Background: Androgenetic alopecia is the most common form of hair loss. It affects a large number of the local male population, with 1,812 men seeking treatment for hair loss at the sole dermatological tertiary referral centre in Singapore in 1994. The aim of this study was to assess the prevalence of male androgenetic alopecia in the community.
Methods: A questionnaire-based cross-sectional survey with a one-stage sampling method was conducted. Each male was diagnosed clinically and the severity graded according to the Norwood Criteria. The survey area was in Bishan East, a housing estate with 8,004 households. A total of 335 households were selected for the survey.
Results: The household response rate was 84%. Within these households, 254 out of 378 men participated in the study (67% response rate). The prevalence of androgenetic alopecia was found to be 63%. The prevalence of the condition increased with age, from 32% among young adults aged 17 to 26 years to 100% among those in their 80s. Proportionately more Indians (87%) were affected compared to Chinese (61%). 81% of the respondents with androgenetic alopecia did not seek help as they did not view it as a problem. Of those seeking treatment, 74% used non-medical methods of unproven effectiveness.
Conclusion: There is a high prevalence of androgenetic alopecia in the community in Singapore. Age specific prevalence and racial differences correlate well with both Western and local studies respectively.