Study Says Working Too Much Can Make You Go Bald

Take a day off and chill.

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Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Jason Statham, Bruce Willis–these guys are action movie icons and bald as cue balls. They make it look good. But most guys tend to find the prospect of losing their hair annoying, at a minimum.

The news that putting in hard hours at the office may just enhance your chances of one day joining the ranks of the chrome-domed won’t make those guys feel any better. 

Yes, they can get away with that look.

The Daily Mail, citing a report from South Korea, has more:

Scientists found men who worked more than 52 hours a week lost their hair at twice the speed of those who spent less than 40 hours in the office.

They say it is likely stress caused by too much work and not enough downtime that is the main cause.

The research, which examined more than 13,000 employed men, is believed to be the first to look specifically at the impact of long working hours on hair loss. 

If you’re putting in regular 10-12 hour days 5-6 days a week, then, you are absolutely setting yourself up lose hair through stress and lack of rest. 

The equation for losing your hair is deceptively simple-sounding. Overwork is stressful and is frequently caused by a stressful office situation. Stress is terrible for your body in general and causes you to pump out compensatory hormones–and those can mess with your hair follicles. 

The Mail cites past studies that also found stress may prompt the immune system to go into overdrive and attack your hair as well. 

In the main study researchers from Seoul’s Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine examined 13,391 men ranging in age from 29 to 50 for a four period. They divided the groups by the men working a regular 40 hour week, the gung-ho guys doing as many as 52 hours, and a third group that worked even longer weeks.

Bruce Willis in 'Death Wish'
Not an office worker.

They found that the rate of hair loss increased from 2 percent in the 40-hour workers to 4 percent in the super workers knocking out more than 52 hours.

One of the study authors, Kyung-Hun Son, said that their results “demonstrate that long working hours [are] significantly associated with the increased development of alopecia [hair loss] in male workers.”

At least one solution, according to Son, is limiting “working hours in order to prevent alopecia development may be more necessary from younger workers, such as those in the 20s and 30s, at which hair loss symptoms start to appear.”

Of course, genes also play a huge role in hair loss for many, and there’s only so much you can do about that. Still, at least it isn’t the big deal it was back in your dad’s day when finding guys who lowered their part until it was just above one ear wasn’t even all that uncommon. 

And it may be that we have The Rock and other action heroes to thank for that–then again, he’s the hardest-working guy in Hollywood, too. 

Either way, this seems like a license to start actually taking those vacation days every now and then, but don’t use “I might go bald” as an excuse. Human resources departments tend to frown on such things.