It’s a fact that more than 50% of people will experience hair loss at some stage of their lives. Studies have shown employers are more likely to hire a man with a full head of hair, but surely it’s not a prerequisite in the plumbing trade and how can one expect a stressed out banker to hold onto his locks for long? Stereotype images of balding men wearing suits and carrying briefcases or perhaps tradesmen hiding their shiny crowns under strategically placed caps or hardhats might spring to mind, but are there really certain professions where men could be more likely to lose their hair? While there’s no evidence to suggest which job one should steer clear of if they want to avoid baldness, some interesting facts and trends might provide a few clues…
If one were to accept the opinion of a Berlin professor who in 1914 said, “Brain work will cause women to go bald”, one could only presume that this professional was basing his assumption on the tendencies of men in intellectually demanding professions. Charles Darwin might be a good example, but Einstein managed to keep a decent, albeit wacky, crop of hair. Turns out there are in fact no connections between intellectual activity and hair loss, so stay in school kids!
Perhaps one might assume that, because blue collar workers tend to wear caps or helmets all day, they’re likely to shed a bit of extra hair. It’s thought that wearing a tight fitted hat can interfere with blood circulation to the hair follicles and when they don’t get the nutrients they need for growth, they fall out. But there’s no scientific proof that wearing hats can cause hair loss, so keep it on and avoid sun-damage if you’re out in it all day.
There is evidence, however, that proves stress contributes to hair loss and also causes it to turn grey. The problem with this one is that just about every job comes with a bit of stress which brings to question, how much is too much. Elevated levels of stress over a prolonged period of time can trigger the hormonal imbalances that instigate hair loss. So if a claustrophobic miner was working under ground most days, or a lawyer was under constant pressure to meet tight deadlines, the stress they’re under could have an effect on hair growth.
There have also been studies that suggest men living in polluted areas are more likely to go bald than those who enjoy a cleaner atmosphere. When we say pollution we also mean cigarette smoke, which could partly explain why hair loss is becoming increasingly prevalent in younger men. According to a 2007 survey, an estimated 1,100 young people in the US become daily cigarette smokers each day. So theoretically, farmers should be able to avoid pollution-inflicted follicle damage but city workers could be subject to the negative effects of the big smoke.
OK, so none of this really solves the problem of whether blue-collar or white-collar workers are more likely to go bald. The fact of the matter is, up to 80% of men will be affected by male pattern baldness at some stage of their lives, and while there are a few internal and external triggers that could set it off prematurely, there are also clinically proven hair loss treatments that can stabilise hair loss and reverse its effects. Individually tailored hair loss treatment courses have resulted in a growing number of hair loss success stories but if you’re not worried about baldness, there is an upside as far as the job front is concerned.
When the US government was considering an ID card scanning system as part of its war on terrorism, experts warned that one in 1,000 people could be inaccurately identified. They said the fingerprints of manual labourers might not be recognised if they’d been worn or nicked, and men who went bald might be identified as someone else. So at least if you lost your job you could reapply with a different identity.