There is one way to describe the relationship that UK newspapers have with baldness and that is ‘click-bait’.
Media owners are increasingly engaged in a war to maximise the numbers passing through their websites. Each reader or pair of eyeballs equates to valuable sales data, readers equals revenue that they can wring from advertisers. Consequently, they want to drive you to their pages and around their site – keeping you interested for as long as possible.
These features from the Express are a good example of this tactic. One is a simple article on the best haircut to disguise the fact that you’re losing hair, it leads onto other features that suggest a test for impending baldness is imminent.
One is innocent enough, the other a bit misleading. The genetic study that is being quoted as potentially offering a test is one of the largest ever conducted. The full results are found in the publication here with a more educated summary from Science Daily here.
Whilst, technically, it could be argued that the findings suggest a test for whether you’ll develop full male pattern baldness could be possible it is also correct that the study found a massive number (287) of genetic signals that have an impact on hair loss. I’m still not entirely sure that a test for future baldness is of much use without a potential solution. With 287 variants, there is unlikely to be an easy gene-based fix.
There’s no doubt it’s one small step on the way to a potential cure, this said it’s a micro-step with the cure still being a considerable distance, and time, away. When it’s eventually available it is also going to come at a significant cost. When we take all those factors into consideration it is obvious that scalp micropigmentation remains a viable and effective solution for most hair loss issues.
As to why newspapers and websites are fond of baldness stories, the study does contain that answer:
‘Male pattern baldness affects around 80% of men by the age of 80 years, and it can have substantial psychosocial impacts via changes in self-consciousness and social perceptions.’
This we know well. Newspapers know it too and so they lure you to the sites with the latest stories and ‘findings’, filling the pages with photos and videos to keep you engaged for as long as possible. I know it’s tempting but try not to take the bait.