Most men value their hair for two main reasons: It makes them younger and it accentuates the face. But as valuable as your hair is the chances are good you will start losing it around middle age. Statistics show that about 67 percent of men will experience male pattern baldness- also known as androgenic alopecia at some point. 90 percent of these men are either anxious or stressed out by the prospects of suffering from this condition.
What Are The First Signs Of Balding?
Although most men start losing their hair when they reach 50, there is a 20 percent chance of this happening in the 20s. Thirty percent of men with male pattern balding start losing hair in their 30s while 40 percent of them go bald in their 40s.
- An “M” or a “W” hairline shape; whichever way you choose to look at it. That shape is a sign that your hairline is receding.
- A “V” hairline shape, also known as widow’s peak, this usually starts to form at the forehead.
- Hair thinning at your head’s crown or fringe areas; thinning that will refuse to go away even after treatment.
- The entire front hairline receding in a half-moon pattern without leaving any “M” or “V” trails.
Loosening of hair right from the crown area towards the forehead. Sometimes hair will come out when you are washing or combing it. Male pattern baldness doesn’t affect the back and sides of your scalp, so if you are losing hair around those areas too, then that could be a totally different condition.
Male Pattern Baldness Stages by Age
We cannot tell for sure how quickly your hair will fall out, nor at what time it will start/stop. What we can do, however, is break down the balding process into seven stages and then estimate how your balding hairline will look like at every stage until permanent balding is achieved. Stage 1:
About 25 percent of men with "male pattern baldness" will enter this stage aged between 18 and 21
. However, this can also start a little later from ages 25 to 35. Other people may not notice any changes at this stage unless they use older photos of you as a reference.Stage 2:
About 2 to 5 years after stage 1, the half-moon recession, the letters “M”, “W”, or “V” will be clearly evident depending on the recession pattern that your hair will take. The majority of your hair should still be present at this stage. Stage 3:
This start between the ages of 30 to 35, the crown area starts balding.Stage 4:
The balding at the crown area spreads up to the top of the head and, simultaneously, the hairline continues to recede back towards the scalp. Stage 5:
If your hairline was receding in an “M” or “V” pattern, the pattern breaks into a half moon at the top of the head and a small “island” of hair at the front, this is such an unfortunate stage of the process since it looks a little strange.Stage 6:
The half-moon from the front and the crown bald from the back are now separated by a thin line of hair. The “island” is diminishing quickly.
All the remaining hair is gone now, apart from the sides and the back since this hair will never be affected by male pattern baldness.
Norwood-Hamilton Classification of Balding system.
Hamilton studied 700 individuals in order to create the first balding timeline, this study was done across all ages in order to thoroughly investigate male pattern balding. The image below is a rough guide to its stages, which we have listed below, with a brief explanation of each phase. I
: Almost no Hairloss or Receding hairline.II
: Rounded, and very symmetrical areas of recession at the frontal hairline.III
: A small amount of hairloss, and the temples have very little hair covering them.II vertex
: Hair being loss mainly on the Crown, also known as the vertex, similar hair loss on the temples to number III.IV:
Hair on the Crown is mostly gone
, with marked increase in frontal temporal hair loss. V:
There is a thick area of hair between the crown and the frontal hair line, but it is slowly thinning.VI
: The crown is almost gone, and very little hair remains at the top of the scalp. VII
: A small amount of hair remains giving a horse shoe shape on top of the head, this hair is very fine.IIA:
The frontal hairline on top is 2cm away from the top of the ear canal.IIIA:
The frontal hairline is almost above the ear canal, if you draw a line vertically from the ear canal.IVA:
The hairline is beyond the ear canal, but close to the crown.VA
: Hair loss includes most of the top of the head.
Bouhanna Classification of Baldness.
This was done on European Caucasians men in 1976 which is a much more simple classification
of the balding process. I have outlined the development process below.Stage 1:
- Type a: Recession of the frontal hairline forming at the temples of varying depths
- Type b: Little hair on the top of the head and crown
- Type a: Hair loss from the temples, but usually in a symmetical manner
- Type b: Hair loss also on the Vertex
- A small amount of hair remains on the temporo-occipital crown (back / side part of the head)
Can You Reverse Balding?
In some ways you can slow down the process, by using drugs that contain an active ingredient known as finasteride
- Propecia tablets and generic finasteride. Testimonials from men who have used these drugs show that at least two-thirds of them see positive results
while the remaining one third often complains of suffering unpleasant side effects.
How quickly does balding progress?
There appears to be consensus that male pattern balding is entirely random, some men start earlier but the hair loss may cease, while others may start later but have a great deal more falling out quicker. Putting a finger on how quickly your balding progress is nearly impossible because every man is different
. There are men who take 5 years to go from a full head of hair to entierly bald while others take up 25 years. For the average man, it will take a good amount of time before they reach total baldness.
Can stress cause balding?
Yes, stress and balding go hand in hand since stress aggravates and speeds up the hair loss problems. Too much stress can damage hair follicles and consequently cause hair to fall out after combing or even washing it
. This condition is known as telogen effluvium. Psychiatrists also argue that severe stress and other uncomfortable feelings lead to a condition known as Trichotillomania that prompts the affected person to vigorously scratch the head and pull hair out. There are also those who suffer from an immunity disorder known as alopecia areata as a result of stress, making the immune system to attack the follicles and render them unproductive.
Hair lost due to stress-precipitated conditions has a higher chance of growing back compared to that which fell out naturally. As a matter of fact, almost everyone with these stress-caused conditions reverse the balding process without taking drugs provided one doesn’t have the male pattern baldness. Some studies have shown that emotional stress can increase baldness in individuals carrying certain genes.
Can hair grow back after thinning?
Yes. Knowing the signs of thinning hair makes it possible to counter the problem right at its development stages and that increases the chances of your hair growing back. Obviously, when you live a healthy lifestyle you should have a better head of hair, including the following:
- Reduce your alcohol intake and increase your water intake.
- Add more Omega 3, proteins, vitamin C, and iron to your diet.
- Dont smoke
- Take hair growth supplements.
Men with male pattern baldness may not successfully regrow their hair after thinning, particularly after allowing the balding process to run the full course.