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Male Pattern Baldness: Early Warning Signs

Androgenic Alopecia, or male pattern baldness, is a very common condition, experienced by more than two-thirds of men over the course of their lives – with the likelihood of hair loss increasing with age. Androgenic Alopecia is caused by elevated levels of the hormone DHT (Dihydrotestosterone), which is produced by the interaction of the hormone testosterone and the enzyme 5-alpha reductase, in the blood.

Hair Loss SignsMale pattern baldness is widely thought to be genetically determined. It can start as young as 20 years of age, but more commonly occurs amongst men between the ages of 25 and 35; after which point, 2 in every 5 men will have begun to experience some hair loss. If you are concerned about the role male pattern baldness may have in your life, it is advisable to keep an eye on your hair for the very first symptoms.

What not to look for

There are a number of common myths about early hair loss indicators – these include being able to count more than twenty hairs on your brush after using it, finding hairs on your pillow in the morning, or starting to lose your hair in clumps.

The first two on this list are not seen as signs of male pattern baldness, as the condition is less about the hair you shed and more about whether or not those hairs are being replaced. In people who have Androgenic Alopecia, the hair follicles shrink, meaning that the replacement hair thins before vanishing altogether.

Losing clumps is also unlikely to be an indicator of male pattern baldness, but for a different reason. The condition generally leads to more gradual symptoms, so very drastic hair loss may well be the sign of a different kind of hair loss.

What to look for

However, there are genuine early signs that can indicate Androgenic Alopecia. These stem from the fact that – as the name male pattern baldness suggests – men with the condition lose their hair in a consistent way.

The first sign is a gradual retreat of hair away from the forehead in a distinctive “M” shape, known as a receding hairline. If the hairs at the base of your fringe are thinning, or being shed without being replaced, you might be suffering from Androgenic Alopecia. From there, the hair is lost from the crown of the head, leaving a distinctive bald pate, before spreading until eventually only a distinctive “horseshoe” of hair is left upon the sides and back of the head.

Male Pattern Hair Loss can appear in many different patterns however, with the possibility of general thinning around the top of the scalp or a balding patch around the crown becoming prominent.

How do I know for sure if it’s Male Pattern Baldness?

The sure way to know if it’s genetic is by observing whether the hair loss is all over your scalp or just on the top. Male Pattern Hair Loss will not affect the back or sides so you can be almost certain of the condition if your thinning is confined to the top of the scalp.

If you notice these symptoms, it may well save you time, effort and frustration later on if you seek professional help as soon as possible. Even proven treatments can be ineffective once you have lost all of the hair from a certain area, and we have found that those clients who see the best results are those who take action swiftly – by contacting us – as soon as they notice that they are losing their hair. You can view our archive of success stories and photos for hundreds of testimonials from satisfied customers.

The Belgravia CentreThe Belgravia Centre

The Belgravia Centre is the leader in hair loss treatment in the UK, with two clinics based in Central London. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our Online Consultation Form from anywhere in the UK or the rest of the world. View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which are the largest collection of such success stories in the world and demonstrate the levels of success that so many of Belgravia’s patients achieve. You can also phone 020 7730 6666 any time for our hair loss helpline or to arrange a free consultation.


22nd April, 2016 at 11:05 am

Carl Sargunar

I am losing my hair at the front and sides and I was wondering if you could recommend any products to try or suggestions. Thank you

22nd April, 2016 at 1:39 pm

Sarah Belgravia

Hi Carl, this sounds like a receding hairline - Belgravia's specialists recommend treating this type of hair loss with appropriate formulations of high strength minoxidil from the wide range available from our in-clinic pharmacies. You can find out more about receding hairline treatments on our blog or can receive personalised advice and treatment recommendations from one of our specialists you can either arrange a free consultation or, if you location prohibits this, you can complete an Online Consultation.

16th May, 2016 at 7:58 am

David dylan

After cuttin my hair very low, i noticed that at the side of my head i had not much hair growin. Although i never had full hair at the side or front of my head, it was worse this time is there a way i can grow it out back

23rd May, 2016 at 11:16 am

Sarah Belgravia

Hi David, one of our senior hair loss specialists has answered your question - we hope this is helpful to you.

22nd June, 2016 at 11:24 pm


Hello.. My hair was generally thick at a stage, but recently I've been noticing my hair thinning. I have no receding hairline, but often find hair falling, and these hairs are falling from the roots, it's been a while since I noticed this. One thing to take note of is that I blow dry my hair and iron it often, and thus this leads to confusion as to whether this could be hair damage, or hair loss. I'm 24 years of age, and I'm beginning to worry. Could this be male pattern baldness? My hair feels dead and thin, could it be hair damage instead? What could it be?

27th June, 2016 at 9:42 am

Sarah Belgravia

Hi there, One of Belgravia's hair loss specialists has answered your question over on our blog - we hope you find this information helpful.

11th July, 2016 at 2:21 pm

Matthew Lenn

Hello, After buzz cutting my hair and then letting it grow out to roughly 2 inches I have noticed there are lots of small hairs on the top of my head that refuse to grow past the initial buzz cut length. I can feel them with my finger tips while running them over my scalp. There has got to be over a hundred of them. What is happening here? Regards, Matthew Male 35 years old

12th July, 2016 at 5:30 pm

Sarah Belgravia

Hi Matthew, Here's an explanation for you - we hope this is helpful.

3rd August, 2016 at 12:56 pm

sayed ali

just what to find out i have very itchy scalp also it stings aswell an hair is gone lightalso forhead side going light

3rd August, 2016 at 1:50 pm

Sarah Belgravia

Hi Sayed, we hope the following information on an itchy scalp and hair loss is useful to you.

21st August, 2016 at 11:42 pm


The hairline on one side is farther back than the front part of my hair and the other side of it, my little sister that is 4 also has this, is it a sign?

22nd August, 2016 at 9:09 am

Ranjit Shaw

Recently I lost over 60 pounds of weight after exercising and extreme dieting in about 5 months. For the past month and half experiencing a lot of hairfall. I am 20 years old. Hairfall is consistent throughout the scalp but more at the top. My Doctor says that there is no link between hairfall and extreme dieting and says it is genetic male baldness and prescribed mino quilib. I am now freaking out. Do you know what type of hairfall am I experiencing.

24th August, 2016 at 5:46 pm

Sarah Belgravia

Hi Dillon, No, that sounds like it's just the natural shape of your hairline and not a sign of hair loss. If you are worried then keep an eye on it and if it does start to look as if it's moving backwards, we recommend you get a professional diagnosis from a hair loss specialist.

25th August, 2016 at 11:40 am


Hi Ranjit - here is a full response to your query which will hopefully explain the links between excessive exercising, rapid weight loss and hair loss.

29th September, 2016 at 7:20 am


I am 20 years old and over the past year I have noticed much less hair on the top of my head... my hair line has not changed however the crown of my head is beginning to feel and look very thin with noticeable small patches. I am really worried as to what I should do to ensure that if is in fact Male Pattern Baldness, I take the necessary steps as soon as possible.

5th October, 2016 at 1:44 pm

Sarah Belgravia

Hi Izzy, please find a response to your query here

24th November, 2016 at 7:42 pm

Matthew Tyrrell

I've always had a high hairline and I have quite a lot of hair, not thick, but I've always had non-thick hair. However, I've noticed that my hairline is quite high on the sides of my head whenever I pin them back to examine. I don't know if I'm losing my hair for sure but I fear I am. It's one of my biggest fears in life.

24th November, 2016 at 7:44 pm

Matthew Tyrrell

Oh, and I forgot to mention I'm 22. Both my dad and brother have lost theirs, but my dad constantly reminds me that he and my brother were both younger than me when they started losing theirs.

28th November, 2016 at 12:03 pm

Sarah Belgravia

Hi Matthew, here's a full response to your query from one of our hair loss specialists - we hope this is helpful.

25th December, 2016 at 5:37 pm


im 16, i had fully shaved my head due to the fact of using hair products constantly about everyday and realised lots of hair falling out. my hair at the back near the top of my head had been thinning. my hair is still short about 4cm to 5. Am i going bald.

6th January, 2017 at 5:05 am


I have very thick hair and curly. I used to have a a straight hairline but as i matured my hairline has scaled back into the more common M shape. My family on both sides doesn't have history of male patterned baldness however I am slightly worries. Again my hair is very thick and I am 20.

6th February, 2017 at 10:31 am


Hi, i am 16 and i feel like the hair around my scalp is thinnibg out, it feels a lot thinner than the hair on the top on my head, when i run my hands through it you can clearly see my scalp, i dont know whether i am just being paranoid or i am starting to go bald,please get back to asap, many thanks archie

6th February, 2017 at 11:15 am

Sarah Belgravia

Hi Archie, we cannot give you any helpful information based on what you say here so if you would like to put your mind at rest we recommend you have a free consultation either in person at one of our Central London hair loss clinics, or online using the consultation form on our website.

4th March, 2017 at 6:43 pm


H'lo! I have very thick hair, to the point my barber typically will take shears to it to thin it out. So far I don't notice any thinning, or receding, but, my hair seems to coming out a lot on my hands when i wash and style my hair. It seems like not many of them have the root at the end, but it is pretty worrisome. How do i know if this is a sign of balding? Thanks!

6th March, 2017 at 1:48 pm

Sarah Belgravia

Hi Joe, it is normal to lose around 100 hairs per day and if there are no obvious signs of hair thinning, a lack of density or a receding hairline, then it is likely that this is just normal hair loss. We cannot diagnose any hair loss condition from the information you give here but if you would like a specialist to assess you, you are welcome to have a trichocheck either at one of our Central London hair loss clinics, or online if that is easier due to your location.

1st May, 2017 at 7:31 pm


I have been considering a consultation since October but my primary care physicians continue to tell me that even though my mother's father and her brothers all lost their hair, I am not currently experiencing MPB. I am assuming the reason that they won't label this as MPB is because I go through un-explainable periods of extreme shedding and inflammation and then periods of regrowth where my hairline will regrow hair eventually. We have even witnessed that after taking a large amount of Benadryl for 5wks I was growing hair lower on my forehead and temples than I have had in quite some time. The other comment my physician made was that I have randomized thinning and patchy hair-loss all over my sides and back of my head and widow's peak (as if someone took a bite out of my widow's peak on one side near the tip), but my hair is actually the thickest on top and my crown hasn't changed in years, even though it's always thinner. I do suffer from autoimmune disorders, but I'm concerned that they're giving those conditions too much credit and not considering my family history of MPB on my mother's side. Is it normal for early stages of MPB to go through completely random mass-shedding and regrowth cycles, along with actual forehead hairline regrowth? I feel like I keep going from balding back to normal, and back again. I either want to aggressively address this now, or dismiss the issue for good.

3rd May, 2017 at 11:49 am

Sarah Belgravia

Hi Jordan, I hope this answer from one of our senior hair loss specialists helps.

28th May, 2017 at 9:24 pm


Hey my hair started acting funny once I went to junior college my first year there was fine but my second year became very stressful and the school didn't have healthy food to eat so all I ate was unhealthy food then I started smoking weed a lot on top of that that's went I notice my hair starting to thin in front and then I would shave it all and it would grow back black and colorless but the colorless keeps growing with the black only difference is the colorless grows alittle slower but it's growing in length and now I finally shaved it again and I'm eating heathy and not smoking and using coconut oil and Castro oil and once again when I look at my scalp in certain lighting I can see all my hair but the sides and back are growing faster then the frontal but the frontal is growing though it's just growing with some black and colorless if that male pattern baldness or what I'm only 22 my dad didn't lose his hair till his 40s and my mom has hair do you know what it is

7th June, 2017 at 2:17 pm

Sarah Belgravia

Hi Joshua. Please find a full response to your query, here.

19th June, 2017 at 2:35 pm

Sarah Belgravia

Hi Pat, it may be that you have to look further back in your family tree - it is possible for the predisposition towards genetic hair loss (male pattern baldness) to be carried as a dormant gene which means that although it can still be passed on, no signs of hair loss occur. It is only once activated that hair loss becomes visible and this is something that is easy to do now due to the many pressures and effects of modern day living with lifestyle habits from stress to diet, all being potential triggers. There are effective hair loss treatments for a receding hairline so we would recommend having a professional consultation if you would like to explore your options.

19th June, 2017 at 2:44 pm

Sarah Belgravia

Hi Sayed, it is impossible to tell what is happening from the information you have given here but it is highly unlikely that you are going bald. Everyone sheds around 100-150 hairs per day so if your hair loss is above this on a consistent basis and you notice areas where there is definite hair thinning, we would recommend speaking to your doctor to check that there is no underlying reason for your hair loss. We can also offer hair loss treatment to people aged 16 and over if you would like to explore this option.

5th July, 2017 at 8:05 am


Hi I'm just 22 and I can feel that I am losing my hair I got a little receding hairline I don't know what is happening to my hairs 2-3 months before I got a head full of hairs but in 2-3 months I noticed that my hairs are thinning and I am losing my hair. My hair become so dry and always remain in an resting position. I can easily see my hair strands and I have noticed that my hair are thinning and became dry. I don't know what actually is happening to my hairs. They were all good before.

6th July, 2017 at 11:34 am

Sarah Belgravia

Hi Manish. Please find a full response to your query on the Hairloss ANSWERS section of our blog

11th July, 2017 at 8:46 pm


Thanks for the info. I am 24, started around age 19 after serious thinning and a lot of frontal hair loss. I've tried everything even medicine but nothing is working. So I've decided to try Finasteride. Finasteride (Propecia) has made my hair loss stop completely so far. No side effects that I notice, I take half a pill every day (.5mg). But when I stop the pill, my hair continue to fall down, what should I do ?

12th July, 2017 at 9:57 am

Sarah Belgravia

Hi Daniel, it sounds as if you may be taking this drug unsupervised as the dose prescribed is 1mg. We would advise you to consult your finasteride provider, doctor or healthcare professional to check that your medical profile means you are in fact suitable to take this medication. In answer to your query, male pattern hair loss is a permanent condition and, as there is no cure - only treatment, treatment does need to be on-going in order for it to continue working.

21st July, 2017 at 6:16 pm


Thank you Sarah, Do you mean that I will have too take medicine .. forever? which really freaks me out. Moreover, I'm considering some sort of hair transplant if my condition does not get better, do you have any advice ?

24th July, 2017 at 11:02 am

Sarah Belgravia

Hi Daniel, as genetic hair loss is a permanent condition for which there is not yet a cure, treatment in order to manage the condition is on-going. It is similar to how we have to brush our teeth every day in order to prevent plaque build up from causing tooth decay. Belgravia does not provide hair restoration surgery though many surgeons recommend following a pharmaceutical hair loss treatment course for at least six months prior to surgery in order to maximise regrowth and stabilise shedding so that the area is easier to work with during the procedure. You can find out more in our hair transplant section.

13th November, 2017 at 3:42 am

Jacob Marcotte

Hi, I have a hard part on the left side of my head, and thinning to where the front of the side of my hair parts with the top, can I get advice if I’m balding or not?

13th November, 2017 at 10:52 am

Sarah Belgravia

Hi Jacob, We would need to examine your scalp in order to provide you with a diagnosis. We can do this for you either via an in-person consultation at one of our City of London or Central London hair loss clinics, or if you are based outside London - or abroad - you can complete an online consultation form which allows you to upload photos. One of our specialists will then get back to you to discuss their diagnosis, advice and - where necessary - treatment recommendations.

19th January, 2018 at 9:40 pm


Hi, I am 25 and, since a year I am noticing Hair loss. It is not genetic as my father and grandfather have a head full of hair even in this age. I am noticing hair loss all over my scalp. Not much at the back and sides but, still a noticeable amount. i could see hand full of hairs when I shower or do oil massage. The hairs come out with root. This, am experiencing only since a year. It has started all of a sudden. Is this symptom of MPB ? does MPB start that sudden? also, does MPB occur even in non genetic case? Kindly answer... Thank you

23rd January, 2018 at 1:06 pm

Sarah Belgravia

Hi Rahul, whilst male pattern baldness is a wholly genetic condition which may both be passed on by either side of your family, and skip generations - so the fact that your father and grandfather have no signs of hair loss is not necessarily pertinent - we cannot diagnose you simply from what you say here. It could be male pattern hair loss but equally it may be a temporary condition such as chronic telogen effluvium. We recommend seeking a professional consultation as you would need a confirmed diagnosis before treatment could be recommended. In the meantime, you can find out more on our male pattern baldness page.

5th February, 2018 at 6:05 pm

Kyle McMullan

Hi, I'm a 19 year old male and have noticed probably since I was 16 a gradual receding and thinning in my hair from the corners of my forehead. I still have hair their a bit but its very fine a wont grow past a few cm. In the past 6 months the hair from my forehead to the crown of my head has also stopped growing past a certain length, and there seems to be less hair in the middle of my forehead at the hair line. My hair also seems to be doing the same at the base of my skull at the back and around my temples, with shorter, finer hair. It's also a little hard to to tell just how bad it is since I have long, curley hair everywhere else. I've never heard of baldness starting this young but I don't know what else it could be. Thanks for your help.

6th February, 2018 at 2:19 pm

Sarah Belgravia

Hi Kyle, it is technically possible for male pattern baldness to begin any time following puberty, especially in cases where there are influencing factors which can bring about premature hair loss. There are many factors but common ones include stress, an underlying medical condition (diagnosed or undiagnosed) or adjusting to new medications. Most of what you describe here is consistent with a diagnosis of male pattern baldness. However, you mention the base of your skull being affected which, assuming you mean around your nape, cannot be caused by genetic hair loss as this only affects the follicles along the top of the scalp, from the crown to the hairline. We recommend having a consultation in order to get a professional diagnosis and so that you can feel fully informed about what's happening, as well as finding out about recommended hair loss treatment solutions available, in order to at least put your mind at rest. You can visit us at one of our City of London or Central London hair loss clinics in person, or if you are based elsewhere in the UK or abroad, feel free to complete our Online Consultation form which allows you to upload photos.

20th March, 2018 at 5:57 am


Hi, I am 22 years old and I am trying very hard to determine whether I am at an early stage of losing my hair (due to male pattern baldness)or weather I am simply being paranoid. I do not have a receding hairline nor do I have and particular thinning at specific area on the top of my head. However for the past year now I've been noticing that my hair falls out of my head a lot easier than it used to. By this I mean everytime I run my fingers through my hair I always see 2-3 strands falling out and I can collect up to 15 strands if I keep going. Also I've noticed that I lose up to 50 strands of hair everytime I wash my hair with shampoo. Regardless of what shampoo I use my scalp feels itchy at random times of the day. Lastly the hairs on the begining of my hairline (which is not receded) have turned quite thin and wavy. I have straight hair. I have been quite restless, I've seen a trychologist and even they could not come to a definite conclusion. I was hoping to recieve some sort of feedback from you and see what you think. I would like to thank you for reading this and thank you in advance for your response.

20th March, 2018 at 10:50 am

Sarah Belgravia

Hi Alex, judging by the amount of hair you are shedding per day, and the fact that there don't seem to be any other signs of male pattern baldness - such as a receding hairline or thinning on top - the amount of hair loss you are experiencing sounds absolutely normal. We all lose around 100 hairs per day as a normal part of the hair growth cycle and this does not indicate a hair loss condition. If you want to be certain there is nothing else going on then we would recommend having a consultation with a specialist - either in person or online - and they will be able to provide you with their expert opinion based on a more thorough assessment.

28th March, 2018 at 1:58 pm


Hi I am currently 17 and have noticed slight thinning at my right temple alongside slight recession whereas my left temple has only receded a little, I had noticed this when I was 14 and since then it has progressed little... I also noticed that the sides of my head this refers to the area that is connected to the side burns has thinned a bit on the left and not on the right side... I have also noticed that the nape area of my head tends to excessively lose hair when I due a stress test pull to see if I will lose any hairs. However this has been the case for a couple of years now and I worry that it will worsen, what can I do to counteract said developments. No doctors prescribe me fin, avodart, etc and the use of minoxidil is fairly limited as its a tedious procedure and must be carried indefinitely.

3rd April, 2018 at 5:00 pm

Sarah Belgravia

Hi Jack, we cannot diagnose you from what you say here, however, if you are losing hair from your nape this will not be male pattern baldness as genetic hair loss only affects the top of the scalp from hairline to crown. The treatments you mention are for male pattern hair loss and their use is on-going because it is a permanent condition. However, it may be possible that you have Telogen Effluvium which causes temporary shedding from all over the scalp and is often stress-related. Another consideration in relation to your hairline is that it is simply a maturing hairline rather than a form of hairloss, but we would need to assess you in order to provide a confirmed diagnosis. Once the reason for your shedding has been established, a personalised treatment course can be put together where necessary.

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