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Ryan Giggs Says Football Stress Caused Male Pattern Baldness

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One of football’s all-time midfield maestros, Ryan Giggs has been talking about his recent hair transplant in the press and blamed the stress of playing for Manchester United for his worsening hair loss.

In order to help his increasingly thinning hair, he first turned to non-surgical hair loss treatment in 2009, to halt his shedding and promote hair regrowth. This approach included the use of laser devices and “lotions”, likely to be high strength minoxidil – the only clinically-proven topical hair loss solution to be both MHRA-licensed and FDA-approved.

However, a decade on, he decided invasive methods were necessary to fill in his thinning crown and bald frontal areas.

Pressure to perform took toll on thinning hair

Footballers hair loss Ryan Giggs Patrice Evra manchester united male pattern baldness receding hairline
Ryan Giggs, pictured centre in 2018 alongside former Manchester United teammates, Rio Ferdinand and Patrice Evra

The former Welsh international was part of Man U’s most successful and beloved ‘dream’ teams, where he played alongside the likes of David Beckham, Eric Cantona, Paul Scholes, Gareth Southgate, Phil and Gary Neville.

Giggs also played under fearsome manager Alex Ferguson, who was known for his harsh management style and frequent ‘hairdryer’ treatment of players who got on his bad side. He started noticing signs of Male Pattern Hair Loss in his mid-to-late 20s. By the time he hit 30, he clearly remembers his friends telling him, “Flippin’ heck, your barnet’s going”.

Furthermore, as the club was used to success during that time, the various pressures to perform led to stressful times for the players, which took a further toll on the Giggs’ hair. Thinning on top and a receding hairline started to emerge and his previously thick curls kept being cut shorter and shorter – the method the Red Devil initially preferred for hiding his hairloss.

Still recognised as the club’s longest serving player, the retired footballer-turned-TV pundit and hair clinic part-owner told The Mirror he believes his Male Pattern Baldness was exacerbated by “stress-related hair loss“.

As he explained, “Football is stressful. You put yourself under pressure. You’re aware of the consequences if you lose a game or don’t play well. You are under the spotlight and if you have a bad game you’re aware of the criticism. Then it becomes a little bit more stressful. And stress is related to hair loss.”

He is not alone in this; fellow footballer, Lucas Moura has also blamed his hair loss on stress, as has French football manager Pascal Dupraz. But it’s not just soccer that has this effect – golfer, Tiger Woods has openly joked about going bald after a number of particularly stressful years, caused by surgeries, divorce and negative media attention. Whilst in something of a twist, Indian cricketer, Mohit Sharma blamed his poor form on the stress of having a receding hairline.

Stress and Male Pattern Baldness

Ryan Giggs is, of course, spot-on; As many people know, stress can both cause and worsen hair loss conditions, including Male Pattern Baldness – and you certainly don’t have to be a top flight footballer to be affected.

Some of the most pressured professions in the UK include social work, nursing, teaching and law, with men earning an annual salary of more than £75,000 and/or those working more than 52 hours per week all being more prone to stress-related hair loss, according to various studies.

Stress can cause temporary hair fall from all over the scalp – a condition known as Telogen Effluvium – which can take up to three months to present. It will generally clear up of its own accord within six months, for mild cases, but in chronic cases it may linger longer. Although more commonly seen in women, it can also affect men.

In those with existing hereditary hair loss, this temporary bout can make matters worse during this time, causing increased shedding from all over the scalp, with the areas susceptible to MPB – namely the top of the scalp, hairline and crown – often being particularly affected.

For those with an underlying genetic predisposition to MPB but who are not yet showing signs of hair loss, stressful episodes and Telogen Effluvium can trigger premature Male Pattern Hair Loss.

It is for these reasons – and those of your overall health, which can also be negatively impacted by stress – that it is important to keep any anxieties in check.

Stress management, alongside a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle can benefit your wellbeing and hair health. Whilst, for early to advanced hair loss where the follicles are still active, non-invasive hair loss treatment, including one or both of the only clinically-proven medications – minoxidil and finasteride 1mg, can help to inhibit DHT and promote hair regrowth.

Additionally, various hair growth supporting products – such as the LaserBand or Hair Vitalics for Men supplements – can be used to further augment this approach.

Even simply talking to a professional to assess where your hair is at and what can be done, can make some men feel more informed and at ease with the process. Whether you have the bank account of a highly-decorated Manchester United captain or not, recommendations from a hair loss specialist should point you in the right direction for regaining control over your follicles and giving baldness the boot.


Belgravia Centre Hair Loss Clinic Hair Loss Specialist Free ConsultationThe Belgravia Centre

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.

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