A dermatologist has backed the findings of a survey that found baldness was increasing among younger people. Louis Shih Tai-cho, a private specialist, said on RTHK current affairs radio programme Advisor yesterday that hair dyeing, eating too much processed food and stress were contributing causes of baldness affecting people under 30. Half of the 636 respondents with hair-loss problems in the station's survey conducted between April 16 and May 30 were under 30. Eight per cent said they took immediate action to tackle baldness; 34 per cent said they would deal with it after bearing with it for more than a year; 30 per cent said they had left it unattended and suffered permanent hair loss as a result. A high of 56 per cent of respondents said they would take care to change their lifestyle or purchase medication in an attempt to improve the problem, while only 15 per cent said they would approach doctors for advice. 'Generally, baldness is an issue for people reaching the age of 50. But more and more of my clients tend to be younger people,' Dr Shih said. Overseas clinical data suggested that dietary habits and the stress of living in big cities contributed to hair loss, but in rural areas there were fewer cases, Dr Shih said. 'Overworking and lack of rest, as well as smoking and drinking in excess, can adversely affect our immune systems. Antibodies can also impede the growth of hair. In the past, the problem was understood to be hereditary, but there is more to it than that.' Emotional problems could also aggravate baldness, he said. Dr Shih said people suffering from hair loss should approach their family doctor or a specialist for consultation rather than resort to the hair-treatment centres that are widely advertised. 'As your family doctors are quite au fait with the lifestyles of your family they should be able to give proper medical advice. 'Whereas with the hair-treatment centres, it is not known what medical substances they use.'