SINGAPORE – Seven per cent of Singaporeans would contemplate breaking off relations with their partners, and a further 10 per cent would be embarrassed about introducing their partners to friends and family, if their partners were suffering from hair loss.
These were the findings of a study which sought to understand the perceptions of Singaporeans towards the hairy issue of balding.
In contrast, a majority of the 600 respondents – nearly 75 per cent – reported a more moderate response, choosing instead to urge their partners to seek treatment immediately.
The survey also found that hair loss negatively affects first impression.
Unsurprisingly, men were more critical than women when it came to having a full head of healthy hair. 66 per cent of men agreed that hair loss negatively affects first impressions, and it shows.
In important social situations such as business meetings, interviews or romantic dates, male respondents placed the most emphasis on making sure their hair is presentable.
Across most age groups, hair loss was the second most cited concern amongst men, at an average of 29 per cent, after weight, which was a concern for 43 per cent of respondents. Among 45 to 54 year olds, concerns over hair loss spike to 42 per cent, outstripping weight at the number one concern.
Despite this preoccupation with hair, men did not appear to be highly motivated to prevent hair loss. While 62 per cent of men surveyed agreed that premature hair loss was preventable, only 23 per cent believed treatments would work.
Nearly half of the male respondents indicated that they accept that hair loss is a part of growing older, or claimed that they aren’t bothered by it. Of the men who reported experiencing signs of hair loss, only one in four sought treatment.
Women on the other hand were more likely to seek treatment. They were found to be also more likely to seek treatment earlier, at the first sign of hair loss. They are also seven per cent more likely to urge their partners to seek treatment compared to men.
To understand the perceived severity of hair loss amongst Singaporean men, the researchers asked if they would be willing to give up certain luxuries – such as internet access, mobile phones or sex – for a year in exchange for full head of hair for the rest of their lives.
Almost seven in 10 men said they are willing to forego alcohol for a year in exchange for a full head of hair. More surprisingly, 15 per cent of Singaporean men said they would give up one year of their life to be free from hair loss.
Compared to other surveys done internationally, Singaporean men’s willingness to escape hair loss appears to be close to the average.
In the Netherlands, 10 per cent of men were willing to live shorter, while in Denmark, the figure drops to just five per cent. However in Hong Kong, 46 per cent of men surveyed reported willingness to live shorter lives in order to win back lost hair.
“While the results show that Singaporeans generally do care about hair and hair loss, there is also a lot of reluctance to ‘make a big deal’ about it, especially amongst men,” said Kelvin Eng, Managing Director of Antzworkz, the research firm that conducted the Singapore study.
“Being seen to care about their hair may be perceived as vanity or less ‘macho’ behaviour, which leads to many men simply ignoring or avoiding the problem entirely.”
The study was commissioned by Dr. Kurt Wolff GmbH, inventors of Alpecin, a caffeine-based shampoo formula for the prevention of hair loss.
The study polled 600 Singaporean respondents aged 25 years and older, between August and September 2013.