Throughout Donald Trump‘s presidency, the 77-year-old’s famous blonde hairdo received almost as much attention as his policies.
In 2015, fashion Bible Vanity Fair compared the business mogul’s barnet to a “dead, furry lobster,” while the New York Post dubbed it “bizarre.” Throughout his tenure, the former president battled accusations of a secret “combover,” while a gust of wind seemingly revealed a bald patch at the back of Trump’s head, sparking hair transplant rumors in November 2017.
New York City-based cosmetic surgeon Gary Linkov believes that the politician may have undergone five separate hair-transplant surgeries. Specializing in facial and hair procedures, Linkov shared a video to YouTube on October 8 explaining his reasoning.
“Did he get a hair transplant? It’s actually much more complicated than that and a great example of how hair restoration surgery has evolved over time,” he told his his 670,000 subscribers.
Linkov begins with an image of Trump at four years old, taken in 1950, to show viewers where the real-estate magnate’s hair naturally sits on the left side of his head.
“What a natural part means is that, that is where the hair changes direction,” Linkov explains. “While you can artificially create a part anywhere along your hairline, there is a place where that direction split naturally occurs.”
Linkov then moves ahead to 1964, sharing a photo of Trump at age 18. In this photograph, Trump’s hair is still parted to the left, but much further across his head, with his hair combed over to the right.
“He has a widow’s peak right in the center of the hairline, and he has early slight frontal temporal recession,” he said, with an arrow pointing towards Trump’s left temple.
Linkov then moves on to an image of Trump at age 30, photographed in 1976. The Apprentice star has switched his parting to the opposite side and begun to comb his hair over his forehead.
“Donald Trump is able to conceal the frontal temporal corners,” he explained, but two years later, Trump’s hairline has “changed significantly.”
“The hairline is now much straighter, it’s lower and it appears to be less natural,” Linkov continues. “If you look closely, you’ll see what appears to be small islands of hair.
Linkov suspects that Trump has had a procedure using “plug grafts.” An older style of hair transplant surgery, plug grafts first became popular in the 1950s and involved taking 4mm patches of skin from the back of the head and suturing them to the front of the hairline.
Unlike modern hair-transplant procedures, which usually take smaller patches of 0.8mm to 1mm, plug grafts took larger patches of scalp. The result was less natural looking, with Linkov comparing the result to a “doll’s hair type of appearance.”
He said this procedure is also why Trump’s forehead seems much smaller compared to his teenage self, and why the hairline is much straighter. Linkov also believes that Trump may have begun taking finasteride, a drug to prevent hair loss.
Linkov believes that in 1991, at the age of 45, Trump had his second procedure. He highlights the unusual shape of the hair at Trump’s left temple, as well as what may be scarring.
He suggests that Trump could have wanted to cover the plugs and had a rotational flap, which was a new technique at the time. The surgery involves taking a large section of scalp from the back of the head, where the hair is denser, and relocating it to the front. Containing 6,000 to 10,000 follicular units, this technique allowed for fuller coverage in a short amount of time.
However, the procedure also had a higher risk of scarring, which is why Linkov reckons Trump continued to comb his hair downwards over his forehead throughout the 1990s, further reducing its size.
Linkov suspects that Trump may also have had another surgery known as follicular unit transplantation or “FUT” in the early 2000s, as the temporal area is more concealed and the hair appears thicker. Like earlier procedures, FUT involves removing a strip of scalp from the back of hair. However, rather than relocating the flesh, surgeons exact individual follicles and transplant them instead for a more natural result that also conceals scars.
By 2003, at the age of 57, Trump’s hairline is much thicker, but his forehead is almost completely obscured. Switching to a photo of the back of Trump’s head, taken one year later, Linkov highlights scar patterns consistent with a past rotational flap surgery.
In 2011, Linkov suggests that Trump may have had a follicular unit extraction or “FUE” procedure. Similar to FUT surgery, FUE involves retransplanting individual follicles. However, follicles are taken directly from the scalp, which results in a quicker healing time and is the most common type of hair transplant procedure used today.
Finally, Linkov shares the famous wind-blown snap of Trump from 2017, which was taken as he boarded Air Force One. The image shows his hair flying off all directions, which Linkov said supports his theory of multiple hair transplant procedures.
“The way the hair flops in his video, it looks to me like he might have had a right-sided rotational flap in the past as well,” Linkov said. “Historically, those were sometimes done one-to-two months apart, to add further density to the front or mid-scalp.
“This can all help explain the complex combing that is involved in getting Donald Trump’s hair to look the way it does.”
Linkov’s analysis was shared to X, the social network formerly known as Twitter, by user Ron Filipkowski, where it received over 333,000 views.
Many users made jokes about the purported procedures, with Chevron writing: “He’s not kidding anyone.”
“Wind, his real enemy!” said FreeUkraine.
“I’m no fancy clinician, but could it be he simply wears his hair on backwards?” asked Jamesey.
“As a fellow bald man, I think Ron would agree if he was really the self confident man he purports to be, he would have just left it all alone,” said billyb.
However, others defended Trump, with Johnny calling Filipkowski “pathetic” for sharing the video.
“Worried about Trumps hair, when there’s a war going on, and we may be next,” he wrote.
Newsweek has reached out to Gary Linkov and Donald Trump for comment via email.