Asian hair loss is on the rise. It now affects up to three-quarters of the Asian population, with androgenetic alopecia (AGA) the cause of hair loss for many women and men . Young Asian people in particular are reporting higher rates of hair loss than previous generations.
But it’s not just genetics that are to blame for the rise in Asian hair loss. Poor diet, high stress levels and smoking are all said to cause premature balding and thinning hair.
Hair loss and hair thinning is a distressing development for anyone, though perhaps more so for women with thinning hair, thanks to social stigmas around appearance. However, there are options for hair restoration should pattern balding occur.
So why is Asian hair loss so prevalent? In this article, you’ll learn:
- why Asian people are susceptible to high rates of hair loss
- the major causes of Asian hair loss
- the best treatments for reducing hair thinning and improving hair growth for Asian people.
Why do Asian men and women suffer hair loss?
For Asian men, hair loss tends to occur first in the vertex region (crown area) leading then to the temple areas. For Asian women, it usually manifests in a diffuse way at first, starting with thinning hair all over. This may then progress to bald spots on the crown of the head.
Asian hair loss can occur in youth. However, it is more likely to occur during and after middle age (40-50+ years). Studies are showing now that hair loss in Asian women is on the increase, with female pattern balding now affecting almost a quarter of Korean women over 70 .
Asian hair loss is usually more noticeable than Caucasian hair loss, as it is straighter and thicker. The scalp also contains fewer follicles because of the extra thickness.
Smoking can cause hair loss
Studies have shown that smoking, particularly in the Asian population, is a contributing factor to hair loss. According to a 2007 study in Taiwan, men who smoke are about twice as likely to lose their hair as non-smokers . Smoking causes circulation to slow, so fewer nutrients reach the hair follicles. Quitting smoking won’t just benefit your general health — it can also prompt your dormant follicles to start producing hair again. Learn more about smoking and hair loss.
The impact of stress
Stress is becoming a major factor in day-to-day lives in Asian cultures . From education to work to politics, exposure to stressors occurs every single day — and this stress can take a toll on your hair. Other psychological factors can also impact hair loss in Asian people, including eating disorders, anxiety, and depression.
Telogen effluvium is a type of temporary hair loss commonly associated with these conditions, as well as high stress levels. Learn more about anxiety-related hair loss and how anorexia can lead to hair loss.
How does hair loss occur in Asian women?
For Asian women, hair loss is not as common as it is in Caucasian or Afro-American women — but it is on the increase. It follows a similar pattern to hair loss in women from other parts of the world, beginning with a general thinning that can become more pronounced at the crown and temples. Some experts believe Asian women’s hair loss can be caused by lifestyle changes, particularly in those who lead a more westernised lifestyle.
How does hair loss occur in Asian men?
Asian men’s hair loss tends to start with a thinning of the hair around the crown of the head and may develop to show complete baldness on the crown. From there they may also suffer hair loss around the temples and at the frontal hairline.
The stigma of hair loss in Asian cultures
Like in Western cultures, there is a stigma around losing your hair in Asia. From K-pop band members to actors in the flourishing cinema industry, role models in Asian cultures typically display a full head of hair. A Korean study also found that balding men were considered less attractive by non-balding participants .
As a result, there is plenty of stigma surrounding baldness and hair loss in Asia, where baldness and hair loss is less common than in Western countries.
Hair restoration for Asian hair loss
The Chinese hair transplant market has grown over the last few years — and this trend is expected to continue . Many Asian people living in the UK have also begun to seek hair restoration treatment.
Treating Asian hair loss is no different to treating other types of hair loss. In fact, some studies have suggested that Asian hair responds better to hair restoration treatment than Caucasian hair, thanks to its longer hair growth cycle and faster growth rate .
The first port of call for any hair restoration treatment should be non-invasive. There are plenty of medications and other alternative hair restoration therapies that are proven to stimulate hair growth. These options should be exhausted before hair transplants are considered.
Learn more about medicated hair loss solutions:
- Minoxidil Guide: Uses, Results & Side Effects
- Finasteride Guide: Uses, Results & Side Effects
- Dutasteride Guide: Uses, Results & Side Effects
FUE hair transplant
FUE hair transplant or Follicular Unit Excision is where the surgeon harvests individual hair grafts directly from the donor area. A circular incision is made in the skin around the upper part of the follicle from a broad area of the back of the scalp. The location of the donor area is chosen to have long-term stability.
The surgeon extracts the follicle directly from the scalp leaving a small open hole. The hair tissue is then grafted finely and placed into the destination area, which is the final step in the hair transplant process. A high skill-level in this step is crucial as poor placing can lead to cell trauma and poor graft survival.
FUT hair transplant
Hair grows in natural groupings called follicular units. During the Follicular Unit Transplant (FUT) procedure, the surgeon removes a small amount of hair from a donor area (usually at the back of the head). Under microscopic magnification, they create grafts from the strip of skin that keep these natural groupings intact.
The grafts are then placed into tiny micro-incisions created in the hair loss area in a distribution that mimics the individual’s natural hair growth. The procedure is split into four main stages: donor harvesting, graft preparation, recipient site creation and graft placement.
Treating Asian hair loss
If you are suffering hair loss, we can help. The Wimpole Clinic offers a free, no obligation consultation for Asian hair loss at our West London clinic.
In the consultation we will assess your hair loss and give you definitive options for hair restoration. We will also take you through what to expect from the hair restoration procedure. You’ll learn everything you need to know before making a decision. Get in touch with our hair loss specialists at the Wimpole Clinic to find out more.
- Characteristics of Androgenetic Alopecia in Asian
- Association of androgenetic alopecia with smoking and its prevalence among Asian men: a community-based survey
- Workers in Asia show high levels of physical and mental ill health
- Perception of men with androgenetic alopecia by women and nonbalding men in Korea: how the nonbald regard the bald
- Revenue of the hair transplant industry in China from 2016 to 2020
- Asian Hair: A Review of Structures, Properties, and Distinctive Disorders
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