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Hair Watch: These are the 5 Early Signs of Balding

Michele Emery, DNP
Medically reviewed by Michele Emery, DNP Written by Our Editorial Team Last updated 6/10/2019

Have those loose strands of hair lying around driven you into a panic? Don’t worry just yet. It’s perfectly normal for people to shed anywhere between 100 and 150 hairs a day. It’s when your hair falls at a faster rate and stops growing back that you have a problem.

While hair shedding on its own isn’t always indicative of male pattern baldness, it can point to hair loss when combined with other signs of balding. Since the treatment of androgenic alopecia (male pattern baldness) is more successful when caught in its early stages, you’ll want to spot these signs as soon as possible.

Look out for These Early Signs of Balding

1. The receding hairline

This is probably the most common sign of hair loss, and since it happens so gradually, it’s easy to miss. Basically, your hairline starts to creep further and further up your forehead until it’s virtually on the top of your crown. The best way to spot if your hairline is receding is to look at your hair around the temples, as that’s the areas that usually start thinning the first. If they look less dense than before and it appears as if you’re beginning to develop a widow’s peak, your hairline is beginning to recede.

The problem with hairline recession is that it rarely stops with the temples. For most men, it continues to recede until they have an M-shaped hairline with a bald spots extending into the crown from each corner, as well as a patch of hair left in the middle.

2. Your crown is thinning

When you brush or style your hair, does your scalp look more visible than normal? If so, the hair on your head could be falling out. Hair loss in the crown can occur in a number of different areas. You may develop a bald spot on your vertex, you could lose hair evenly across your head, or it could connect with your receding hairline and leave you with the infamous cul-de-sac hairstyle.

3. Something about your hair is different

Your hair starts to change as it begins thinning. Suddenly, the way you used to style your hair just doesn’t work the same way it used to. For some men, they may even start developing additional waves or curls in their hair near the ears when they start to lose their hair. For others, it could be something like a cowlick seemingly vanishing into thin air, or their hair wants to suddenly fall flat all the time. Whatever the case may be, you know how your hair should be styled, and that’s something that’s not going to abruptly change except for the following reasons: you’ve tried a new styling product, you’ve relaxed your hair, or your hair is thinning out.

4. Your hair grows slower

If your hair doesn’t grow as fast as it used to, that could also be a sign that you’re in the early stages of balding. Another telltale sign is if the texture of your hair has changed when it grows back. Thinning hair tends to come back more wispy and weaker than healthy strands of hair.

5. Hair thinning in general

While it’s common to lose a little bit of hair as you get older, a stark difference in volume probably means that you’re in the early stages of male pattern baldness. Keep track of your hair’s thickness at your crown and near your hairline. If either of these areas look like they’re getting thinner, you could be losing your hair.

What to Do When You Notice the Early Signs of Balding

The key to preventing male pattern baldness is to take a proactive approach. If you wait until you’ve lost the bulk of your hair, you’re probably not going to get the results that you want. Unfortunately, one of the most common reasons why men let their hair loss go unchecked is because of denial.

Male pattern baldness is something that can happen to men of any age. Whether you’re in your 40s and 50s, or you’re in your late teens to early 20s, hair loss can strike. So, when you start noticing more than the usual amount of hair at the bottom of your drain, or your hair isn’t quite as thick as it used to be, it’s important that you take action. There are a number of treatment programs that are scientifically proven to slow down hair loss in the majority of men. Some can even help you regrow some of the hair you’ve already lost! Male pattern baldness is normal, not using the tools to treat it is not.

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.