The number of Koreans in their 40s getting hair loss treatments is increasing, local data showed.
|Koreans are becoming younger by the day, seeking out ways to look more youthful through cosmetic services and hair loss treatments.|
Hair loss, common among older men, impacts how old - or young - a person looks. Male hair becomes thinner starting from their mid-20s, and female hair begins to get thinner in the late 40s.
People belonging to the “Young 40” group are pursuing a young lifestyle by also actively seeking out hair loss treatments, government data showed. The number of 40-year old men with hair loss seeking treatment has been increasing steadily since 2014, according to Health Insurance and Review Assessment Service data.
Young 40s seeking hair loss treatment increased by more than 10 percent - rising from about 3,500 patients in 2013 to 3,900 patients in 2017.
Younger Koreans in their 20s and 30s are also actively seeking out hair loss therapies, a local physician said.
According to Dr. Lim Ee-seok from LIM EE SEOK Therma Dermatologic Clinic, more than 10,000 people in Korea have hair loss, with the number increasing drastically in the past few years.
“Although the estimated number changes with the standards set for hair loss, it is certain that the number of hair loss patients have increased very steeply since the 2000s,” Lim said. “The reason for the increasing numbers could be attributed to the growing number of patients in the young generation. Younger people are increasingly partaking in activities that aggravate hair loss such as diet, stress, and dietary habits due to rising interest in outward appearances.”
According to the physician, more than 50 percent of hair loss patients are in their 10s to 30s, meaning the problem isn’t related to the middle-age group.
What is hair loss?
Usually, around 50 to 100 strands of hair fall out a day. Hair loss can be suspected when more than 100 strands fall out a day.
The condition may also be suspected when the number of hair that fall out suddenly increases or hair becomes thinner than usual. Also known as alopecia, hair loss is a concern for men, women, and children.
Many causes exist and vary from person to person with the biggest being hereditary androgen depilation.
To prevent hair loss, a balanced lifestyle, nutritional balance, avoiding excessive drinking or smoking, reducing stress, and protecting against UV rays is essential, Lim said, noting that finding a specialist at an early stage of suspected hair loss is crucial to identify the cause and treat it.
“Losing the time frame to treat it leads to poor treatment progress,” he said.
How, and when, to treat hair loss
Treatments for hair loss include medications such as Propecia (finasteride), Avodart (dutasteride), Rogaine (minoxidil), hair replacements, and hair restoration.
A typical treatment method is to take a 5 alpha-reductase inhibitor, which prevents hair loss progression by suppressing the production of dihydrotestosterone (DHT).
While previous treatments were indicated for those up to 41 years of age, GlaxoSmithKline’s Avodart gained an expanded indication to treat those up to 50 years of age in 2014, the company noted, offering a new treatment option to men in their 40s.
According to GSK Korea, Avodart also shows faster efficacy with treatment effects occurring upon 12 weeks of taking the therapy. Multi-center clinical trials that compared patients who took 0.5 mg of GlaxoSmithKline’s Avodart and 1 mg of MSD’s Finasteride showed that those taking Avodart showed a greater increase in the number of hairs.
As for the treatment time frame, men may need hair care from their early 20s and women in their 30s, Lim said. Treatment also differs for different types of hair loss.
In cases of alopecia areata or spot baldness, medication, injection therapy, phototherapy, and immunotherapy are possible therapy choices. Magnetic field treatment is also an option.
Systemic disease treatment and drug moderation are therapy choices for baldness caused by a systemic disease or drug. In the case of trichotillomania, which refers to an irresistible urge to pull out one’s hair, both dermatology and psychiatric treatment are simultaneously required.
For male pattern hair loss or female pattern hair loss, medication, follicle injection, Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP), and hair transplantation should be considered, Lim said.
“Although patients with hair loss have increased drastically, many still believe that treatment is not possible. However, hair loss in many cases can be treated, but because treatment progress is poor when the appropriate treatment time frame passes, it is essential to find a specialist,” Lim said. “The most important and important thing in hair loss treatment is to determine the cause of hair loss. Treating hair losses without knowing the cause not only deteriorates the effect of hair loss treatment but can also make it worse,”
In the case of male pattern hair loss and female pattern hair loss, it is possible to expect a good result if one gets treatment before it progresses, he added.