Hair loss in the media
PR specialist Owen LaBeck outlines the media’s changing attitudes to hair loss, how the public feels about it and what opportunities the untapped market affords practitioners
Hair loss within the media is very much a game of two halves, and that, primarily, is because of Wayne Rooney. Before Wayne announced his hair transplant across social media it was a taboo subject. The media weren’t really interested in it.
There did, however, exist opportunities for female hair loss to be discussed, including treatments that make the hair thicker, fuller, longer. Post Wayne, the media were very interested in hair loss. They wanted to know, not only about hair transplant surgery, but the various different types of treatments available for men and for women.
The impact of hair loss
Losing your hair can have a huge emotional impact. I’ve spoken to hundreds of case studies over the years and it’s something that affects their confidence and self-esteem greatly. A lot of people speak about the additional stress that it has caused in their life.
From a global perspective, one in four women suffers from hair loss or thinning hair. 70 million Americans are dealing with some level of hair loss; six out of every 30 people in the world have some form of baldness.
What’s more, there are more women seeking methods of non-surgical hair restoration. It’s up 31.8% between 2004 and 2008. Beyond this, the number of people seeking some form of treatment has increased by 85% between 2004 and 2012.
According to recent statistics, almost 40% of hair loss sufferers would spend their life savings to regain a full head of hair. Roughly a third, 30% of hair loss sufferers, would give up sex, if it meant they could have a full head of hair. About three-quarters, 77% of adults, would be concerned if they were in their 20s, starting out in their careers and experiencing hair loss. That’s also something that we hear from a lot of people in their 30s and 40s, who are still very much in the prime of their career.
60% of hair loss sufferers would rather have more hair than money or friends. Hair loss is the body issue that women feel would make them least attractive to men, and British men are the most likely in Europe to worry about balding, but they’re also the least likely to do anything about it.
Effects and opportunity
So, what does all of this tell us? Well, there is a receptive audience out there, and there are lots of people who would be receptive to treatment messages. Increased media exposure combined with improved treatments means that there was a huge spike in growth for the industry as a whole.
It’s also estimated that only 3% of hair loss sufferers actively seek treatment. Less than 1% of those go on to actually have a hair transplant, meaning more than 2% have some form of non-surgical treatment. But what’s really exciting is that 97% are not seeking any form of treatment at all. There’s a real opportunity there!
Particularly since a lot of people are still completely unaware of the treatments that are available to them. How can practitioners take advantage of this? It starts with holding consultations, investigating the cause of hair loss. You can make a diagnosis and recommend treatments, whether it’s medication, such as Regaine, Propecia, laser therapies, or camouflage and cosmetic products—these are all things that could be done in clinics and practices.
Something else to consider is that a lot of the people are treating women with toxins, fillers, laser therapies, etc. Ultimately, practitioners could also be treating them for hair loss, if they are suffering from that issue.
Hair loss is a condition that affects 40% of women. And women talk, to their partners, husbands, boyfriends, brothers, fathers and sons. Many referrals from cosmetic surgeons who aren’t treating female patients for hair loss, but who speak to their husbands, partners etc—they’re literally doing the marketing.
British men are the most likely in Europe to worry about balding, but they’re the least likely to do anything about it, so there’s plenty of opportunity to take advantage of.
Owen LaBeck is the Creative Director at Weber Shandwick in Manchester, a PR and creative agency with offices all over the globe. W: webershandwick.co.uk