The number of Korean men seeking treatment for hair loss is seeing an annual increase of approximately 4.8 percent, according to the Health Insurance Review & Assessment Service in Seoul.
The institution said the number of patients increased from 180,000 in 2009 to 210,000 in 2013. They spent 12.2 billion won ($11.88 million) for their treatment in 2009, and 18 billion won in 2013.
About 30 percent of the patients are in their 30s and 40s. “Hair loss can have many causes,” officials of the organization said in a statement.
“One of them is dihydrotestosterone, a derivative of the male hormone testosterone, which tends to destroy hair follicles on your head. Other causes include severe stress and malnutrition. Meanwhile, many women may notice changes in their hair during pregnancy or the postpartum period.”
One of the drugs available in Korea to treat male pattern baldness is Propecia by American pharmaceutical company Merck & Co.
The synthetic drug, also known as Finasteride, treats the first type of hair loss by blocking one’s production of dihydrotestosterone. Some of its side effects may include depression as well as sexual dysfunction.
“I decided not to take (the drug) because I didn’t want to take the risk, as many people I know have experienced the sexual side effects,” said a man in his 30s who is experiencing hair loss. He wanted to remain anonymous.
“One person I know said he actually doesn’t mind it because he thinks he had an overly active sexual appetite.”
Other types of hair loss include alopecia areata, better known as “spot baldness.” It is a condition in which hair is lost from certain areas of the body, usually from the scalp. According to the Health Insurance Review & Assessment Service, the condition is cured naturally 80 percent of the time, but may spread to the entire scalp in rare cases.
According to the institute, a healthy individual normally sheds some 50 to 70 strands of hair a day. Those who lose more than 100 strands daily are advised to seek treatment.
Aside from medical treatment, the best way to prevent hair loss is to shampoo properly. “Make sure to completely rinse your hair of the shampoo product, leaving no bubbles,” officials of the organization said in a statement. “Also make sure to dry your hair and scalp completely. Try not to use blow dryers too often. If you have anemia or thyroid problems, try to avoid stress as much as you can. You should also avoid fasting to lose weight in a short period of time.”
By Claire Lee (firstname.lastname@example.org)