Monday, September 29, 2014

The LeBron James Hair Mystery - Solved

Photo by PR Photos

Only a couple of weeks ago, the media was speculating about LeBron James' miraculously full hairline in his Sports Illustrated cover. Now that hairline is dwindling before our very eyes, and many are wondering, what the heck happened?

Last summer, I wrote about a suspicious scar at the back of LeBron's head during Game 6. This looked very similar to the long linear scar line that occurs after a strip-harvest hair transplant surgery (this scar is caused by the surgeon having to remove a strip of scalp, i.e., the 'donor area,' in order to supply the follicles for transplantation - and that's why I always encourage patients to seek out the more modern NeoGraft FUE instead). At the time, this seemed to suggest that LeBron had undergone an old-fashioned strip-harvest surgery; after all, his hairline was looking much fuller than it had for some time. However, now that the frontal hair line is thinning again, it's clear that he did not undergo hair transplantation - at least not at the front of his scalp. Transplanted hair is permanent - it doesn't fall out because of male pattern hair loss.

So what is happening with LeBron's on again, off again hair?

Unless the images are being photoshopped, which I don't think they are in every case, the most likely explanation is that LeBron has been using a camouflage powder (like Toppik) to make his hairline appear fuller. It's also possible that he's been using topical minoxidil (either over-the-counter or a compounded prescription version like Formula 82M) and simply stopped using it - although it generally takes about six weeks before we see hair fallout from discontinuing treatment. 

For those who wonder if his hair transplant is "wearing off" or failing him, sorry, but that's just not how it works. 

Mystery solved.

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