Joe Rogan started losing his hair already in his early 20’s.
From this picture, you still can’t see any visible signs of hair loss because he already learned how to camouflage the receding corners.
His hairline started to recede irregularly – more on the right side and less on the left side.
By the time of 27 years old we can already see an obvious hairline recession.
“I saved my hair with Minoxidil and then Minoxidil was hanging in there. After a while the hair was still falling out!”
Back in 1995 Minoxidil (Rogaine) was the only FDA approved treatment for male pattern baldness.
It is known that Joe had used Rogaine for slowing down his androgenetic alopecia progression but unfortunately it didn’t seem to benefit him very well as he admitted in one of his clips on YouTube.
Unfortunately Finasteride (Propecia) hasn’t been FDA approved for hair loss until 1997.
Had Joe started using Finasteride earlier on, he could have potentially slowed down his hair loss more effectively than with using Minoxidil (Rogaine).
Relying on Minoxidil as a monotherapy for treating hair loss hasn’t been shown as the best strategy as there is an increasing number of studies which prove the limitation of Minoxidil treatment for hair loss
It only stimulates new hair growth by prolonging the anagen (growing) phase of the hair follicle but does nothing to stop further hair loss. Minoxidil doesn’t target the underlying cause of hair loss – androgen sensitivity of the hair follicles to DHT and TESTOSTERONE.
If the hair follicle sensitivity to androgens is greater than stimulation effects of Minoxidil, the follicle will miniaturize regardless.
For Minoxidil to be effective in stimulating new hair growth, it has to be first metabolized onto Minoxidil Sulfate. This process happens in the liver and on the scalp (by topical Minoxidil 5% application).
Thus, the effectiveness of Minoxidil relies predominantly on the individual ability of each patient to metabolize Minoxidil active ingredient into Minoxidil Sulfate on the scalp.
Recent studies have shown that only 40% of patients treated with Minoxidil in fact respond favorably to this treatment.
In this article on Minoxidil vs Minoxidil Shampoo I also talked about 3 scientifically proven ways on how to Boost Minoxidil Effectiveness for Non-Responders!
Although we don’t have much information about his 1st, 2nd or 3rd hair transplant, we know, they were all FUT (follicular unit transplantation). This type of hair transplantation requires excision of the skin tissue from the back of the scalp (occipital region).
This skin tissue further contains the hair follicles which will be later dissected from the excised skin tissue and transplanted on the bald scalp.
In one of his clips, Joe admitted he had his hair transplant done when he was 28 years old while in the video below, he said his 1st hair transplant was at the age of 26.
Despite him having 2 hair transplant done in his mid-late 20’s, it never seemed like his hairline ever recovered or improved. In fact, It seems as if his hairline kept on receding further despite having 3 hair transplants done. He likely had 2 minor and 1 major one done.
Where is the big hairline comeback!?
If you look at any videos and photos of Joe Rogan between 1995 and 2005, it is very hard to spot any “boost” in his hairline. It just seems as if nothing really happened! So what went wrong with his hair transplants then?
On the photo above we can see that the scar on the back of his head. The length of the scar suggests that it wasn’t just a little procedure. Scars of similar length can easily yield from 2500-3000 hair follicles as it was the case with Machine Gun Kelly.
Such a high number of follicles would be very hard to overlook on the transplanted area unless the follicles didn’t grow back!!!
In the red rectangle you can see the rest of Joe’s thinning hair. Some of that hair is very likely transplanted, but there is not a lot of it after all.
After Joe decided to buzz his hair short and own the shaved head look, we could almost count every single wispy hair on his scalp. It’s quite odd, when his scar suggests at least 2500 hair follicles transplanted…
If the hair on the top is the transplanted hair only, it had been transplanted in a very low density initially.
Although it is also quite usual that not 100% of the transplanted hair grows back, but it always should be at 90% and higher. Unfortunately in Joe’s case, it seems like less than 10% of the transplanted hair grew back.
In on of his YouTube clips from 2018 he explained that his hair transplant didn’t work because his hair was way too thing and thus the end result didn’t look so good. But even then, we would at least be able to see way more hair follicles sprouting on top of his head.
This brings us to the following conclusion:
1. The hair after Joe’s hair transplants didn’t grow back as expected (likely less than 10% of the hair grew back)
2. The hair grew back initially but after some time it started to miniaturize as a result of Joe not taking Finasteride. On top of that he might have been also experimenting with anabolic steroids, Testosterone, etc.
With continuous use of performance enhancing drugs and no anti-hair loss treatments even the transplanted hair can miniaturize.
Surprisingly low FUT scar positioning could also explain why Joe’s transplanted hair thinned out over time.
In the ideal scenario the FUT scar would be positioned at least 1 cm higher compared to where Joe has it.
The positioning of his scar is risky because the hair which such excision yields has higher thinning potential as opposed to the hair from the “safe donor area.”
After one unsuccessful hair transplant, it is normally common to get a repair surgery to correct what the 1st hair transplant didn’t provide and thus meet the patient’s expectations, in Joe Rogan’s case it wasn’t possible.
Joe Rogan was destined to become a NW6 – NW7 on the Hamilton-Norwood scale. In such case, even hair transplants come short. Trying to pursue another hair transplant in his case would have been twice as hard, because he already had his donor area depleted once with the first FUT.
And no matter if the hair transplant turns successful or not at the end, once the hair has been extracted from the donor area via FUT or FUE, this region becomes temporarily depleted.
The depletion level then depends on how many hair follicles have been extracted in total.
It’s great that he decided to just shave it, because any additional hair restoration attempts would have just delay the inevitable.
Even if his 1st major hair transplant turned successful (the one which resulted in the long scar), he still wouldn’t likely be able to cover up future baldness with his donor hair follicles which were left untouched.
In order to avoid causing more and more damage to the donor area with future hair transplants in exchange for a very little cosmetic improvement, he rather decided to shave his head.
It is always important to have a realistic outlook as a hair transplant patient. One should be aware of his limited donor hair supply and the future hair loss progression.
Because sooner or later, there will be a time when the donor area isn’t able to “keep up” with the patterned baldness and patients are then going to be left with partial hair coverage and depleted donor areas.
Joe Biden had his hair transplant done despite being destined for a NW6 – NW7 later on. Had Joe Rogan’s 1st hair transplant succeeded, his hair would have likely ended up like Joe Biden’s.
In Joe Biden’s case the transplanted hair actually grew back on his hairline but unfortunately he wasn’t able to save his native hair from falling out and thus ended up with only partial hair coverage on the front. This appearance is also known as the “Island of hairs” among hair transplant patients.
That’s why it is crucial to take hair loss prevention seriously and start with an effective treatment as soon as possible.
Maintaining as much of one’s native hair as possible can drastically diminish the demands for transplanted hair follicles. This allows you to utilize hair restoration as a long term hair preservation method without running out of the donor hair supply.
You can check out my article on “The Big 3 of Hair Loss Prevention” which shows you how to avoid future hair loss the most effective and science-based way!
Remember: The transplanted hair can only look great as long as the hair round it looks great!