Prince Harry has been hitting the headlines a lot in recent months. This new wave of attention began three months ago, when Netflix released Harry & Meghan – a documentary series in which the prince and his wife, Meghan Markle, discuss the beginnings of their relationship and the way they were treated by the royal family and the British press. In its first week, Harry & Meghan became Netflix’s most-watched documentary series of all time, reaching 28 million households around the world.
One month later, Harry published his controversial memoir, Spare. The book – which provides an insight into the strained relationships in the prince’s life, as well as the trauma he experienced from growing up in the public eye – quickly became the fastest-selling nonfiction book since records began, selling almost half a million copies in the UK in its first week of publication.
With everyone’s eyes turned on Prince Harry in recent months, some spectators have noticed that the Duke of Sussex’s red hair looks much thicker and fuller than it previously did. One of the best ways to reverse hair loss with natural-looking hair is to have hair transplant surgery – so could the prince have had a hair transplant? Here’s what we know:
Prince Harry’s Hair Loss
When it comes to hair loss in the royal family, we tend to think of Harry’s older brother, Prince William, before anyone else. The Prince of Wales began to lose his hair at an unusually early age; in fact, the press first started to comment on William’s hair loss in 2006, when he was only 24 years old. And by the end of his 20s, William’s baldness was even more extreme than his father’s.
In Spare, Harry describes his older brother’s rapid hair loss as “alarming”, and claims that it was always “more advanced than mine”. Nevertheless, baldness is often triggered by a genetic predisposition, which means that hair loss tends to run in families.
Luckily for Harry, William’s hair loss always has been “more advanced” than his younger brother’s – but this is because, even if two siblings have the same hair loss gene, baldness progresses at different rates in different people. Even though William’s hair loss occurred earlier and developed faster than Harry’s, the younger prince was genetically destined to experience baldness eventually.
So, inevitably – when Harry and Meghan were interviewed by Oprah Winfrey back in 2021 – people started to notice that the prince was visibly balding. In response, some reporters started pinning Harry’s hair loss on various events in his life – such as his formal departure from the royal family, the way in which he’s been hounded by the press, his deteriorating relationship with his father and brother, and even his marriage to Meghan.
But all of this rumouring and speculation in the tabloids misses the mark, as (though stress can, of course, trigger hair loss), Harry inherited baldness from his family, and so its cause is most likely genetic. In fact, it is probable that the prince suffers from male pattern baldness – a genetic condition (medically known as androgenic alopecia) which causes men to lose their hair as they get older. A study of Prince William and King Charles’ baldness suggests that these men suffer from this condition, so it is likely that it runs in the royal family.
In the interview with Oprah, fans noticed that Harry had a growing bald spot on his scalp. The spot was growing on the crown region of his head – otherwise known as the vertex – which is the highest point of the skull. This is typical for men who suffer from male pattern baldness. In addition, Harry appeared to experience thinning along the hairline at the front of his head – which is also typical for those who suffer from this condition.
Unless it is treated, male pattern baldness continues to take hold as men age. The Norwood scale (a 7-point classification system which is used to diagnose men with male pattern baldness) demonstrates the extent of hair loss that this condition eventually causes. In fact, Prince William – who has now lost all of the hair on the top and upper sides of his scalp – is an example of the final phase (stage 7) of male pattern baldness.
At the time of the Oprah Winfrey interview, Prince Harry was at stage 3 or 4 of the Norwood scale, with a particular focus on the crown (i.e., the bald spot). Since then, however, fans have noticed an increase in the thickness of his hair. The coverage is better than ever, and his bald spot has diminished. This suggests that the prince must have undergone a treatment of some kind – but was it a hair transplant?
Prince Harry’s New Look
As we mentioned, the Duke of Sussex has been in the limelight a lot recently – appearing in the Netflix documentary series, Harry & Meghan, as well as a sequence of television interviews in the run-up to the release of his memoir, Spare. In these television appearances, the prince appears to have undergone a transformation since we last saw him in the interview with Oprah Winfrey: his hair is thicker, stronger and healthier.
Harry’s hairline – which was previously showing signs of recession and thinning – appears to have come forwards slightly. The hairs themselves are stronger – and the red colour is deeper and more vibrant – than before.
The coverage across the prince’s scalp also appears to be more even and consistent than it was at the time of the Oprah Winfrey interview. Back then, Harry was experiencing thinning across the frontal region of his head, whilst the hairs on the lower back and sides of his scalp remained thick and healthy. This is normal for those with male pattern baldness – which (eventually) causes all of the hair on the top of the head to fall out, and leaves a horseshoe-shaped ring of hair on the lower half of the head.
Now, Harry has thick and healthy hairs growing across the entirety of his scalp – which suggests that he treated his baldness with a cosmetic procedure.
Has Prince Harry had a hair transplant?
Hair transplant surgery works by removing hairs from one area of the scalp and transplanting them into another. The area from which hairs are taken is known as the ‘recipient area’, while the area that hairs are transferred to is called the ‘donor area’.
Male pattern baldness causes hair to fall out of the top half of the head, and leaves a thin ring of hair running along the lower half. This is because the hairs that grow on the lower back and sides of the scalp are not affected by the condition, and so they remain thick and healthy for life. Consequently, during a hair transplant, the lower back and sides of the scalp will be selected as the recipient areas: hairs will be extracted from these sections and re-inserted into the balding areas of the head.
As Prince Harry now has full coverage across the whole of his head, it is very possible that he has had a hair transplant. The procedure will have ‘filled in’ his bald spot using healthy hairs from the recipient areas, whilst also thickening out the general thinning and bringing the hairline forwards.
Alternatively, it is possible for the Duke of Sussex to have reversed his hair loss via a non-surgical procedure, such as a PRP hair treatment. This procedure works by removing a small blood sample from the patient’s arm and placing it inside a machine called a centrifuge. The centrifuge then rotates rapidly for around ten minutes, which causes the blood sample to divide into three separate solutions: red blood cells, platelet-poor plasma, and platelet-rich plasma.
The platelet-rich plasma (or PRP) is then collected into a syringe and injected into various spots across the scalp. As platelets are responsible for promoting healing in the body, the platelet-rich plasma (which contains roughly five times the number of platelets as a normal blood sample) will revitalise the damaged hair follicles in the scalp and stimulate new growth.
Like hair transplant surgery, PRP hair treatments improve the thickness and colour of the hair as well as the overall coverage, so it is possible that Prince Harry opted for this procedure to reverse the effects of his male pattern baldness.
An alternative non-surgical procedure that the Duke of Sussex may have arranged to reverse his hair loss is laser light therapy. This treatment uses red light (as well as near infrared light) to increase the flow of blood to the hair follicles in the scalp, which floods them with the healthy oxygen and nutrients that they need to produce strong, voluminous hair.
During this procedure, high-power LEDs called diodes are placed next to the patient’s head. The diodes then emit the red light (without emitting any heat, so that there is no risk of skin burning). In addition to increasing blood circulation to the hair follicles, the red light prompts the skin cells on the scalp to create a chemical called triphosphate. This is then converted into another chemical, called adenosine monophosphate (or AMP). AMP kickstarts metabolic processes which produce energy, and your body uses this energy to launch a new growth phase, resulting in thicker, healthier hair.
Finally, the Prince may have taken medication to reverse his hair loss (or used medication alongside one of the above procedures). Minoxidil, for example, is a hair loss medication that is sold under the brand name Rogaine. It can be purchased over the counter in the form of liquid, foam or shampoo. Alternatively, it can be taken orally in the form of a tablet if you get a prescription from your GP.
Minoxidil works by widening the hair follicles, which allows them to absorb more oxygen and nutrients from the blood than they ordinarily would. The flooding of the follicles with these healthy substances enables them to produce thick, healthy hair.
Alternatively, Harry may have used a medicine called Finasteride to restore his hair. This medicine (which is sold under the brand name Propecia) is taken in the form of a pill, and it can only be obtained if you have a prescription from your doctor. Finasteride works by stopping your body from producing DHT – which is the hormone that is responsible for male pattern baldness.
Ultimately, Prince Harry may have had one – or a combination of many – of these treatments. Although his new look appears consistent with the results of a hair transplant, we cannot know exactly which procedure he has undergone unless the prince opens up about this himself. What we can know, however, is that Harry must have undertaken some kind of treatment – since male pattern baldness never goes away or heals on its own. As the Norwood scale shows, the condition continues to worsen as men age, until all of the hair on the top half of the scalp is gone.
By acting quickly, Prince Harry has saved his hair before it is too late. The treatments and solutions described above are always most successful when they are implemented early – before the worst symptoms of male pattern baldness take effect. In fact, the ideal time to seek a hair transplant is when a patient’s hair loss is at stages 3 or 4 of the Norwood scale, which (if he has had a transplant) is exactly what the prince has done.
At this time, the areas of balding are severe enough to warrant surgery, but there is still enough healthy hair remaining to produce the best and most natural-looking results. By seeking treatment early, therefore, Prince Harry has avoided his older brother’s fate and ensured that he will continue to have a full head of healthy hair for many years to come.