Hair loss merchandise — Radio Unfastened Asia


Hair loss merchandise are actually on the market in North Korea amid an obvious uptick within the collection of other folks suffering with thinning hair or going bald, professionals in South Korea with wisdom of the rustic advised Radio Unfastened Asia.

Examples of such merchandise may also be noticed at the homepage of Overseas Industry of the DPRK, or the Democratic Other people’s Republic of Korea, the formal title of North Korea.

However most of the therapies are too pricey for atypical other folks – and is probably not very efficient, the professionals mentioned.

A North Korean man waits outside a barber shop next to a poster with different types of hairstyles in Pyongyang in 2015. Credit: Wong Maye-E/AP
A North Korean guy waits outdoor a barber store subsequent to a poster with several types of hairstyles in Pyongyang in 2015. Credit score: Wong Maye-E/AP

North Koreans seem to be affected by hair loss for numerous causes, mentioned Choi Jeong Hoon, who labored as a health care provider within the North ahead of fleeing to the South. He’s now a senior researcher on the Public Coverage Analysis Institute at Korea College in Seoul.

Some enjoy hair loss from the aftereffects of incessantly life-threatening typhoid and paratyphoid fever, he mentioned.

“After affected by those infections, hair loss is serious,” he mentioned.

Harsh chemical substances in cleaning soap and laundry detergent that North Koreans use to scrub their hair may purpose hair to fall out as a result of they are able to aggravate the scalp, Choi mentioned.

“It’s not simple to seek out gentle chemical merchandise in North Korea’s present scenario,” he added. “Extraordinary citizens can not manage to pay for to fret about hair loss.”

Army caps

Caps worn within the army – all able-bodied males are generally required to serve 10 years within the militia – might also harm one’s hair, mentioned Ahn Kyung Soo, head of, a weblog on well being problems in North Korea.

Sweating whilst dressed in the cap inhibits right kind air flow, resulting in unsightly odors and bacterial buildup that may clog pores, in the long run leading to thinning hair, Ahn mentioned. 

“When one is going into the army in North Korea, the surroundings is deficient,” he mentioned. “For instance, there are testimonies even in South Korea that dressed in an army cap reasons hair loss.”  

A man undergoes a hair-restoration procedure at the Sinuiju Cosmetics Factory in the North Korean border city of Sinuiju in 2018. Credit: Ed Jones/AFP
A person undergoes a hair-restoration process on the Sinuiju Cosmetics Manufacturing unit within the North Korean border town of Sinuiju in 2018. Credit score: Ed Jones/AFP

Hair loss therapies in North Korea are divided into prescribed drugs and useful cosmetics, developing some consternation about which to make a choice, the professionals mentioned.

A number of the new merchandise are Guritdae Hair Loss Tincture manufactured through Pyongchon Koryo Pharmaceutical Manufacturing unit, which treats patchy and thinning hair and general hair loss that outcome from autoimmune issues that assault hair follicles, inflicting hair to fall out.

Then, there’s Hair Expansion Tonic made through the Shinuiju Cosmetics Manufacturing unit whose label says it’s efficient for fighting untimely hair loss and for selling hair enlargement.

Effectiveness questionable

Regardless that the goods would possibly include substances which might be believed to be excellent for hair or pores and skin, it’s tough to ensure their efficacy as drugs, Ahn mentioned.

“North Korean drugs can not if truth be told be verified,” he advised Radio Unfastened Asia.

Shinuiju Cosmetics Factory’s Hair Growth Tonic. Credit: Handout from Chosun Trade
Shinuiju Cosmetics Manufacturing unit’s Hair Expansion Tonic. Credit score: Handout from Chosun Industry

North Korean hair loss drugs are principally “oriental drugs” — topical tonics in accordance with medicinal herbs, so their impact is perhaps minimum, mentioned Choi.

For instance, customers are to dip a pine needle-like brush into a pitcher bottle and use it on the scalp to stimulate spaces suffering from hair loss, he mentioned.

However this would possibly no longer do the trick as a result of hair loss may also be suffering from male hormones and outcome from pores and skin sicknesses, Choi mentioned.

“So, making use of medication at the affected section won’t resolve the issue,” he mentioned.

Some North Koreans affiliate a lack of hair, referred to as bondae in Korean, with poverty. 

A public salon in Pyongyang, North Korea, in 2017. Credit: Ed Jones/AFP
A public salon in Pyongyang, North Korea, in 2017. Credit score: Ed Jones/AFP

However at different instances it’s been seen as an indication of wealth.

“This belief has turn out to be entrenched since the so-called ‘primary bondae’ development of hair loss is especially prevalent amongst rich and robust other folks, reminiscent of officers or representatives of businesses that earn foreign currency echange,” Choi mentioned.

“It refers back to the symbol of being grasping, having numerous good fortune, and making some huge cash,” he added.

Even in South Korea, till the Nineteen Eighties and early Nineties, other folks didn’t assume baldness regarded dangerous, mentioned Choi. “There used to be a belief that having a stomach and a bald head made one glance manly and wealthy.”

Translated through Claire Shinyoung Oh Lee for RFA Korean. Edited through Roseanne Gerin and Malcolm Foster.



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