The Norwood Scale
The most common cause of hair thinning and loss in men is a hereditary condition known as androgenic alopecia. Though this problem may manifest in a male adult at any age, and it proceeds at its own pace in each individual, it does progress in a known pattern, giving it its more common name: male pattern baldness. Most typically, the recession leads to the creation of an "M" shape at the hairline, which eventually pulls back into a "U," causing the remaining hair to resemble a horseshoe.
Since the increasing severity of a man's hair thinning and loss via androgenic alopecia is roughly predictable, hair experts over the years have developed and refined a baldness classification system known as the Norwood Scale, which allows men to find their degree of hair thinning on a standardized chart. Identifying the stage of a man's hair loss can help him work with professionals, such as Dr. Yavuz, to develop the best plan for treatment to preserve his remaining hair and even bring hair back to where it was lost.
Stages of Hair Thinning and Loss
The Norwood Scale breaks male pattern baldness down into seven stages, numbered 1 through 7. Each stage may be further broken down into sub-categories, presenting a dozen total images for comparing the hair thinning in the illustrations to what you see when you look in the mirror.
This represents a head with no visible hair thinning. Think of it as the base template.
This shows the beginning of some retreat at the temples and possibly the forehead, often referred to as a receding hairline.
Temporal recession becomes more pronounced, and the hairline can push back farther from the front.
In addition to more recession in the front and at the temples, possibly leading to a pronounced widow's peak or a deep field of bare skin or sparse hair, advanced hair thinning on the crown can create what is commonly known as a bald spot.
The hair thinning at the temples, front hairline, and crown begin to converge at this stage.
This image depicts near-total loss on the front, upper sides, and crown of the head. These three areas of bare skin or sparse hair have met, creating an overall appearance of baldness.
Hair is gone from the top and front of the head, with just a single remaining strip that runs from one ear, around the back of the head, to the other ear.
Learn more about how doctor measure hair thinning with the Norwood scale at Dr. Yavuz Hair Transplant Clinic. For more information, arrange for a consultation.