Life is full of things we can't control, and the number of curve balls thrown at us only seems to increase with age. But despite all the troubling processes brought on by the passage of time and growing older, one things scares men most: going bald.
HIS Hair Clinic, a hair-loss clinic based in the UK, surveyed 2,000 men about what they feared most when it came to aging. They found that 94 percent of men said balding, followed by becoming impotent, going grey, gaining weight, losing teeth, needing large “jam jar” glasses, going deaf, and having bad breath.
“Going bald is a frightening prospect for most men,” Ian Watson, of HIS Hair Clinic, told the Daily Mail. “It’s an open invitation for baldie jokes and snide remarks for everyone from family to strangers in the pub, and it’s just too personal to be funny.”
Androgenetic alopecia, also known as male pattern baldness, accounts for more than 95 percent of hair loss among men, and affects an estimated 35 million men in the U.S., according to the National Institutes of Health. It can start as early as adolescence, and over 50 percent of men have it to some degree by age 50.
Although the source of the survey is questionable, studies have shown that men experience distress as a result of losing their manes. One study examined the psychological effects on a group consisting of men who had gone bald extensively, mildly, and men who had not gone bald at all.
Those who were balding showed “considerable” preoccupation and moderate stress or distress. However, many of them made their best effort to cope with reality. Despite the fact that researchers found that although they showed less body-image satisfaction, they still rated comparably to those who hadn’t gone bald on other personality indexes.
“Hair loss can be genuinely distressing for men,” psychotherapist Toni Mackenzie told the Daily Mail. “It can’t be easily disguised and people do seem to think it is fair game for jokes, unlike things like putting on weight or going grey. Men who lose their hair are expected to adopt a laissez-faire attitude and take insults with good humor. The pressure this causes can have a huge effect on men’s self-confidence, which has knock-on effects on their physical and mental well-being.”