Historically, hair loss is much rarer in Asians as compared to people of other ethnicities. On average, Asian men start losing hair 5 to 10 years later than their Caucasian counterparts. The reason behind this is largely unknown with many unconfirmed hypotheses and speculations, but we do know that the trend is changing. In recent years, incidences of hair loss in Asian countries have steadily increased, with Singapore unfortunately taking the lead. In fact, the Asia Pacific region now sees the highest demand for hair restoration and hair transplant surgeries globally as of 2020.
What causes hair loss?
The most common cause of hair loss in men is androgenic alopecia, also known as male pattern hair loss. The cause of this is usually attributed to the hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT), produced when the male sex hormone testosterone is broken down. DHT impedes hair growth by causing hair follicles to shrink, resulting in thinner new hair growth, as well as a shorter active growth phase. This process continues to the point that new growths are both so thin and short-lived that it sheds before emerging from the skin.
Discussing hair loss in Asian men
In general, hair loss is arguably a more significant issue for Asian men compared to others. This is possibly because of the following reasons.
1. Structure of Asian hair
Asian hair typically has 3 features that differentiate them from other hair types:
- Thickness: Asian hair is usually much thicker (almost twice the diameter) compared to other hair types.
- Growth angle: In most cases, Asian hair grows almost perpendicular from the scalp. This makes them the straightest amongst the different hair types. Also because of this, Asian hair tends to stand upright and not lie flat on the scalp, especially for shorter hairstyles.
- Density: Asian hair grows more sparsely compared to the other hair types.
Hair loss in Asians is very prominent because of the above reasons. The sparser and thicker hair makes losing the same amount of hair contribute to a larger apparent hair volume lost.
2. Attitudes towards hair loss in Asian cultures
Hair loss tends to be a taboo subject in Asian cultures; people are generally more bothered by it because it is historically rarer amongst Asian cultures.
Of course, one of the ways to deal with baldness is to embrace it and shave your head. However, Asian men in general are less willing to sport a shaved head because of various reasons. Firstly, the shaved look is heavily associated with “street hooligans” in many Asian cultures, and hence is not very well-liked. Asian facial features are also generally regarded to be less compatible with a shaved head as compared to other ethnicities that tend to have sharper features. Likely because of these, we tend to see less Asians men embracing hair loss and shaving their head. Instead, they prefer to wear a wig to cover their sparse hair, or seek treatment like FUE hair transplant surgery for a long-term solution.
Treatment for hair loss
- Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) Hair Transplant
FUE hair transplant is perhaps the most effective long-term treatment for hair loss. During this treatment, healthy hair follicular units are extracted individually from the side and back of the head, which are the least prone to hair loss. These are then carefully grafted into the balding regions to restore hair density and also bring the hairline forward.
For the most natural looking results, our aesthetic doctors will take these into consideration
- Asian men in general tend to have a curved hairline, or occasionally a “widow’s peak”.
- We will generally recommend older patients to have a slightly higher hairline as compared to younger patients, as a 50-year-old will usually look unnatural with a 20-year old’s hair line.
- Personal preferences, such as higher forehead or a change can also be considered.
FUE hair transplant usually takes several months to a year to see their best results. The newly transplanted follicular units may shed their hairs within the first few months but will eventually grow back. If well taken care of, these newly transplanted hair can last for a lifetime.
The procedure will take between 4 to 8 hours to complete, depending on the number of grafts. It is performed under local anaesthesia so there will be minimal pain and discomfort.
- Regenera Activa
Those who are still experiencing the earlier stages of hair loss can consider Regenera Activa. This treatment helps to induce the dormant hair follicles to enter the active growth phrase, through the use of viable scalp cells selected from other parts of the head.
Using the same technique as an FUE transplant, a small number of healthy hair grafts are extracted from the back or side of the head, which are then combined with a specialised solution using the Regenera Activa machine. The resulting suspension is then injected into strategic points around the balding areas. The injected scalp cells and solution stimulates capillary regeneration processes and induces dormant hair follicles to enter the active growth phase.
Regenera Activa is most effective in the early stages of hair loss and has limited effects at the later stages.
- Fraxel Laser for hair restoration
While primarily used for skin rejuvenation, the 1927nm Thullium Fraxel Laser is effective for hair restoration as well. The laser first exfoliates old and dead skin cells from the surface of the scalp, at the same time stimulating the growth of new follicular and scalp cells. The new cells triggers the start of an active growth phase and improves the rate of hair growth, restoring hair density.
Ultrasound stimulation is also an effective treatment to counter hair loss. At Clifford, we utilise the Bellasonic Ultrasound Device to achieve this. This device is directly imported from South Korea and it is effective in various treatments like hair restoration and skin rejuvenation.
During treatment, a handpiece is gently pressed onto the scalp, which emits a 1-10MHz ultrasound. This vibration improves blood circulation to hair follicles and activates key molecules like Glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) and Heat Shock Proteins (HSPs), which accelerate cell regeneration. The combined effect actively promotes new hair growth.
Most people tend to agree that men look more virile and masculine with a full head of hair. A receding hairline and sparse hair tend to make men look much older than they are. This can negatively affect their social life and possibly loss of self-esteem. If you are losing hair and wish to seek treatment for your hair loss in Singapore, do contact us know of your concerns. Our doctors have over 10 years of experience helping patients manage hair loss and they will gladly provide their professional services to address your hair loss problems.