Few phrases are the source of as much stress and anxiety in men as these three words: male pattern baldness. It’s something that affects the majority of us at some point in our lives, and it’s something that many of us become concerned about at some point.
So, why does male pattern baldness go untreated in so many men? Well, there’s no real way to know the answer to that question for certain, but we’d be willing to bet most men simply don’t know they’re balding until it’s too late.
And that brings us to our point. When it comes to male pattern baldness, the best defense is a good offense.
The sooner you discover that you’re losing your hair — and take action to treat it — the better your odds are of stopping your hair from thinning further.
Alternatively, If you wait until the majority of your hair is gone to take action, your options become very limited and your odds of staying bald are high.
Fortunately, there’s a way for you to keep track of your hair loss so that you don’t wake up one day only to find that half your hair has fallen out. It’s called the Norwood scale, and it was developed by Dr. James Hamilton in 1951, and in 1975 was revised by Dr. O’Tar Norwood.
Though it’s not the only classification system, it is considered the most popular. It features seven distinct stages to help men and their healthcare providers determine how much hair has been lost.
Here are its stages:
Stages I and II: the first two stages of the Norwood scale cover light hair loss. This is where the hairline starts to recede slightly without any major changes to the crown.
Stage I is marked by minimal thinning around the temples and a slight recession that often goes unnoticed or ignored. By the time we get to Stage II, the balding near the temples has moved further inward, creating the M-shaped hairline that is common in a lot of men (but becomes fully apparent in Stage III).
Stage III: the baldness becomes more visible. The temple recession continues to grow to the point that there’s little or no hair in the temporal regions. This is when it becomes more difficult to conceal your hair loss.
Stage IV: by the time you reach Stage IV, it’s evident that you’re experiencing male pattern baldness. This is where you’ll develop noticeable bald spots.
The hair on your crown will begin to thin out and you may start losing large patches of hair at the vertex, or in the front of your head.
Stage V: this is when we start to see the early signs of the horseshoe-shaped hairline. This is when hair loss is entering a severe stage where it becomes more difficult to treat.
Stage VI: if you make it to this stage of male pattern baldness, you’ve managed to lose a large portion of your hair.
Your hairline has crept up to the top of your head, and what little hair remains on your crown is thin and provides minimal coverage of your scalp.
Stage VII: consider this stage to be full-blown baldness. This is the classic horseshoe or cul-de-sac pattern which leaves the top of the head completely bald.
Unfortunately, if you make it all the way to Stage VII without taking any form of action, your chances of recovering your hair are slim.
If you want to keep the same head of hair throughout your adult life, you’re going to need to take action as soon as you catch the first signs of male pattern baldness.
Ideally, you’ll want to start a treatment program within the first three stages to get the best results.
But even in the later stages, you still have a chance to stop further hair from falling out — you might even regrow some hair as well!