LONDON (Reuters Life!) - It's supposed to be a mark of distinction, but going grey is now the top concern for British men, according to new research.
Hair color is the number one appearance concern for men today, with more than half of British men worrying about graying hair, and 45 marks the age when panic really sets in, according to a poll from market research firm Mintel.
"Although grey hair is traditionally seen as a mark of distinction in men, the reality is many men are unhappy with their newfound gravitas," Mintel Head of Beauty Research Vivienne Rudd said in a statement.
"The physical changes associated with aging can act as a catalyst to mid-life crisis and our research has discovered that men become less content with their appearance after the age of 45."
Hair loss or thinning, is the second most common concern, worrying 40 percent of the respondents to the Mintel survey of 2,000 British men.
Unwanted hair (in the nose and ears) preoccupied 38 percent of respondents, being overweight bothered 37 percent and 30 percent were worried about yellowing teeth.
Mintel said that men appeared to be more accepting than women when it came to their appearance, but found that at 45 years of age, men become increasingly less happy with their looks.
More than a quarter of men aged 45-54 dislike four aspects of their appearance compared to an average of just over one in 10 men overall.
As with all men, hair is the biggest concern for those aged over 45, with more than half of men aged 45-54 worrying about hair loss. Graying hair worried 75 percent of men in this age group. However, fading or thinning hair wasn't the only concern.
As many as half of this age group also worry about unsightly nose or ear hair.
Rudd said that delayed retirement and working later into life than their parents did as the British population ages will bring older men into competition with younger colleagues.
"As a result, older people may feel the need to try to maintain appearance and therefore bring a future boost to the male grooming market," she said.
Despite the high level of concern many men display about their appearance, as many as 45 percent of all men remain unengaged with toiletries and this rises to over half of those aged between 45 and 54. Just over a third of men use as few personal care products as possible, while 31 percent have little interest in beauty and personal care products.
"Older men are significantly more likely than younger men to disregard a number of beauty and personal care products as being completely unnecessary and are also less content with the product results," Rudd said. "And the cynicism of older men extends not only to the claims that beauty products make, but also to a reluctance to try beauty services."
Editing by Patricia Reaney