When we initially lose our hair, it doesn’t feel like a big deal. We think of it as ‘normal’ hair loss. That’s the thing, we men sometimes mistake male pattern baldness for common day hair loss.
Suddenly, overnight, we realize that the hair on our forehead is thin, or we notice a bald patch! ‘How did I lose hair overnight?’ we think. That’s the thing with male pattern baldness, we don’t realize when we normalize it.
Male Pattern Baldness is a leading cause of depression in men especially when the hair loss is so severe that it is high-ranking on the Norwood Scale. Factors that lead to male pattern baldness can be genetic or environmental or, both.
Causes of male pattern baldness loss
Genetic male pattern baldness: Genetic male pattern baldness refers to a family history of balding and hair loss. This is associated with the male sex androgens. When DHT builds up in the hair follicles over time, DHT shrinks the growth phase of the hair follicle. DHT Blockers are effective to postpone male pattern baldness
Environmental male pattern baldness: Smoking, stress, thyroid, or nutrition deficiencies are factors that contribute to male pattern baldness. Iron deficiency can impact male pattern baldness and can put you higher on the Norwood Hamilton Scale of male pattern baldness. Emotional stress or physical stress sends signals to the hair follicles and they enter a resting phase due to the large levels of adrenaline that the body releases.
How do I figure how severe my balding is?
Hair loss in men can start as early as puberty. The Norwood Hamilton scale can help you know how severe your balding is. The Norwood scale divides hair fall and balding in men into stages. It categorises male pattern baldness depending on hair loss and a receding hairline that tend to make men’s foreheads larger.
What is the Norwood Hamilton Scale?
The Norwood scale classifies the hair loss of men in seven stages. The Norwood scale measures the extent of male pattern baldness where 1 is the lowest and 7 is the highest level of balding. If you are lower on the scale, you have better chances of salvaging your hair.
Research says that male pattern baldness begins with the recession of the hairline, hair thinning on the top of the scalp, and then enlarged bald patches.
Stages of male pattern baldness on the Norwood Hamilton scale
Stage 1: Unnoticeable hair thinning around the temples
Stage 1 of male pattern baldness usually goes unnoticed since there isn’t a noticeable change in hair loss nor the hairline. According to the Norwood scale, in this stage, hair thins around the temples and the forehead.
How to treat stage 1 of male pattern baldness? Since stage 1 of male pattern baldness is difficult to identify, a great solution is to understand whether balding runs in your family, if your father or grandfather have had a history of balding.
For men who face male pattern baldness genetically, this stage may occur sooner than other men. Thus, it is crucial to be cognizant of male pattern baldness.
A genetic baldness solution would be to start acting as soon as you see a red flag. Natural treatments like oiling your hair to strengthen hair follicles.
Stage 2: Hair thinning & M-shaped hairline
Stage 2 of male pattern baldness can be identified when hair at the temples and the forehead begins to thin more and more. Here, your forehead becomes wider and your temples more visible. Though this is still largely unnoticeable, the loss of hair around the forehead creates an M-shaped hairline.
How to treat stage 2 of male pattern baldness? If your balding is genetic, a baldness solution is to kickstart using natural herbs to regrow your lost hair. This can help delay the effect of genetic balding.
This stage occurs for different men at different stages of their lives. Research suggests that male pattern baldness is not only genetic but also environmental. Studies show that men who live in polluted areas or smoke cigarettes are victims of male pattern baldness earlier on.
Stage 3: Visible balding & recession of the hairline to form M, U & V shapes
In stage 3 of male pattern baldness on the Norwood Hamilton Scale, balding becomes more evident. Your hairline recedes deeper and widens your forehead to form ‘M’, ‘U’ or ‘V’ shapes on the forehead.
The hair loss in this stage has increased enough to categorize this stage as ‘baldness’ on the Norwood Scale.
Stage 3 can be categorized into Stage 3 Vertex of male pattern baldness. Here, the hair at the top of the scalp becomes thinner. Bald spots are seen in this stage of male pattern baldness.
How to treat stage 3 of male pattern baldness? DHT blockers can postpone balding by reducing DHT levels in the body. Consuming DHT blocking foods that are high in zinc slows down DHT production in the body. Zinc contains a compound called phytosterol that blocks excess DHT production in the body.
Shampoos containing caffeine, saw palmetto and ketoconazole are also effective DHT blockers that can reduce hair fall leading to male pattern baldness.
You could also switch up your hairstyle to hide that receding hairline.
Stage 4: Massive hair loss at the back of the head
In this stage of male pattern baldness, the Norwood scale indicates that you are sure to lose a lot of hair. Bald spots are increasingly evident. The hair on your crown begins to thin out and large patches of hair are lost at the back of the head.
How to treat stage 4 of male pattern baldness? Since you have already lost a large portion of your hair, a visible and impactful solution may be difficult. Opting to use finasteride, a chemical DHT, that usually comes in the form of a tablet could be your go-to.
Though this may not yield quick visible results, it’s the least you can do. Simple lifestyle shifts can reduce DHT levels in your body. These shifts will prevent DHT from accumulating at the hair follicles and preventing hair growth.
Reducing cigarette smoking (if you cannot quit altogether), an agile and active lifestyle in the form of exercising, or choosing simple ways to keep your body in motion are easy ways to naturally reduce DHT in the body.
Ensuring your body and mind are well-rested and free of tension and stress is. Dry massaging your scalp for five minutes a day with a derma roller is effective in stimulating blood flow to your hair follicles.
Stage 5: Horseshoe or U-shaped hairline at the crown of your scalp
This stage denotes the presence of a classic horseshoe-shaped or a U-shaped hairline. If you are at this stage, your hairline has receded significantly. Hair loss in this stage of male pattern baldness becomes more difficult to treat.
By stage 5 of the Norwood Hamilton Scale, the hair loss and balding are so severe that it is almost difficult to see quick visible effects.
How to treat stage 5 of male pattern baldness? In addition to incorporating DHT blockers in your diet, you could either opt for a hair transplant or a scalp micro-pigmentation process.
Hair transplants are done to add more hair to the area of your scalp that has lost a lot of hair and become bald over a period of time. It takes hair from thicker parts of your scalp or other parts of your body. This hair is then grafted to the thinning or balding section of the scalp.
Scalp micro-pigmentation deposits pigment into parts of your scalp with limited hair growth. It creates an appearance of tiny hair follicles that help thicken and restore the look of fuller hair. So, micro-pigmentation is essentially a tattoo on your scalp to hide balding.
Stage 6: Visible scalp & enlarged bald patches
In Stage 6 of male pattern baldness, the hair on your head is thin and bald patches widen making your scalp more visible. The Norwood Hamilton Scale suggests that there is hair loss at the sides of the head.
How to treat stage 6 of male pattern baldness? By this stage of male pattern baldness, one has large bald patches.
While micro-pigmentation and hair transplants are an option, you can also opt for a scalp reduction procedure. This procedure reduces regions on your scalp with no hair and brings the hair growth regions together. Therefore, it is able to reduce the baldness on the head. In fact, this procedure can be clubbed with a hair transplant to give you a fuller-looking scalp.
Stage 7: Hairline receded to the crown & very little thin hair
If you have reached stage 7 of the Norwood Hamilton Scale, you know that this means that you have lost most of your hair. Your hairline has receded to the crown and the very little hair remaining on the sides is too thin.
How to treat stage 7 of male pattern baldness? Since hair loss is so severe right now, embracing it could be a good idea. You could wear toupees, fedoras and sun hats. Alternatively, you could opt for scalp reduction and micro-pigmentation to cover your male pattern baldness.
If you still want a hairy head, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Wearing a wig made of hair colour and hair texture that resembles your hair is a good way to hide male pattern baldness.
Start acting on male pattern baldness as soon as possible
Don’t turn a blind eye to hair loss, a wider forehead and hair thinning. Hair loss is common and inevitable and so is balding. If the men in your family have a history of balding, ie if balding is genetic and it runs in your family, it is best that you take note and act upon hair loss.
It’s best to prevent and postpone male pattern baldness by seeking treatment rather than turning a blind eye towards it.