A recent survey conducted by independent company Plus 94 Research, on behalf of Alpecin Caffeine Shampoo, has found that hair loss is more prevalent in middle-aged South African men than erectile dysfunction.
Close on 40% of the 600 men (aged 20 to 65) showed signs of hair loss.
This rose to two thirds of men between the ages of 36 and 55, who commented that after weight issues, hair loss was more of a concern than strong body odour or bad breath.
A quarter of the 600 said they felt losing hair would affect their attractiveness, and a third aged between 36 and 55 commented that this would negatively affect their social lives.
According to the survey:
39% of all respondents were showing signs of early hair loss (22%), had a serious hair loss problem (9%) or were almost bald (8%).
Most men (59%) spend R100 or less a month on their hair; 37% spend up to R499; and 4% spend over R500.
Almost half (45%) of the men surveyed are willing to spend an additional R150 a month to prevent hair loss, while 9% are willing to spend more than R150.
Single, divorced and separated men are willing to spend more on countering hair loss than married men.
Cape Town-based men spend more on their hair than their Durban and Johannesburg counterparts.
Almost 40% of respondents showing signs of hair loss are treating the problem. Dr Colinda Linde, clinical psychologist and chairperson of the board of the SA Depression and Anxiety Group, explains that hair has historically been regarded as a sign of youth, health and vitality.
“If a full head of hair is so closely associated with these attributes, it is clear why significant hair loss is so devastating in men. Studies have shown that men who have significant hair loss – especially prematurely – experience greater difficulty interacting with the opposite sex.”
She adds: “In our appearance-obsessed society, there is pressure to look youthful, and hair, along with other physical attributes, is seen as a significant part of one’s identity and status in society.”