Most men are worried about hair loss, but it turns out Australian men have more to worry about than most – with Australian men more afflicted by balding than blokes anywhere else on the planet.
Male pattern baldness (formally known as androgenic alopecia, or AGA) is widely considered a fact of life. Turns out it’s a particularly pertinent fact of life in Australia.
According to fact sheets published by the Australian Government Department of Health, significant balding affects about one in five Australian men by the time they hit their 20s, about one in three men in their 30s and nearly half of all men in their 40s. That’s significantly higher than most countries on Earth.
Perhaps it’s not surprising, then, that hair care has become one of the fastest-growing industries in Australia, with revenue predicted to amount to $1.44 billion in 2023 and market growth expected annually by 1.56%, according to Statista – with much of that growth being fuelled by Aussie men desperate to keep their locks.
But why does Australia have the highest percentage of balding men in the world? We spoke to Dr. Gaunchen Sun, Research and Development Director at Australian biotech company Biogency, who explains that it’s got to do with Australia’s high UV levels.
“UV light produces a lot of reactive oxygen species which not only damage the grown hair but also the hair follicles on the scalp,” Dr. Sun explains. “Seeing as our UV is so high, especially in summer, this can have detrimental effects on the quality of our hair (texture/colour) as well as hair loss.”
“Australia experiences some of the highest UV in the world being so close to the equator and coupled with clearer skies, the comparison is quite vast: in summer, the UK has a UV Index of 6–8, while Australia has a UV Index of 10–14… [Our] strong climate is definitely a factor that increases hair loss.”Dr. Gaunchen Sun
Our diet also plays a significant factor when it comes to preventing (or accelerating) hair loss, Dr. Sun relates.
“In conjunction with taking supplements, we need to consume foods rich in unsaturated fatty acids such as fish and nuts. Sufficient protein is also important for maintaining hair volume: eggs, seafood and lean meat are good choices and green vegetables and fruits with antioxidants can help also fight reactive oxygen species to protect hair.”
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On that: Dr. Sun and Biogency have just launched a new hair loss supplement called Piliant, which is not only designed to fight hair loss on several fronts but features a wide variety of important compounds such as vitamins A, B5, B7 and C as well as iron, magnesium, silicon and zinc; all necessary for healthy hair but also all very important in maintaining a healthy diet.
“We should avoid highly processed food and foods with high sugar or unhealthy fats,” Dr. Sun adds. When you consider that Australia is one of the world’s top consumers of fast food per capita… Maybe our love of Maccas is responsible for our high rates of hair loss, too.
Another part of the problem is that Aussie blokes, like most health matters, don’t talk to each other about hair loss – or even do anything about it.
“Seeing as hair care is closely tied to beauty, men have found it often difficult to take action in this department largely due to social stereotypes and norms that beauty is often strongly linked and restricted to females,” Dr. Sun suggests.
“However, seeing as we are becoming a lot more open and expressive when it comes to our appearances, there has been a large change in men taking more care of themselves for both aesthetic and health purposes. Seeing as the issue affects so many males, there has been a spike in the hair transplant industry [as well as] haircare products formulated for men.”
In short: if you’re suffering from hair loss, or you’re worried about it, talk to someone about it – and actually do something about it.