While hair restoration treatment is often regarded as the preserve of older men, the reality is that younger men are coming forward in greater numbers than ever before. Statistics produced by the International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery (ISHRS) in 2022 show that just 23% of men having hair transplants are over the age of 50. The largest group, some 57.2% of men, are aged between 30 to 49 years old, while a further 20% are under 30. And this figure is rising.
That begs the question as to why so many younger men are now seeking hair restoration treatment. This article will look at some of the reasons and consider why being young, male and bald can be such a tough gig.
Hair Loss Stigma
A recent report into male hair loss in the UK revealed that 44% of men in the 16-24 age group worry about hair loss. Many of these confessed to feeling self-conscious and unattractive as a direct result of their hair loss. At a time in their lives when young men are under pressure on so many fronts, this kind of stress about their appearance is something they could well do without.
The survey also reveals that much of this stress is due to the negative stigma around hair loss that young men pick up and internalise. Many academic studies have examined the cultural significance of hair in society (see here for just one example). A common theme thrown up by this work is that an abundance of hair, in both male and females, is associated with youth, strength and virility. A loss of hair, therefore, when a man is at his most youthful and virile, can be particularly cruel.
Older men are perhaps in a better position to bear the loss. They may feel more secure and confident, having achieved a certain place and status in society by the time they hit middle age. It’s much harder to feel so relaxed about hair loss when you’re a younger man starting out in life, particularly if you are in your late teens and burdened with the kind of self-doubt typical of that age.
That self-doubt is cruelly exposed when it comes to dating. Of all the men surveyed, it was the younger ones who felt most keenly that hair loss had impacted their lives in this area. Over one-fifth of men in the 16-24 group believed that someone had cancelled a date with them or declined to go on a second date because of their baldness. Some even confessed to sabotaging their own chances by cancelling a date to avoid being ‘judged’ for their lack of hair. Just under 25% of young men felt confident enough in their appearance to show their baldness in the first photo they posted on dating apps.
While older men are more likely to reach for a hat to cover their balding head, younger men are more inclined to go for more radical solutions to draw attention away from their thinning strands; 28% of those surveyed revealed that they had resorted to tattoos and body piercings in an effort to shift the focus away from their hair. Other young men developed an interest in fitness training or changed their diet to make their physique more attractive.
Too Young for Treatment?
Many young men seek out medical procedures for their baldness or choose to go for over-the-counter remedies such as medication and hair products. While seeking advice about hair loss is a positive step for men of this age, surgical treatment isn’t necessarily the way forward. Many hair experts maintain that the optimum age for a hair transplant is in or around the age of 30, although this varies between individuals.
For one thing, surgeons want to establish the direction and pattern of hair loss, so that they don’t end up transplanting hair follicles from areas of the head that may be vulnerable to hair loss in the future. Doctors will also want to review a patient’s family history and suitability for treatments short of a hair transplant before recommending surgery.
Hair loss is difficult to cope with no matter what age you are, but younger men are particularly vulnerable to the loss of confidence and self-esteem that baldness often brings with it. The late teens and early twenties are notorious for being a time of insecurity and self-doubt even without the added complication of dealing with hair loss.
If you’re worried about your hair, you should speak to an expert at the earliest opportunity. Vinci Hair Clinic is always here to help. We are one of the biggest hair restoration organisations in the world with a network of clinics spanning continents. We offer a free, no-obligation consultation to all our new clients. Make today the day you get in touch to book your appointment!