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The Norwood Scale – How Bald Are You?

Norwood Scale of Male Pattern BaldnessType I. Minimal hair loss.

Type II. Insignificant hair loss at the temples.

Type III. The first stage that requires treatment.

Type III vertex. Receding hairline and thinning hair on the vertex.

Type IV. Bigger pattern on the vertex and hairline.

Type V. Patterns at both sites are bigger but a thin division line is still present.

Type VI. The bridge is gone but several strands of short fine hair may remain.

Type VII. The most severe form of hair loss. Little hair on the front or top of the head.

It’s no secret that men with a receding hairline are on the steady but reliable path to baldness, although most should be able to maintain a decent fallen halo of hair around the sides and back.

Male pattern baldness is the most common hair loss diagnosis in men. As a rule it starts at the temples and crown of the head and over time, the two areas eventually meet. The sly connection may have appeared to spring from nowhere but according to Dr. O’Tar Norwood it was an inevitable bond just waiting to blossom.

The Norwood Scale is a set of images that depict the different stages of male pattern hair loss. Now, whether they try to avoid the situation or not, most men know what to expect when they see the early signs of hair loss, so what’s the use of such a diagram that only states the obvious?

Well, the rate at which men lose hair varies enormously. Male hair loss can begin as early as puberty and while some men may shed rapidly in their 20’s up to a Type 3 or Type 4, others may have no detectable amount of hair loss until they are in their 50’s, only to advance to a Type 6 or Type 7 in just a few short years. Essentially, the scale is used to assess how advanced a man’s hair loss is – the higher the number, the more advanced the loss. And if you start to thin or recede early in life, there’s a good chance you’re destined to lose quite a bit of hair.

There are many factors that affect the rate at which a man loses hair, but the reason they all tend to shed in this predictable pattern is simple. Male pattern hair loss is caused by hormones and genetic predisposition. After puberty, the level of testosterone increases. One of its derivatives, dihydrotestosterone (DHT), is a key ingredient in hair loss for men who have a family history of hair loss. This genetic tendency means the hair follicles on a man’s head have an increased sensitivity toward DHT which causes the follicles to shrink. As a result, hair becomes thinner, weaker and after several years the follicles get so small that they’re unable to grow any hair. The follicles are still alive for a couple of years, despite not producing any hair, so there’s still a chance that a tailored combination of scientifically proven hair loss treatments, and possibly some hair growth boosters, could yield some good results. However, 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.

So what are your options? Despite the predictable pattern of hair loss, you’ll still need a professional diagnosis. The type of pattern baldness is usually diagnosed by appearance but a hair loss specialist will also ask some questions about your genetic background, medical history, lifestyle, etc. They may even examine the scalp close-up to get an idea of the degree of the follicle miniaturisation. The purpose of the diagnosis is to rule out other possible factors that could be affecting your hair growth and to assist in composing an individualised hair loss treatment course. Just as each person tackles the flu differently, male hair loss requires a personalised approach.

Of course you don’t need treatment for male pattern baldness – it isn’t exactly an illness. However if it brings stress, anxiety, and affects your work or personal life, there are specialists who can help with the problem right after they identify the type and pattern of hair loss.

To find out how the Belgravia Centre can help you, you can fill in the online diagnostic form from anywhere in the world and gain access to the most advanced and effective treatments in hair loss. If you’d like to arrange a free appointment with a hair loss specialist, call 020 7730 6666 to book (we’re open 7 days). Alternatively, we’ll soon be hosting consultation days all over the UK if you can’t make it to the London centre, so contact us to find out about dates, places and times.

More Information:

Can Anything Be Done About a Receding Hairline?
Best Treatment for a Widow’s Peak
Hair Loss Success Stories

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