All About Sir Elton John’s Hair Transplant Journey

Photo by David Shankbone

Elton John is one of those rare talents that outperforms everyone in his class. Who else can play piano and sing like Sir Elton, let alone record platinum albums and create music for Broadway shows and Hollywood films?

Here’s an overview of Sir Elton John’s hair transplant journey and what we can learn from the story to help clients achieve their desired look. 

Early Career and Hair Loss

Clearly, young Elton John had superstar potential from his early days at the Royal Academy of Music in London. He was quick to learn piano and was hired to play at a pub at age 15.

His career was off to a quick start in his early 20s, but his hairline showed signs of accelerated aging and thinning around that same time. While photos from this period show his hair growing long, it’s clear that male pattern baldness was developing across the front of the scalp and the temples.

Even as early as 1971, John was photographed wearing hats and often appeared to hide his hairline, when significant balding seems to have occurred. His hairline had nearly diminished when he released his magnum opus Goodbye Yellow Brick Road in 1973.

First Hair Transplants and Results

By the late 1970s, Sir Elton John found himself at the top of the world with more money than he knew what to do with. However, his hairline was in bad shape. It’s no wonder he turned to hair transplant doctors to see what options were available.

Sir Elton reveals in his autobiography that he had his first hair transplant around the age of 30. By approximately 1977, hair transplant tech was limited. The only real option lay in FUT strip surgery. 

The star took the chance to revitalize his hairline, but the transplant results were not satisfactory, according to his own accounts and observations from the public at the time.

That’s no surprise. Back then, hair transplants were somewhat only recently developed (two or three decades prior), meaning that the techniques were less than optimal. 

Today’s doctors look back on this era and point out issues like crude extraction methods and the appearance of “plugs” in the recipient region of the scalp.

We also must account for the fact that medicines and recovery protocols were not as established or widely practiced back then, likely resulting in a higher transection rate during surgery. 

In other words, newly transplanted hair made it to the destination but did not stay in long enough to take root. We don’t know much about Sir Elton John’s results at this time, but we suspect that his first transplant missed the mark for these common reasons.

Next Hair Transplant and Struggles

It’s not clear what led to Sir Elton John’s hair transplant failure the first time around. He claims that he wore a hat and wigs during this period, which may have slowed his recovery. Sir Elton struggled with addiction throughout the late 1970s and 1980s. 

Drug addictions typically create toxic conditions that often lead to further hair loss.

These factors did not stop Sir Elton from attempting another hair transplant shortly after his first, hoping the second effort would pay off. Again, he opted for the FUT treatment since no other options were available, and unfortunately, he did not make much in the way of progress.

Sir Elton states that the second transplant didn’t improve the condition of his hair and may have only caused further damage due to improper healing processes. As a result, we see most images of Sir Elton John wearing wigs, hats, and other pieces that better hide his hairline throughout the 1980s.

It didn’t help that Sir Elton’s lifestyle was not conducive to healthy hair during this period. Thankfully, he checked into rehab in the 1990s, but his hair was long gone by then. Now, Sir Elton prefers to wear a custom hairpiece in public, and seems happy enough with that look in his older years.

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Lessons From Sir Elton’s Hair Journey

Sir Elton deserves his nobel status in Britain and worldwide, but we didn’t look too closely at his hair. This is partly due to the time and place where this star was born. Back in the 1970s, music came first. 

However, we noticed a few distinct trends regarding Elton John’s hairline that can teach us valuable lessons for hair transplant patients today. It’s unlikely that anyone will come close to Sir Elton John’s accomplishments in the music world, but his hair loss experience is far more common for men of all ages. 

What can we take away from Sir Elton’s hair loss journey and his attempts at hair transplantation? Here are some important lessons that clients and doctors can apply moving forward. 

Learn About the Latest Treatments

When Elton John lived life in the fast lane in the 1970s, he was likely looking for a quick fix to his hairline problems, and didn’t think twice about the consequences.

But now, there are many more ways to treat hair loss that don’t require immediate surgical intervention. IIt’s important to meet with a dermatologist to discover if your hair loss is hereditary. If it isn’t then you should meet with a hair restoration expert like Dr. Jae Pak to learn about your options.

Thankfully, modern treatments offer many great ways to promote hair growth and even limit loss. From FUT, FUE and Long Hair FUE hair transplant, and Scalp MicroPigmentation to microchanneling, you have a multitude of procedures that can help.

Consult With Experts About Transplantation

If you research carefully and want to learn more about transplantation, you’ve got far more options than Sir Elton did at the peak of his career. While he only had a rudimentary style of  FUT strip surgery available that left a “plug” look, the hair transplant field has come a long way.

Not only is FUT far more precise now  with lower transaction rates, but FUE procedures have also been introduced since then. FUE focuses on lower hair yields for more precise implementation and reduced scarring on the donor area of the scalp.

This explains why modern hair transplants are far more effective and discrete compared to those in the 1970s and 1980s. 

Take Recovery and Care Seriously

If Sir Elton had followed recovery protocols more carefully and allowed his hair to heal between surgeries fully, he might have seen better results from the procedures. However, he ignored the doctor’s orders and ended up with unsatisfactory outcomes.

This wasn’t the only reason why Elton John’s hair transplants failed, but the lesson is relevant nonetheless. Always follow the exact instructions given by your doctor when recovering from a hair transplant of any kind since failing to do so may compromise results.

Protect Your Hair for the Long Term

After a certain point, it seems that Sir Elton John resigned himself to wearing a wig and not taking any more steps to improve the condition of his natural hair. You don’t need to follow suit if you start caring for your hair now and committing to long-term preservation.

Doctors like Jae Pak, M.D. will guide you to care for your hair holistically, ensuring you maximize results for life — not just in the short term.

Work With Superstar Surgeons

We can’t all be stars like Elton John, but we can certainly learn from his hair journey and make better decisions for ourselves. 

Connect with a trusted clinic today, like Jae Pak MD Medical, to learn the best options for you. 

Sources:

What’s the Deal with Elton John’s Hair? | Ultimate Classic Rock

Elton John Blames Drug Use for His Hair Loss | Showbiz Cheat Sheet

History of ISHRS | ISHRS

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