The Senegalese-American singer Aliaune Damala Badara Akon Thiam, known by his stage name “Akon,” is someone many millennials grew up listening to. And while since 2012, he hasn’t really been active in the music scene, he’s still very much a public figure.
That much should’ve been clear from the rounds his hairline recently made on the internet’s meme world. From being dubbed the “Lego man” to someone who had a “grass hut” on his head, his hairline was the talk of the town.
What caught more attention though was the fact that he chose to come to Turkey for his new hairline. But it was discussed as more of a cautionary tale because of how the singer’s hairline was drawn and positioned.
In this blog, we’ll take a closer look at Akon’s hair transplant journey and whether or not his final results could’ve been better.
Why Did Akon Get A Hair Transplant?
In 2022, on The Bootleg Kev podcast, Akon admitted to getting a hair transplant in Turkey for his frontal thinning.
The “Beautiful” singer’s hairline had been receding because of what’s known as androgenetic alopecia or male pattern baldness. “In the beginning, my whole front was loose, it was real thin,” the 50-year-old told Kev.
The thinning happens due to follicular miniaturisation. It’s the process in which the hair follicle gets constricted. And as a result, the hair shaft becomes thinner. It’s a part of pattern baldness, and it eventually progresses to baldness.
In his earlier photos, it can be seen that he tried to hide his hairline recession by straightening the frontal fringe of his hairline. But because he had quite short hair, it didn’t offer much coverage.
Keep in mind that in androgenetic alopecia, the hairline recession can continue until you’ve lost hair all the way to the crown or vertex of your scalp. With time, it will also make your forehead look bigger and bigger.
As that was happening for Akon as well, he decided to get a hairline restoration surgery to lower the position of his hairline.
How Was Akon’s Hair Transplant Procedure?
In the Bootleg Kev show, Akon said that the surgeons took “grafts” from the back of his head. This does indicate that he had an FUE hair transplant, in which units of hair with 1-4 hair each (called grafts) are taken out from the scalp.
This is done using a small punch tool. And it is different from the FUT hair transplant in which first a strip of skin is removed from the scalp, and then the grafts are cut out from the piece of skin.
About the surgery, the singer said that the only painful part was when his scalp was being numbed. Local anaesthesia is given before the surgery so you don’t feel any pain during the extraction and implantation of the follicles.
But the administration of the anaesthesia itself can cause pain. This is why there’s also the option to get needle-free anaesthesia. It uses a jet injector to deliver local anaesthesia to the target area. It’s still not completely pain-free, but it’s less than what you’ll experience with needles.
Here, it should be noted that while Akon admitted to his hair transplant in 2022, he probably had it a couple of years ago. Looking at his photos, he seemed to have had the procedure in 2020. His new hairline could be clearly seen in his inauguration photos for Akon City.
It takes around 12-18 months for the hair transplant results to show. However, hair growth usually starts 3-4 months after the procedure. Many people show good density even just after 6 months.
What’s Wrong With Akon’s Hair Transplant?
While Akon loved the results of his hair transplant, the internet had a lot to say about it.
Some said it looked like he was wearing a bad hairpiece. Others said he looked like he’d 3D printed his hair. And then there were still others who said he looked like a Lego man.
Most criticisms surrounding his hairline had to do with its position, particularly how low it was. The shape of the hairline probably didn’t help either because it was too straight.
It might’ve not been too noticeable had the temple peaks been drawn better. That way, his hairline would’ve looked more “rectangular,” which is a common hairline shape among men.
Without the temples, however, nothing really balanced the very noticeably straighter and lower hairline. As a result, in many of his photos, it almost looks like he had a bad bowl cut.
Another thing that looks odd here is the size of his forehead after the surgery. According to a study on “Frontal hairline patterns for natural design and restoration,” published in Surgical and Radiologic Anatomy, the average forehead height in men is about 61.4mm (6.14cm or 2.4 inches).
However, after Akon’s surgery, it looks to be around 4-5cm, which is lower than average, and again makes it stand out quite a lot.
Still, at the end of the day, if Akon’s happy with how his hair looks, that’s all that matters. Despite all the memes, he did say that to him, his hair “looks amazing.”
How Much Did Akon’s Hair Transplant Cost?
In the Bootleg Kev podcast, Akon also revealed that he had his hair transplant in Turkey for $7,500. “For what I did, it would have cost me $50,000 in America. I paid $7,500,” said Akon of his decision to have the surgery in Turkey.
Even so, you should know that $7,500 is still an expensive hair transplant in Turkey. Typically, a hair transplant in Turley costs around $2,000 to $2,500. So, the “Lonely” singer still paid a lot for this surgery.
Also important to remember is that hair transplant in Turkey isn’t low cost because of low quality. It’s this way because of currency exchange rates and low cost of living.
Akon could’ve gotten better results even if he had an “averagely-priced” surgery. That’s because the hairline design comes down to the skill and experience of the surgeon.
For this reason, it’s important that you do your research before choosing a clinic for your surgery. You should check the overall experience of the surgeon and their patient portfolio (the before and after photos, in particular).
Akon’s hair transplant has been widely talked about. The singer admitted to it himself, but it wasn’t his admission that made headlines.
The way his new hairline was drawn almost made it look like that he was wearing a wig. It was not positioned correctly, and it just wasn’t well drawn. Aside from the design, the surgery itself appeared to be a success since he achieved quite good hair density.
More importantly, however, Akon was happy with how his hair looked. Hair loss can cause a lot of stress and affect people’s self-esteem. With a hair transplant, it’s possible to permanently restore your hair.
But before you get this surgery, make sure to consult a board-certified medical professional for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan.