Economists may not be your typical hair loss researchers, but a team from Appalachian State University’s Department of Economics has produced some interesting reading on the subject.
Three students carried out the amusingly-titled ‘Willingness Toupee’ study, investigating how much men would pay to get more hair. What they discovered in addition to these monetary aspects, was some of the most common ways men are trying to hide the signs of Male Pattern Baldness.
As they write, “The gut-wrenching suffering and panic from hair loss has been happening since the beginning of time. Of course, men have not sat passively by while their former manes wisp away like dandelion seeds. From the modern day “hair piece”, or toupee, to the Neanderthal’s “stone piece”, men have been fighting back.
It is clear from the battery of products available that mask hair loss (e.g., toupee, hair-in-a-bottle), regrow hair (e.g., minoxidil or finasteride) or methods used to trick others into believing a full head of hair still exists (e.g., the comb-over), balding men are engaged in significant economic activities to fight hair loss.”
Styling methods for hiding hair loss
Through surveying 151 men, who were each paid $0.70 to complete the 5 minute questionnaire, the North Carolina, USA, team found men employed various hair hacks in a bid to distract from their thinning hair.
The vast majority of participants were aged between 18 and 35 years of age (71%), whilst 24% were between 36 and 55 years, with 5% being over 56.
The top styling methods for hiding hair loss were found to be…
- a combover (36%)
- brushing the hair forward to help hide a receding hairline (26%)
- wearing a hat (23%)
How much men would pay to have more hair
The extent of each man’s hair loss was measured using the Norwood-Hamilton Scale. They were then given the option of increasing their hair density by moving down the scale by just one point – from a Norwood 3 to a Norwood 2, for example. Continues below…
When it came to how much value men place on their hair, or having hair, in monetary terms, the researchers found that as the price of hair restoration – whether surgical or pharmaceutical – increased, the men’s likelihood to say yes decreased proportionally.
However, when information regarding the efficacy of hair loss treatment options was provided, those which were deemed more effective had an increased chance of uptake from the participants.
After modelling the figures, the American team found that the amount men were willing to pay to increase the amount of hair they currently have by just one point on the Norwood-Hamilton scale, came to $5,324 using a mixed logit model and $5,812 using a latent class model. Based on these figures, this would mean spending over $10,000 if they wanted to fully restore their hair.
Professional hair loss advice
On a very simple level, this data is no huge surprise as it backs up what many of us want – the best possible product for the best possible price.
It also showed that the worse a man’s hair loss gets, the more he is willing to pay more money for products which are known to be less effective.
Belgravia always recommends seeking professional advice as soon as signs of hair loss – including regular, excessive shedding or a drop in hair density – become apparent, even if you then decide to take your time to properly explore all the available options.
As Male Pattern Baldness is a permanent, progressive condition, if it is left to run its course without intervention, from clinically-proven treatments for example, the hair thinning process of follicular miniaturisation will continue. This can lead to baldness and, once the skin takes on a smooth, shiny appearance, the hair follicles will no longer be able to produce hair growth – even with assistance – so the hair loss will then be permanent.
In some cases a hair transplant may be a viable option but this depends on the quality and quantity of the donor hair – hair at the back and sides of the scalp which is not affected by genetic hair loss – as well as the individual’s medical suitability. However, even if surgical hair restoration is applicable, a pharmaceutical course featuring one or both of the only authorised hairloss treatments will generally be required on an on-going basis afterwards in order to preserve the results of surgery.
One aspect the Appalachian students picked up on was that educating men about what causes hair loss and what can be done about it would be widely beneficial, given the importance hair has to many men’s self-esteem. They suggest government-subsidised information programmes may be useful to men’s welfare but, for now, anyone concerned about losing their hair can find personalised advice and, where appropriate, treatment recommendations, by speaking with a hair loss specialist.
The Belgravia Centre is an organisation specialising in hair growth and hair loss prevention with two clinics and in-house pharmacies in Central London, UK. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our Online Consultation Form from anywhere in the world. View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which includes the world’s largest gallery of hair growth comparison photos and demonstrates the levels of success that so many of Belgravia’s patients achieve. You can also phone 020 7730 6666 any time to arrange a free consultation.