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Michael Jackson’s Hair Loss – What Happened to his Bald Spot?

The King of Pop once wore a very different crown and almost had it taken away. It’s hard to believe that Michael Jackson once sported a full afro and everyone’s probably also forgotten that he nearly went bald at 25 after a freak fire accident.

Michael JacksonWhile filming a Pepsi commercial in 1984, pyrotechnics accidentally set Jackson’s hair on fire. He was rushed to hospital and treated for second degree burns to the back of his head which scarred his hair follicles and left him with a major bald patch.

When hair-bearing skin is badly burnt, the hair follicles are destroyed and replaced by scar tissue. The hair loss is permanent and known as cicatricial (or scarring) alopecia.

Pyrotechnics burnt scalp

Jackson was singing his hit “Billie Jean” in a simulated concert scene when the special effects went wrong. Three thousand fans saw a firework display erupt behind the superstar, showering him in sparks and setting light to his hair. Jackson covered his burning hair with his jacket but some audience members thought it was part of the act.

Jackson later underwent 80 minutes of laser surgery to repair his scalp. His surgeon Dr. Steven Hoefflin, famously known as “Doc Hollywood” who Jackson formed quite an attachment to over the years, said he was able to stitch the wound without having to implant or transplant hair from other parts of Jackson’s head.

*Update July 2009 – Since Jackson’s death in June 2009 video footage of the accident has been released showing the superstar’s hair catching alight for more than 5 seconds before his entouage and security surrounded him to put out the flames.*

According to Leonora Doclis, senior trichologist at the Belgravia Centre, while laser surgery can make the scar smaller, it won’t help in generating hair growth from the scar.

“Apparently the laser treatment reduced the scar to palm-size, but that is huge,” Leonora says. “If the follicles are damaged they will not produce hair. It is very unlikely that his hair grew back after this treatment.”

This begs the question then – what happened to Michael Jackson’s bald spot? Interestingly, the same surgeon who treated Jackson’s hair loss is responsible for Donald Trump’s combover. He performed scalp reduction surgery to reduce the size of the business mogul’s bald spot which he now covers with the rest of his hair.

Cicatricial alopecia – scarring hair loss

Leonora says treating cicatricial alopecia is challenging. “The best they can do without wearing a wig is if they can hide the scarred bald patch with their own hair.”

Cicatricial alopecia is a broad term that includes all forms of hair loss concerning inflammation directed at the hair follicle.

“There are several reasons for scarring hair loss. Scalding is just one and there is an autoimmune factor,” Leonora says. In addition to burns and other injuries, cicatricial alopecia can be caused by certain types of infections like granulomas, lupus erythematosus, recurring bacterial or fungal infections, a skin disease called lichen planus, and scalp ringworm.

“Therefore there is no point in transplanting hair from one side of the scalp to another when it can still be subject to an autoimmune attack.”

The progression of cicatricial alopecia as the result of an internal problem is unpredictable but hair loss is irreversible once the follicle is destroyed. Leonora says autoimmune suppressant steroids could be injected but they won’t prevent or treat hair loss.

Minoxidil, a vasodilator, may be helpful to stimulate any small, remaining, unscarred follicles but the effectiveness vastly relies on the strength of the medication required by the individual and the damage done to the hair follicles.

Despite Dr. Hoefflin’s claims that Jackson’s scalp would be completely healed within several months, Leonora has her doubts over the authenticity of Jackson’s hair.

“I think he may be covering certain areas with a hair system (hairpiece),” she says. “Some of it could be natural and he could have hair grafts which are a form of non-surgical hair replacement.”

As for his dramatic transformation from typical afro hair to the sleek style he now brandishes, Leonora says chemical straightening could be responsible, if it is indeed his real hair.

Cicatricial alopecia, whether internally or externally provoked, is a frightening and distressing condition. Diagnosis and treatment is often challenging so a consultation with a hair loss specialist is absolutely essential. Treatment for other forms of hair loss such as male or female pattern (genetic) hair loss, and alopecia can be very successful. For more information contact the Belgravia Centre, the UK’s leading hair loss clinic, on 020 7730 6666 or send an email.

And just so you know…
Back then, hair wasn’t Michael Jackson’s only concern – he’d already had two nose jobs by the time he was 25 and went for his third rhinoplasty shortly after the hair loss incident. From then on his visits with Doc. Hollywood became ever more frequent.

The Belgravia CentreThe Belgravia Centre

The Belgravia Centre is the leader in hair loss treatment in the UK, with two clinics based in Central London. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our Online Consultation Form from anywhere in the UK or the rest of the world. View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which are the largest collection of such success stories in the world and demonstrate the levels of success that so many of Belgravia’s patients achieve. You can also phone 020 7730 6666 any time for our hair loss helpline or to arrange a free consultation.


14th April, 2009 at 11:01 pm


Well, I'm not sure if he wears a wig now or not, but in the book "michael jackson: the magic and the madness" it says that the burn on his scalp was only really aa big bigger than a quarter, still very painful, but not too big.

4th May, 2009 at 5:48 am


He said he only had two nose jobs, which if you look at pictures of him from his second surgery his nose has stayed the same size and width, the media has had a field day with making up stories about his appearance. Also I think if when his hair caught fire there was slow response to put it out then it would seem likely that he would have major hair loss, but it was said that was he was calm about it and even reassured the audience about what happened, then more then likely it did not burn his scalp as intensely as your saying

29th June, 2009 at 7:00 pm


Micheal defnantly does NOT wear a wig. Anyone who meets him can see that. I shud know, I'm his no 1 fan, going to see all his appearances st O2 centre

2nd July, 2009 at 9:14 am


I'm afriad he does wear a wig... came out at autopsy that he is almost completley bald and also on the front of Q magazine you can see it clearly. R.I.P MJ.

9th July, 2009 at 10:41 pm


I don't know if it was Michael Jackson hair or not but is that important?

10th July, 2009 at 6:03 am


For everyone who does not know...Michael Jackson did wear a wig most of his life after the fire.The wigs that he did use were about $20,000+ lace-front wigs this is y they looked so real and so good.I love MJ i just wanted u guys to know what was going on.R.I.P MJ you r the best know matter how u looked we will always love the King ^___^

12th July, 2009 at 3:33 am


I watched almost all of MJ'S singing career. It's tragic how the media has characterized a man that gave so much of himself to his audience, charities and the world. Michael's death has allowed me to bare witness of how extreme discipline from his father, according to one of MJ'S interviews, missing out on his childhood for the entertaintment business to only recieve judging, accusations, ridicule and misunderstanding a person can cause death. Even after Michael's death the media's attention is still on the same old cruel rhetoric!

13th July, 2009 at 11:04 pm


Micheal jackson was loved and will always be loved for who he is.

15th July, 2009 at 10:38 pm


I completely agree with all the comments on here. Michael Jackson was a freak.

16th July, 2009 at 9:13 am


I don't know if he did or didn't wear a wig but does it matter? For me he gave himself to his fans and that what matters not what he wore or how he looked, Damn he was good on stage.

20th July, 2009 at 5:46 am


Spongy I think you are more freak than any freak because of the way you are thinking. In fact you are the worst kind!!!!

2nd August, 2009 at 4:46 am


Michael did not wear a wig. Plus Michael is still alive i know he is >

17th August, 2009 at 3:44 am


Of course he's dead Sandy duh

17th August, 2009 at 8:07 pm


Michael had hair transplant after his scalp burned. but he had Vitiligo/Lupus which makes the hair thinner.. SO YOU CAN see if his hair is thin, then it is his natural hair! It was NOT MJ n the London 02 announcing concerts. it was a look-alike because Mj did not feel well...I think his hair was real because i can see it was getting thinner at some point.. and he had long hair. He was losing his hair last years of his life only because this is what the vitiligo does, together with short life span and the skin gets extremly white as time goes by...he never changed his skin and did not wear wigs until few years back..MJ is the best!

4th September, 2009 at 5:11 pm


I think it's ridiculous to keep going back and forth with if it was his hair or not. The truth of the matter is he went through a lot, he was in pain and it's sad to sit up and keep speculating about something that's not even important.

21st September, 2009 at 4:41 pm


One time when my sister was young about 6 she had a freak accident and it left her hair with a big bald spot that took up almost the whole center of her head. Now she's 17 and she has all her hair and you can't tell that she ever lost hair so I think it could have been possible for Michael Jackson to grow his hair back. Also, why does it matter if it was his hair or not.

23rd September, 2009 at 6:51 am


Umm his hair is real and it did grow back. You can even see the roots/his scalp and it looks "sewn in" well because he's a black person with relaxed hair. It can be blurry at times and depends on how the hair is parted. He may have worn wigs but not constantly/permanently like people are implying here, like just for quick hairstyles instead of having to do something to his real hair.

28th November, 2009 at 9:41 pm

Daniel blackwell

people say that he had a wrge but it is not ture people will always talk about him but it dose not matter to me because i love him

17th February, 2010 at 7:29 pm



11th July, 2010 at 3:07 am


who ever the [bleep] said that michael jackson was a freak, u need 2 shut the [bleep] up.

24th September, 2010 at 7:05 am


Fans of pop legend Michael Jackson will soon be able to step into his shoes (and sequined socks) and hit the virtual dancefloor with the release of ‘Michael Jackson: The Experience,’. It’ll be lively.

10th December, 2010 at 6:00 pm

joshua vega

i think that people should forget about how he looks but who he was.hes a man who gave so much to the world and we dont understand that for some reason i love michael jackson the man and sing not the man who would change his color. i will always remember him. he change the world more than people know.he didnt have to help people he didnt know but that who michael joseph jackson was and i thank him for that R.I.P michael jackson the king of a real man

10th December, 2010 at 6:06 pm

joshua vega

Michael was a talented person very talented.i pray for his kids all the time because when you lose a man like that its very very very hard to get over it. just leave the man alone. and to the people in the worl michael jackson was not strange he was a human . if you call michael jackson strange then you should call matin luther king strange cause DR.king and michael wanted the same thing to change the world and to change the world you have to change youself R.i.P michael jackson and martin luther king

4th September, 2011 at 5:55 pm


I don't care how many nose jobs Michael "Joe" Jackson had or if he was blad or not. All I know is he is the coolest man to ever walk the face of this earth and the most loving and caring person I have ever seen. He put his heart and soul into every one of his performances, no matter where he was. No one will ever be as great as Michael "Joe" Jackson. God Bless you Michael wherever you are. I love you with every fiber of my being. "It's All For Love. L.O.V.E." Michael's message and like everything else he does , that comes straight from his heart and soul.

24th November, 2011 at 3:33 pm

Helen Neely

I think the hair problem would have contributed to his obsession for wanting to change his looks. It's quite sad how such a hugely talented guy ended up.

19th April, 2012 at 4:41 am

michael jackson leather jacket

The legend of king of pop still rocks.

26th February, 2013 at 7:10 am


This is interesting. I just read a post about hairlos. I came across this post. I remember the burning hair incident but I have never know that he got surgery.

21st March, 2013 at 2:06 pm


Michale actually used to wear wigs. That's not his original. I saw it on a website.

6th July, 2017 at 2:01 am


Doesn't matter if it was or wasn't. He was put through so much. Will always have love for him.

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