Balding, once primarily a problem for Caucasian men, is now affecting Asian men as well.
In the past, only a small percentage of Asian men suffered from hair loss, this is no longer true. Modern lifestyle factors such as lack of sleep, poor eating habits, and smoking are taking their toll on the hairline of Asian men.
According to a recent survey of 50,000 men in China, people in their 30s are experiencing hair loss at a faster rate than any other demographics. In Korea, a study showed that 90% of people without hair loss believe that balding men appear older and less attractive. As a result, hair transplant surgeries are becoming more popular across Asia. In China, the hair transplant industry is expected to be worth $3 billion this year, a four-fold increase from 2016.
Hair loss prevention products, including sprays, serums, and shampoos, are also becoming more popular in Asia. E-commerce giant Alibaba reporting that 70% of hair loss prevention orders are from customers under 40. Traditional Chinese medicine has also offered remedies, some of which have dangerous side effects.
According to a study published by the journal JAMA Dermatology, minoxidil is the most well-known treatment for men and women, available in liquid, foam, and shampoo forms. It requires application twice a day on the scalp, but it can cause side effects. They include itching, burning, dryness, scaling, and flaking, and the positive effects can take several months to appear.
Asian and Japanese scientists are also exploring new ways to combat balding. These include the use of stem cells to grow hair transplanted into mice. In Korea, a technique called micro pigmentation tattoo is used. Thousands of dots on the scalp to give the appearance of a shaved head. However, this hairstyle is still associated with negative stereotypes. Having a shaved head is associated with people who have been in prison or who belong to a gang. Therefore the micro pigmentation tattoo technique that mimics this appearance is sometimes also associated with negative stereotypes. Additionally, some people may view the procedure as unnatural or unattractive, leading to further stigmatization.
Despite the increasing popularity of hair transplants and prevention products, there are still very few high-profile bald or balding Asian men. In a culture that values a long-haired male appearance, it remains to be seen whether the rise in balding will lead to a shift in the male beauty standard and break the stigma associated with balding in Asian culture.