In recent years, there has been a lot of debate about which type of man women find more attractive: the balding and meager, or the bold and hairy. Some people say that bald men are viewed as powerful, while others say that overgrown hair is unattractive.
Researchers say that when women are looking for a mate, they are most concerned with a man's ability to succeed in terms of financial status and protection. According to the researchers, it will be harder for bald men to attract mates because they appear less confident and assertive.
The same researchers say that male pattern baldness has been directly linked to higher levels of circulating testosterone while puberty occurs, leading to an increase in aggression levels.
This gives the impression to women that the man may be more violent in nature.
According to the study, bald men are seen as less likely to be strong protectors, which is an essential quality women seek in a mate.
Lead researcher Dr. Andrew Shtulman, Ph.D. in psychology at the University of New Hampshire, said: "Women look for men with a combination of traits such as physical health and high status that can potentially keep them safe. By contrast, balding men do not seem to be able to deliver this message."
"This is a critical area of research to understand since baldness is more common today than ever before," added lead researcher Dr. Peter Ellison from the University of Exeter. "Previous research has shown that baldness may have evolved in early man as an indicator of intrasexual competition, with the best-looking males being able to attract the most mates.
Our study does not support this idea as we found that bald men are perceived to be less masculine, which is not what you want if you're trying to attract women."
The researchers note that facial and body hair signals social dominance and aggression in both humans and other primates.
They suggest that male pattern baldness signals a decrease in testosterone levels.
"Men with male-pattern baldness might therefore be seen as less masculine, even if there is no change in their circulating levels of testosterone," concluded Dr. Shtulman.
Bald men may also become more desperate for female attention, so women may be less likely to offer them a relationship.