Feel like you’re losing your hair on the job? You very well could be.
A new study out of South Korea claims that working longer hours can double your chances of going bald.
Men who work for more than 52 hours a week lost their hair twice as fast as those who log fewer than 40 hours, according to hair-raising research by Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine in Seoul. Scientists chalked up their accelerated alopecia to increased stress levels caused by too much work and not enough time off, reports the Daily Mail.
More specifically, anxiety spawns aberrant hormones that prematurely trigger the end of the active hair-growth cycle. Because no new hair follicles are sprouting, the ones that fall out aren’t replaced, gradually resulting in unsightly bald patches.
Previous studies had shown a correlation between overwork and other ailments such as heart problems. But this was the first to link long office hours to baldness, per the findings published in the Annals Of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.
The study arrived at this conclusion by polling 13,000 men living in South Korea, where working stiffs frequently clock more than 40 hours per week. The subjects — aged 20 to 59 — were surveyed about their work habits from 2013 to 2017, during which time they were forbidden from taking anti-balding medication.
Working blocks were split into three categories: short (fewer than 40 hours/week), long (between 40-52 hours/week) and “much longer” (greater than 52 hours). Researchers also factored in age, marital status, education, monthly household income, smoking and work schedule.
They found that the development of early balding was about 2 percent in the “short” category, 3 percent in the “long” group and nearly 4 percent in the longest. Lead author Kyung-Hun Son deemed this “association between long working hours and alopecia” so significant that he’s urging lawmakers to scale back working hours.
“Preventive interventions to promote appropriate and reasonable working hours are required in our society,” Son said.
But don’t book a two-week getaway to Aruba just yet — the research features more than a few bald spots. More than half of alopecia sufferers start losing their hair at age 30 anyway, and baldness disproportionately affects unmarried men regardless of work stress. Not to mention that the study didn’t include any women.
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