The Follicular Dilemma: Kim Jong Un's Struggle with a Hair Loss Pandemic in North Korea

The Follicular Dilemma: Kim Jong Un's Struggle with a Hair Loss Pandemic in North Korea

  • 27.11.2023 03:31

The Follicular Challenge in North Korea: Unraveling the Enigma of Hair Loss in Kim Jong Un's Realm

In an unusual turn of events, North Korea, under the leadership of Kim Jong Un, is grappling with a surge in individuals experiencing hair thinning and baldness, as reported by South Korean experts in conversation with Radio Free Asia (RFA). The root causes of this phenomenon appear diverse, ranging from infections with subsequent hair loss to the use of cleaning products containing "harsh" chemical ingredients.

Dr. Choi Jeong Hoon, a defector from North Korea and a senior researcher at the Public Policy Research Institute at Korea University in Seoul, shed light on the challenges faced by North Koreans in obtaining gentler chemical products. He explained to RFA that ordinary residents, burdened by the cost of treatment, find it challenging to address hair loss effectively. Both pharmaceutical and cosmetic treatments, while popular, may ironically contribute to accelerating hair loss. The lack of regulation in the country further muddies the waters, as ingredients believed to be beneficial lack verification of efficacy.

Ahn Kyung Soo, the head of, a blog focusing on health issues in North Korea, highlighted that many treatments resemble "oriental medicines," utilizing topical tonics based on medicinal herbs with minimal proven effects. Unconventional methods, such as using needle-like hairbrushes dipped in glass bottles and rubbed onto the scalp for stimulation, are prevalent.

Furthermore, experts argue that the military's mandatory caps may exacerbate the issue, impeding proper ventilation and leading to bacterial buildup and clogged pores, ultimately resulting in hair thinning. Compounding this challenge is the mandatory 10-year military service for all able-bodied men in North Korea.

Interestingly, hair loss is not confined to North Korea, as South Korea has witnessed a sudden surge in widespread hair loss, influencing even its political landscape. In the previous presidential election, candidate Lee Jae-myung gained support by proposing government coverage for hair-loss treatments. This resonated with voters, particularly as only certain diseases were covered under existing policies. Reports indicate that one in every five South Koreans contends with hair loss.

As the follicular mystery unfolds in North Korea, the impact of this hair loss pandemic extends beyond borders, touching on societal, political, and health dimensions alike. The Associated Press contributed to this illuminating report.

In conclusion, the follicular challenges faced by North Korea, as evidenced by a surprising rise in hair loss cases, paint a complex portrait of a multifaceted issue. From infections triggering after-effects to the use of chemical-laden products, the struggle to combat hair loss is compounded by the difficulty in accessing mild and effective treatments. The murky state of regulation further blurs the line between beneficial and ineffective ingredients.

The unconventional methods and topical tonics, often reminiscent of "oriental medicines," underscore the desperate measures individuals are resorting to in their quest for a remedy. The mandatory military service, coupled with potential ventilation issues caused by military caps, adds another layer to the conundrum.

Interestingly, South Korea shares a parallel narrative, with the widespread concern of hair loss influencing political discourse and policy proposals. Candidate Lee Jae-myung's stance on government-funded hair-loss treatments resonated with voters, highlighting the broader societal impact of this issue.

As the follicular mystery unfolds in both North and South Korea, it serves as a microcosm of broader challenges—health disparities, accessibility to effective treatments, and societal perceptions. The unexpected intersection of hair loss with political landscapes underlines the far-reaching consequences of a seemingly aesthetic concern. The follicular saga in the Korean Peninsula, as captured in this report, prompts reflection on the intricate interplay between personal well-being and societal dynamics.