To start off, all men lose their hair as they age, but some lose more than others. Knowing how bald you are will help you choose the right treatment options available to you.
The Norwood Scale is a commonly used tool to illustrate the different stages of hair loss and the degree of baldness. If you feel like you might be starting to display signs of hair loss, this guide will help you to recognize how far along you are.
What Is The Norwood Scale?
The Norwood Scale is a set of images that helps balding men understand the different types of receding hairlines and identify their hair loss stage. In other words, it displays the rate and ways in which hair loss evolves in men overtime.
The Norwood scale runs from 1 to 7, with one representing very little hair loss and seven being the most severe form of balding, with little hair on the front or top of the head. Basically, the higher the number on the scale, the more advanced your hair loss.
The Norwood 1 hairline and 2 are the earliest stages of balding and are usually not a cause for alarm for most men. However, it’s at the Norwood 3 stage that you might want to start considering some form of treatment — balding can quickly escalate from this level.
The earlier in your life you start to display signs of balding, the higher the chances are that you’ll lose quite a bit of hair as you get older. Have a look at the Norwood scale above and let us know your stage of hair loss and what you’re doing about it.
What Causes Hair Loss?
There are many factors that cause men to bald, but the reason why all men tend to exhibit the same predictable balding pattern can be attributed to two main culprits: Hormones and genetic predisposition.
In fact, research suggests that men who have a bald father are more likely to develop male pattern baldness than those who don’t.
Dihydrotestosterone (DHT), a derivative of testosterone, is mainly responsible for hereditary male pattern hair loss. Men with a family history of hair loss tend to have hair follicles on the head that have an increased sensitivity toward DHT, causing the follicles to shrink, effectively making your hair thinner and weaker.
After several years, the follicles become so small and so weak that they’re unable to grow hair, but this doesn’t necessarily mean they die out immediately.
Your hair follicles live on for a couple of years even after they stop producing hair, meaning there is still a chance that a combination of scientifically proven hair loss treatments and lifestyle changes could resuscitate them back to working condition.
But you must act fast! After about two years, the follicles that haven’t been producing hair will become dormant and you won’t be able to re-grow your own hair.
If you’re not sure of what exactly is causing you to lose hair, consult your doctor.
Signs of Receding Hairline
Even though the signs of hair loss are usually associated with aging, notably our late 20s onward, you might actually start showing signs of receding hairline right after puberty.
Not all men are the same, and the rate at which we lose hair varies greatly. Some men may shed rapidly in their 20’s up to a Norwood 3 or Norwood 4, while others may have no noticeable hair loss until they are in their 50’s, only to advance to a stage 6 or stage 7 in the blink of an eye. A lucky few will go on to retain a healthy head of hair well past their 60s.
One thing to look out for is the shape your hairline starts to develop after thinning out. If, for example, the hair on the frontal part of your scalp starts growing in a V shape, that’s a clear sign of receding hair line and eventually hair loss.
So, How Bald Are You?
As with everything in life, momentum is key. Unfortunately, displaying a receding hairline is clear sign that you’re in for a depressing ride through a series of hair loss stages.
Even though not all men are the same, most tend to start losing hair at the temples before the hair loss gradually extends to the crown of the head.
It is the high level of predictability in hair loss patterns that makes the Norwood Scale such a useful tool.
Now that you have a basic understanding of why you’re balding and the various stages of balding, you should be able to determine how bald you are and what your head is going to look like.
An now that you know how bald you are, what are you doing about it?
Your Hair Loss Treatment Options
Not unless you are a Norwood 7 level of baldness, you have quite a number of effective options.
First on the list is a hair loss treatment alternative that you should have on the top of your list: Hair Thickening Fibers. Often made with real keratin, hair fibers bond to your own hair to create sturdy, natural-looking volume. They are resistant to wind, rain and sweat but can be washed out easily with any shampoo.
If you’re a Norwood 1, Norwood 2 or even Norwood 3, sprinkling just a tiny bit of the fibers on your thinning hair can instantaneously give you the thicker-looking hair you had in your prime . And best of all, they are very affordable.
Finasteride, known more commonly as Propecia, is a pill that helps prevent hair loss by lowering dihydrotestosterone (DHT) levels. This medication has been shown to reduce hair loss for a majority of men and often achieves a measure of regrowth, but not without potential side effects like a decreased sex drive.
Next up are liquid hair loss treatments like minoxidil (i.e. Rogaine), which when applied directly to the scalp twice a day, can often help men in the early stages of hair loss stimulate growth. The results of minoxidil are limited, however, which is why experts recommend it be used in combination with finasteride.
The most extreme and expensive hair loss treatment option are hair transplants. The results looked unnatural in the past — hair transplants don’t look like dolls’ hair anymore — but the science has improved dramatically in recent years, explaining why an increasing number of men to go broke paying for the procedure.
If you’re looking for a government-approved, research-backed hair loss treatment that isn’t a drug like finasteride or require surgery like hair transplants, the Laser Comb might be your best bet. By stimulating hair follicles with a low-level laser, Laser Combs have been shown in test trials to increase hair volume in a majority of patients.
Of course, if none of these hair loss treatment options sit well with you, you could always try an old-school toupee.
Accept Your Balding To Prosper
However you go about treating your balding head, hair thickening fibers can and likely should be part of the equation, assuming you’re not too bald.
For instance, you can use the fibers to effectively conceal your thinning hair or bald spot while using finasteride, minoxidil, a laser comb, and/or hair transplants to prevent further hair loss and regrow your manly mane.
But one thing that’s more important than using hair thickening fibers or any of the aforementioned hair loss treatment options is to accept your balding. By all means, do whatever you can to cure your balding head in a healthy and sustainable manner, but ultimately, you must accept it as a normal course of nature so that it doesn’t prevent you from living life to the fullest.
Acceptance of your receding hairline will spare you countless nights of worrying about going bald, as well as years of anxiety and low self-confidence from not feeling comfortable in your own skin.
No one likes a man with low confidence, and I bet you don’t either.