Understanding Men’s Hair Loss: All You Need to Know about the Norwood Scale
Updated: Aug 13
Did you know that 85% of men are expected to experience significant hair loss by the age of 50?
The Norwood scale is a leading classification system used to understand male pattern baldness. This condition results in hair loss in one of a few specific ways. With the Norwood scale, you can identify the progression of the hair loss pattern.
Let’s discuss the Norwood scale and its stages along with treatment options for men’s hair loss and tips on managing male pattern baldness.
What is the Norwood Scale?
Also called the Hamilton-Norwood scale, the Norwood Scale classifies the stages of men’s hair loss on a scale of 1 to 7. It was created by James Hamilton in the 1950s and was later improved by Dr. O’Tar Norwood in the 1970s.
It provides reference images for different hair loss stages, allowing doctors to make an accurate diagnosis of the extent of balding, discuss treatment options, and measure the treatment’s effectiveness.
7 Stages of Men’s Hair Loss according to the Norwood Scale
According to the Norwood scale, there are seven stages of male pattern baldness. This scale provides specific models for different types of hair loss. There is a regular pattern and a class A pattern for each stage.
As per the normal pattern, men start losing their hair on the top of the head. On the other hand, class A balding shows a different progression with hair receding from the front to the back of the head.
Below are the seven stages of men’s hair loss you should know about.
This is the control stage, where men still have hair all over their heads. There may be little to no signs of hair loss. The hairline may just have started receding.
During this stage, men may notice a slight change in their hairline as the recession becomes evident. This generally happens around the temples.
Men’s hair loss usually becomes prominent during stage 3.The hairline starts looking like a curved M from above as the hairline pulls further back from the temples.
In Class-A balding or stage 3A, the hairline dips may be a little less defined.
Stage 3 Vertex
Hair loss at this stage is less drastic than the stage 3 version. However, men with stage 3 vertex balding also start losing hair on the head’s crown. This may start as a small bald spot.
By the time a man’s balding reaches stage 4, he may have experienced significant hair loss. When the head is viewed from above, the receding hairline may now resemble a U shape. Moreover, the bald spot may look significantly larger on the crown of the head. However, there may still be some hair left between the bald spot and the receding hairline.
In stage 4A, men generally don’t notice a bald spot on the back of the head. Instead, they will have dips in their hairline, which may have a deeper U shape when viewed from above.
The progression of hair loss in stage 5 is often similar to stage 4 but it may be more severe. Although men may still notice a small patch of hair between the balding crown and their hairline, it will be much thinner and lighter than it was in the previous stage.
Men who experience stage 5A witness their hairline progressing towards the back of their head.
By the time this stage comes, a man has already become bald on most areas on the front and back of the head. The two bald spots finally join, leaving no strip of hair in between. The individual may still have some hair on the sides of the head but they will be mostly bald at the crown and front of the head.
This is the most severe stage of hair loss. Men going through this balding stage may only see a band of hair around the sides of the head. The hair that remains will be fine and not dense at all.
Norwood Class A
Class A variation of the Norwood scale is a less common progression of balding. The difference lies in the shape of the receding hairline.
In Norwood class A balding, the hairline recedes uniformly, not leaving a patch of hair in the middle of the head. There is no bald spot at the vertex as well. The hairline progresses from the front to the back of the head.
Diagnosis for Male Pattern Baldness
Typically, hair loss experts conduct a physical examination and medical history to diagnose men’s hair loss. Most of the time, they identify male pattern baldness. Your dermatologist or hair loss specialist will examine your scalp to identify the degree and pattern of your balding. They may also tug at some hair strands to assess the strength of the hair follicles.
Men’s Hair Loss Treatment Options
Several treatment options are available for male pattern baldness. More often than not, the treatment success rates are higher if done in the initial stages.
Below are a few options your hair loss expert may recommend for treating male pattern baldness.
· Hair loss medication for topical application, such as Minoxidil
· Prescription drugs like Finasteride
· Laser therapy
· Dermatological procedures, such as microneedling, scalp micropigmentation, scalp reduction, scalp expansion, and hair transplantation
The Bottom Line
Hair loss and thinning are common conditions that men experience as they get older. Thanks to the Norwood scale, you and your hair loss specialist can determine the extent of your male pattern baldness. The expert may then recommend the ideal treatment option based on your scalp condition.
During the initial stages, hair loss can be managed with medications. However, if you’re experiencing severe baldness, your specialist may recommend a dermatological procedure to retain the look of a head full of hair. Procedures like microneedling and scalp micropigmentation can create the appearance of a shaved head.
For more information about these procedures, feel free to contact us at Microblading Los Angeles by Tinted Liquid.
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