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    Are bald men more virile?

    On this page
    1. What does virile mean? 
    2. Relationship between virility and baldness
    3. Does high testosterone cause hair loss? 
    4. Does low testosterone cause hair loss? 
    5. Is hair loss normal?
    6. Treatment for hair loss 

    Reviewed by Dr Neel Patel

    Bald men in love heart

    Perhaps you’ve heard or read that bald men are more virile, but is there any truth in this? This article explores the theories around men, hair loss and virility. As well as the causes of hair loss, including testosterone levels and hair loss treatments.

    We also discuss the association between baldness and heightened virility, and to find out more, we surveyed* 500 males to explore whether there was truth behind the myths. Dr. Neel Patel of LloydsPharmacy Online Doctor, also emphasises the need to consider a broader spectrum of factors when addressing the topic. 

    What does virile mean? 

    Being virile is associated with men and masculine traits. To be virile means you are strong, energetic and powerful as well as sexually attractive. These attributes are viewed as positive and are more often used to describe young men. 

    Relationship between virility and baldness

    It’s often said that bald men are more virile. But why is this and is there any science to back it up?

    The apparent link comes down to levels of testosterone. The story goes that excess levels of testosterone leads to baldness and therefore, bald men have more testosterone. And as excess testosterone does actually increase your sex drive, a connection was born.

    While some of this is partly true, it doesn’t tell the whole story. 

    Where does the theory come from? 

    The original theory has been around for millennia. Hippocrates and Aristotle noticed the link between people who had been castrated and their lack of hair loss.

    The theory was tested later when James B. Hamilton, a student at Yale, saw a connection between men who had been castrated and their lack of male pattern baldness. He suggested it was the removal of testosterone that helped them keep their hair.

    Is baldness a sign of virility?

    To put the myth to bed, a study published in the Medical Journal of Australia looked at virility levels in bald men. It found that there was no significant association between baldness and the frequency of ejaculations. In fact, bald men were less likely to have had more than four female sexual partners in their life.

    However, according to the survey, a staggering 36% of those aged 18-20 believe being overly sexually active leads to premature balding in men, and 54% of the same age range think bald men are more sexually active and virile than men with a full head of hair.  

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    Does high testosterone cause hair loss? 

    From the original theory the idea developed that high levels of testosterone leads to baldness. While there is some science behind the claim, there’s not actually concrete truth in it.

    Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) is a hormone made from testosterone. It is found in the skin, hair follicles and in the prostate. It is this DHT – which is far more potent than regular testosterone – which shrinks hair follicles and begins the process of balding.

    However, studies have shown that any level of DHT or regular testosterone in the body can cause hair loss. Even the smallest amount. Hair loss is more commonly influenced by genetics.

    Does low testosterone cause hair loss? 

    As men get older, they are more likely to go bald, which is also a time when their testosterone levels drop. Low testosterone isn’t always seen and there may be no physical symptoms. However if you do have low testosterone, signs of low testosterone can include:

    If you think your levels of testosterone have decreased you should speak to your GP. You may be wondering if you can boost your testosterone levels or heard of testosterone boosters, however there is little evidence to suggest these supplements work. 

    According to our survey, a staggering 41% of male respondents think that high testosterone levels that make men virile are responsible for male pattern baldness. Meanwhile, a further 33% say that bald men have more testosterone. 

    In terms of appearance, 18% believe that men who are perceived as highly attractive and virile are more prone to balding, which rises to 23% for those aged between 21 and 24. 

    Is hair loss normal?

    It’s normal for people to lose 50-100 hairs a day, often without noticing. Male pattern baldness is a hereditary condition that usually happens to men over 50, although you can experience this type of hair loss when you’re a lot younger

    Sometimes hair loss can be a sign of a health condition. If you’re concerned about the amount of hair you’re losing you should speak to your doctor. 

    Causes of hair loss in men 

    Male hair loss can be caused by a variety of circumstances and conditions such as:

    • Genetics
    • Stress
    • Hair styles
    • Illness
    • Weight loss
    • Poor diet

    Read the most common causes of hair loss in our article to find out more.  

    According to Dr Neel Patel
    “There is a lot linking baldness and heightened virility, but it’s important to consider that virility encompasses a wide range of aspects, including sexual health, reproductive ability, and overall vitality. While it is influenced by numerous biological, psychological, and lifestyle factors, it is important to highlight that no scientific evidence supports a direct causal relationship between the two. 

    Individuals who may feel impacted are encouraged to approach their sexual health and overall well-being by seeking guidance from qualified experts. Consulting with a healthcare professional ensures personalised advice tailored to unique circumstances, considering different biological, psychological, and lifestyle factors that influence virility as previous studies on the topic have not proven a causal relationship between baldness and virility. 
    Understanding the complexities of virility is crucial for dispelling myths and promoting a comprehensive approach to health and well-being.”

    Do men care about going bald? 

    Hair loss can affect your confidence, self-esteem and mental health. Although very common, only 11% of men visit a professional when they first start experiencing hair loss according to our 'UK male hair loss report'. 

    How you feel about your hair loss could be down to your age with 21% of 16-24 year olds surveyed starting to feel more confident with their hair loss as time passed. On the whole, the people we surveyed felt negatively about their hair loss: 

    • 44% admitted to still feeling self-conscious about their hair loss
    • 35% told us they felt unattractive about their hair loss
    • 32% reported feeling unhappy about their hair loss

    If you are also feeling negatively about the hair loss you’re experiencing, it may be comforting to know you’re not alone. There is also help available from advice to treatments. 

    Treatment for hair loss 

    There are a number of hair loss treatments available including medication and over the counter solutions. 

    Male hair loss affects 6.5 million men in the UK, yet despite this, just 11% of men visit a professional when they first start experiencing hair loss according to our 'UK male hair loss report'. 

    • Propecia is a branded treatment which works to halt hair loss. 
    • Finasteride is a daily tablet which blocks the action of the enzyme that causes hair loss. 
    • Regaine (minoxidil) is available as a foam or solution which works to reverse hair loss. 



    Onepulse conducted a survey on behalf of Lloyds Pharmacy Online Doctor and surveyed 500 male respondents in the UK between 05/05/23 and 06/05/23 in relation to the myths surrounding hair loss and virality.

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