Hair loss stigma leaves many young men resorting to transplants, piercings and tattoos
One in five young men under 24 are turning to hair transplants at the first sign of hair loss.
More than half (58%) of this age group have faced some sort of negative prejudice romantically as a result of hair loss, a new report has found. Similarly, one in five have been on the receiving end of someone using what it looks like as an excuse not to go on a second date.
The same amount also report they have had someone cancel a date with them after finding out they have no hair, the UK Male Hair Loss report of 1,503 Brits using dating apps has found.
Being anxious about receiving such judgement, one in six losing their hair have cancelled a date themselves, with 28% choosing to wear a hat when they do go on one.
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“Typically, when you think of male hair loss, we tend to think of the older generations, but hair loss can, start as early as 16 for some," Dr Sameer Sanghvi, GP and clinical technology lead at LloydsPharmacy Online Doctor, which conducted the survey, points out.
"Nearly nine in 10 of those surveyed said they think there is a stigma attached to hair loss, which correlates to feelings of self-consciousness and perhaps leads to men seeking ways to disguise their hair loss rather than embrace it."
Only one in four (24%) of young men feel comfortable enough to show their lack of hair on their first dating profile photo, with them more likely to reveal it instead on their third picture.
The attitudes they face within the dating sphere towards baldness are contributing to almost three in four (72%) feeling unattractive and self-conscious, and ultimately looking for ways they can distract or disguise their lack of hair.
The findings also reveal that men aged 16-24 are the most likely to seek out medical treatment for hair loss, with more than two-fifths worrying about it.
Other than those opting for a procedure (19%), 13% said they have tried over-the counter-treatments at the first signs of symptoms and over a fifth (21%) tried a prescription such as minoxidil.
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And aside from trying out medical solutions, young men are taking other measures to try and help what they're made to feel like is a problem.
Almost one third (35%) of 16-24-year-olds are using working out to distract from hair loss, as the most common way to do so, followed by wearing a hat (33%).
And nearly one in four (23%) change their diet at the first sign of baldness, with the age group most likely to adopt a new lifestyle at this stage.
However, just under a third of men experiencing the condition under 24 choose to make more permanent changes in the form of body modifications, with 16% going as far as to get tattoos and 12% getting piercings as a form of distraction.
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Sharing his words of wisdom for younger men, Dr Sanghvi says, "While it’s great to see those aged 16-24 choosing to adopt a healthier diet and begin working out, lifestyle changes will solely not slow down or stop the process of hair loss so it’s important to embrace it as a natural part of human life.”
To learn more about the condition officially called androgenetic alopecia, or more commonly male pattern baldness, see our useful guide on hair loss in men: signs, symptoms, causes and treatments.
You can also find a support group on the Alopecia UK website, or contact the charity with any questions via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone on 08001017025.
Watch: What is alopecia?