treating male pattern hair loss
  • Less potent 5 AR inhibitor in comparison to Finasteride or Dutasteride
  • Side effects haven´t been observed but can occur

The pros and cons of using 5 AR inhibiting agents for long-term hair loss management (AGA)


Finasteride has been the most studied and most researched 5 AR inhibitor ever approved for hair loss by the FDA.

5 AR inhibitors tend to work well for majority of guys initially. However after some time their effectiveness may start to fade. How soon, will depend on the severity/aggressiveness of your AGA and changes in your androgen levels as you age.

Use of 5 AR inhibitors has been shown not only to slow down male pattern hair loss progression but also result in thicker scalp hair growth. Hair thickening effect after using 5 AR inhibitor depends on how good of a respondent you are. 


5 AR inhibitors may not be enough for men with more “severe” genetic hair loss condition. 

5 AR inhibitors don´t protect the hair follicles´ androgen receptors from androgens in general.

DHT leftovers, testosterone and other “weaker” androgens can still cause hair loss by individuals with genetic hair loss condition using Finasteride already.

5 AR inhibitors are not able to “block” the androgenic effects of natural androgens or steroidal androgens.

Potential side effects related to low sexual desire, low libido, decreased sexual arousal , weak erections by small percentage of users were observed by 5 AR inhibitor users. Statistically only 1-2% of men experience side effects from drugs like Finasteride (slightly higher side effect profile by Dutasteride).

Make sure you do your due diligence on PFS (post finasteride syndrome)– mixture of psychologically- and sexually-related side effects, depression, suicidal thoughts, anxiety.

PFS suggests that these side effects may also persist after patients discontinue the use of any 5 AR inhibiting agent like Finasteride or Dutasteride.

Why are 5 AR inhibitors effective for the start?


DHT is the most potent androgen causing hair loss. DHT does it to the highest degree in comparison to other androgens like testosterone. Especially because it has a much higher binding affinity onto the androgen receptor of the hair follicle. By focusing on 5 AR inhibition and thus DHT suppression, most of men start seeing clear improvements. Less hair loss, hair becomes thicker and better to style again.

DHT is more likely to transcribe its potential damaging effects onto the hair follicle than any naturally-occurring androgen.  By inhibiting it 70% with Finasteride or  90%+ with Dutasteride, the pressure can be put off the androgen receptor. It only works while 5 AR is being inhibited. 

The efficacy of 5 AR inhibiting medication depends on the frequency and dosage of the used drug. 

Biological half-life of 5 AR inhibitors (Finasteride vs. Dutasteride)

Finasterides´ elimination half-life is only 6-8 hours whereas Dutasteride has a much longer half-life – up to 6 weeks. Consult a hair transplant doctor, dermatologist or any licensed medical professional to find out the optimal dosage for you.

How well the 5 AR inhibitors will work for you, depends on how good of a respondent you are. Many guys keep using Finasteride for a successful long term hair loss management for many years. Meanwhile 1 or more hair transplants may be required for improved hair density and thickness.