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4 Ways to Know if You're Going Bald

Dr. Patrick Carroll, MD
Medically reviewed by Patrick Carroll, MD Written by Our Editorial Team Last updated 4/10/2020

It’s the conversation that nobody wants to have — am I going bald? The unfortunate truth is that the majority of men will experience male pattern baldness at some point in life. 

When the balding starts and how much hair we’ll lose is typically based on genetics. And while most of us can  admit that balding is something we’re seriously concerned about, many men don’t take action while there’s still time.

The problem with hair loss is that the longer you wait, the harder it is to reverse the damage. If you start a treatment program right when your hairline starts to recede, you’ve got a greater chance of holding onto your hair. 

But once your hair has completely fallen out and all of your follicles have died, you’ve missed your opportunity with some of the more popular and cost-effective treatments on the market.

So, how do you know when it’s time to take action? Let’s take a look at some of the more common signs of balding.

1. Your hair is falling out

This may sound self-explanatory, but many people overlook excessive shedding. Part of the reason is because we tend to lose around 100 strands of hair any given day due to normal shedding, but some guys just don’t want to accept the fact that their hair is thinning. 

So, just because you find a couple of hairs lying about doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re going bald. However, when you start noticing a lot of hair on your pillow cases, stuck in your combs and brushes or sitting at the bottom of your shower, it might be time to look into hair loss treatment programs..

2. Your hairline is receding

Hairline recession is a big sign of potential balding. Unfortunately, it’s also one of those things that a lot of guys may just ignore, which is sad considering that they could potentially reverse the effects if they took action. 

You’ll really start to notice that your hairline is receding when you brush your hair and it just isn’t styling the way it used to — the direction that you comb it isn’t working as well as it did in the past. 

One of the most common signs of hairline recession is the thinning of hair around your temples. And for most people, this pattern continues to spread over time until it leaves you with the M-shaped hairline.

3. Your scalp is noticeably visible

Did you used to have a thick set of hair that covered your scalp like the Amazon Rainforest? A couple years back, you probably could’ve wet and brushed your hair and barely seen any scalp. 

But these days, giving yourself the slightest part exposes your skin. That’s likely because you’ve lost a significant amount of hair on the top of your head, and chances are, you’re going to continue losing more hair over time until you start developing bald spots.

Another thing to consider is whether your scalp is getting sunburned. As your hair thins, you lose more and more of that protection against the sun’s UV rays. A couple of years back, you might have been able to spend the entire day at the beach without worrying about burning the top of your head, but now you have to wear hats or put on sunscreen. It’s because you’re losing your hair.

4. You’re Noticing Random Bald Spots

A relatively common misconception about baldness is that it’s just one thing; you go bald, and that’s that. But, believe it or not, there are a few different types of baldness — and one of them is called “telogen effluvium.” 

Telogen effluvium hair loss usually occurs on the scalp, but can affect different areas of the head, as well. And generally, it occurs after a traumatic event. 

So, if you’re noticing increased shedding or noticeably thinned out patches of hair and you’ve recently experienced something emotionally, physically or psychologically stressful, this may be why.

The good news, however, is that telogen effluvium is usually only temporary, and hair regrowth typically begins three to six months after the triggering event.

Ready to Prevent Hair Loss?

Now that you know a little bit about what to look for, it’s time to cover some of the ways to stop male pattern baldness from spreading. 

For starters, don’t allow yourself to become stressed and upset about hair loss. It’s something that happens to the best of us, and with breakthroughs in medicine, you can keep your head of hair without breaking your bank.

The biggest problem surrounding male pattern baldness and hair loss isn’t coming up with effective treatment plans, it’s the ignorance and misinformation floating around. 

You’d be surprised how many guys feel powerless when they notice the signs of balding. They’ve been told that homeopathic "remedies" like rubbing cayenne pepper and apple cider vinegar on their head will cure them of their baldness — it won’t! 

But that doesn’t mean that you have to accept that your hair is falling out. There are a variety of different scientifically-proven treatment methods that have passed the scrutiny of the medical community and are viable solutions to baldness.

Two of the most popular treatments against balding are minoxidil and finasteride. Both can be used together and can successfully prevent hair loss from getting worse. 

With that said, there is no one-time fix for male pattern baldness. When starting a treatment regimen, it’s important that you understand that results take time. You probably won’t start seeing the effects until a few months into the treatment, and even then, you’ll need to commit to long-term usage to ensure that you get the optimal results.

This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. The information contained herein is not a substitute for and should never be relied upon for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment.