Hairloss and baldness commonly follow very identifiable stages and are relatively easy to identify, it is a condition that is much more common in men than it is in women.
Men typically lose their hair over several years in one of several common patterns .Although there are many classification scales that identify hair loss patterns, the Norwood Scale is the most popular one used amongst professionals when forming reference points and providing diagnoses on the extent of baldness with patients.
Stages of Hair loss
Hair loss follows 7 very distinct stages that identify the extent, severity and pattern of baldness. Doctors will use the scale to determine the severity and therefore the appropriate treatment.
No noticeable signs of receding hairline or hair loss of any kind.
The hairline begins to recede around the temples, this is known as a mature or adult hairline
The hairline begins to recede further around the temples with these areas being completely bare or sparsely covered with hair. This stage presents the balding areas in a U,V or m shape
Like stage 3 the U, V or M shape is observed but there is also hair loss around the vertex or the crown of the head.
The receding hair is further advanced than stage 3 and the vertex will have little or no hair. The vertex and the receding hair will be connected by a band of hair that bridges the two hair loss areas.
Shows more severe balding of the vertex and receding around the temples than stage 4. The band connecting the two areas is thinner and with thinning hair, this is known as a horseshoe shaped hairline and is the point where treatment becomes difficult.
The balding of the vertex and the receding hairline join and the band separating the two areas is gone.
The most severe stage of baldness, with only a band of thin hair around the sides of the head.
A variation to these 7 stages is known as ‘Norwood A’.
This is a less common variation of the Norwood scale that sees the hair receding uniformly from front to back and doesn’t present with a balding vertex.
What causes hair loss?
Hair loss is caused by a combination of genetic, environmental and hormonal factors. Hormones called androgens are responsible for hair loss and your genetic makeup determines how sensitive you are to these hormones. Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) specifically is the hormone that predominantly causes hair loss.
Hair loss treatments
If started in the early stages of hair loss, treatment can be very successful. After all, it’s much easier to reduce the effects of hair loss than it is to stimulate new hair growth. In advanced stages of hair loss the hair follicles may have already become dormant in which case surgical intervention becomes the only realistic option.
Surgical procedures are extreme and should be reserved for advanced stages of hair loss some of the surgical options are:
- Scalp reduction – Bald parts of the scalp are removed and the parts of the scalp that have viable growth are jointed
- Hair transplantation – Follicles are transplanted from healthy parts of the head to parts of the scalp that have dormant follicles
- Scalp micropigmentation – This involves tattooing your scalp with micro-tattoos to imitate the appearance of a shaved head.
There are also prescribed and ove- the-counter medications and devices that can be used to treat hair loss:
- Minoxidil – This is usually found in liquid form in balms and shampoos that are applied directly to the scalp. This treatment will take around 6 months before results are seen, if any, and treatment will need to continue indefinitely to maintain results.
- Finasteride – Is a prescription medicine for men and many men will show results within a few months. Side effects of this medication are reduced libido and sexual function while possibly even increasing the risk of prostate cancer.
The HAIRGENX range of DHT-blocking hair growth products poses no side-effects and is incredibly effective in treating both male and female pattern hair loss.