Is There an Accurate Test to Prove Male Pattern Baldness?'

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Name: Mark

Question: Is there an accurate test to prove male pattern baldness ? I am 52 now and would say I have lost somewhere between 10 to 20% of my hair only from the front, this has only happened in the last 15 to 16 years. I blame some medication I took for 3 to 6 months in my 30's (passport pictures verify this).
Areas of the scalp affected by male pattern hair loss baldness - Belgravia Centre Areas of the scalp that can be affected by male pattern hair loss

Answer: Hi Mark, we'd need to assess your scalp - ideally in person but otherwise via photos - to give you a confirmed hair loss diagnosis but you can generally find out whether or not you have Male Pattern Baldness by looking for a few key factors.

1. Do you have a history in the men and/or women of your family of hair loss or thinning hair? Genetic hair loss can come from either side of the family and can skip generations.

2. Have you noticed a decrease in the volume of your hair? Specifically the hair located along your vertex (top of the scalp) anywhere from the crown to hairline and temples, as this is the area which can be affected in part or as a whole, by hereditary hairloss.

3. Are the hairs in any part of this area thinner and/or more sparse than they were previously? Male Pattern Baldness causes the susceptible hair follicles to produce increasingly finer hairs, and less hairs than normal, in the affected areas, causing a decrease in hair density.

If the answer to the questions above is yes - and, as you mention frontal hair loss we know you definitely meet at least one of these criteria - then it is likely you have Male Pattern Baldness.

It may have been the case that you had a dormant genetic predisposition to this hereditary condition that became active following any unusual strain the medication placed on your body. This is quite common and hair loss is often listed as a side effect of certain prescription medications. Whilst the hair loss this can cause - a condition known as Telogen Effluvium - is temporary, the effects should it trigger Male Pattern Baldness, are permanent and progressive.

Therefore, the receding hairline you are currently experiencing is likely to deteriorate and you may start to notice hair thinning in other areas along the top of your scalp over time. How long this may take to appear - if it does - depends on your rate of shedding and the presence of any exacerbating factors such as stress, underlying health issues, an unbalanced diet or other nutritional issues.

There are a couple of different tests to determine hair loss - one being the 60 second hair fall test to gauge the amount of shedding, another being the hair pull test - though these are not particularly reliable on their own. Another popular tool for ascertaining levels of men's hair loss is the Norwood Hamilton Scale which is mostly for establishing at what level of shedding you are and which pattern it is following. Home-use DIY genetic testing claims to be able to detect the 'baldness gene', however it will not tell you if it is active or not, just whether you are a carrier of the relevant DNA.

For women we highly suggest having a blood test to check for iron deficiency in particular, so if this is something you have had issues with, it may be worthwhile considering.

We would recommend having a consultation with an experienced hair loss specialist, either in person or online (which allows you to upload photos), in order to obtain a professional diagnosis as well as information about clinically-proven hair loss treatments and recommendations for you, based upon their findings. This is a free service that will give you the information you need quickly, along with the peace of mind that comes from knowing it is provided by an expert in the field.
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