Never mind losing their job or being cheated on, a bigger fear for British men is thinning on top. In a survey of 2,000 men, 58% of 18–24 year olds reveal they suffer from pelodaphobia – the fear of losing one’s hair. The anxiety is most acute in this age bracket but, overall, 33% of men are concerned about it, and one in ten are not just losing hair but sleep, too. The harsh truth is that more men than not will be affected by male pattern baldness by the time they are 50 and, for many of them, a thinning hairline may trigger feelings of inadequacy and self-consciousness.
What is male pattern baldness?
Androgenic alopecia, also known as male pattern baldness, is the most common type of hair loss and affects some 6.5 million men in the UK. The first signs are usually noticed in the late twenties; by their late thirties, most men will have experienced thinning to a certain degree. As the name suggests, the condition generally follows a pattern: it begins with a receding hairline, then thinning at the crown and temples to leave a horseshoe shape around the back and sides. In rare cases it will continue until the head is completely bald. The progression of male pattern baldness can be measured on the Norwood scale. There is a hereditary factor in androgenic alopecia where an underlying sensitivity reacts to the conversion of the hormone testosterone to the DHT, and the hair follicles become miniaturized.
What can be done about it?
Given the option, over 50% of British men would choose a full head of hair over a sports car, but on a more practical note there is realistic action one can take, from NHS-approved medication and laser caps to hair transplants and scalp micropigmentation. For the many men who aren’t ready to surrender to the effects of male pattern baldness, the game doesn’t have to be up yet.