It becomes more common the older you get: hair loss. Hair loss can take up to 25 years, and you don’t have to resign yourself to baldness. If your hair is falling out, learning about male pattern baldness stages can be helpful.
Arm yourself with knowledge. Find out more about what causes baldness, and what you can do to slow down the process and to jump-start hair regrowth. Plus, try one of these DIY hair growth remedies.
Causes of Baldness
Many factors can cause your hair to fall out. Some of these factors are within your control; others aren’t. If you can identify why you’re going bald, you may be able to make lifestyle changes to curb this change.
- Hair growth begins with the anagen phase, a period of growth. Next comes the catagen phase, when the hair shaft separates from the follicle. Finally, in the telogen phase, your hair “rests” until it falls out and a new cycle begins. Baldness is often caused by interruptions to this cycle.1
- Dihydrotestosterone, or DHT, is a hormone that your body produces naturally. It’s a byproduct of the sex hormone testosterone.2 When your DHT levels are high, hair loss can occur. A diet high in sugar can trigger the production of excess DHT.3
- Telogen effluvium happens when stress triggers rapid hair loss. Hair stops growing, then it enters the telogen step of its growth cycle too early. Telogen effluvium can occur after a major trauma. It can also happen after stressful situations like high fevers, childbirth, or highly restrictive diets.4
- Anagen effluvium involves diffuse hair thinning and rapid hair loss. This most often occurs as a side-effect from certain medications. Usually, the medications that lead to this hair loss are used to treat serious diseases. Never stop taking your medication without first talking to your doctor.5
- Genetics is a common culprit that leads to you losing your hair. Men are more susceptible to genetic hair loss. But more than half of women will also lose some or all their hair during their life.6
Know the type of hair loss you’re experiencing. Once you do, you can take the right steps to care for your male-pattern baldness.
Understand Your Alopecia
Alopecia can be caused by many factors. It presents itself in several different ways. If you have a condition that leads to hair loss, it could also be classified as a form of alopecia.
- Alopecia is a condition in which your immune system attacks your hair follicles. It’s not the same thing as male pattern baldness, and it can affect men or women. A doctor can tell you if your hair loss is due to alopecia.7
- Androgenetic alopecia is hair loss that may occur in men or women. When men are affected, this condition is sometimes called male-pattern hair loss. Women can also experience female-pattern hair loss.8
- Alopecia areata refers to the loss of hair that usually occurs in circular patches.9
- Alopecia totalis is a more severe form of alopecia. With this condition, you lose all your scalp hair, but you still keep your eyelashes and other body hair.10
- Alopecia universalis is hair loss over your entire body. This is a rare form of alopecia, and only about five percent of all people will experience it.11
Male pattern baldness can sometimes begin as alopecia areata, such as a bald spot on the crown of the head. It then progress to alopecia totalis. Other times, the baldness may stop before it reaches the totalis stage.
Early Signs of Male Pattern Baldness
You may still have a full head of hair, but that doesn’t mean you’re not already exhibiting some early signs of balding.
- It’s normal to shed up to 100 strands of hair per day. Shedding a small, regular amount of hair is not, on its own, an early sign of male pattern baldness.12
- Thinning of hair is an early sign of hair loss for both men and women. It is different from shedding because of the levels of hair loss. Balding men can tell the difference because thinning hair is more noticeable and pronounced.13
- A receding hairline is often one of the first signs of hair loss.14
- Male pattern baldness often progresses slowly. This means that you don’t need to check your hairline every single day for the signs of hair loss. But this might mean you lose hair so gradually, you don’t notice the earliest signs of what’s going on.15
- Male pattern baldness usually begins at your temples or the crown of your head. If you notice hair loss on other parts of your scalp or body, your balding may have another cause. A doctor or dermatologist can tell you the root cause of your hair loss.16
If these signs apply to you, seek a treatment option. Otherwise, you might progress to a later stage of male pattern baldness. Treatments are most effective if your hair loss is still in its early stages, like diffuse thinning or a receding hairline.
7 Stages of Male Pattern Baldness
Male pattern baldness gets its name because your hair loss tends to follow the same pattern. There are seven stages, or levels of baldness, that almost every person will go through. This is the normal balding process from a full head of hair to fully bald.
- Stage One: Your normal hair before hair loss ensues. You are not yet exhibiting any of the early signs of hair loss.
- Stage Two: Two symmetrical triangles of thinning hair appear on either side of your scalp. You may experience a slightly receding hairline.
- Stage Three: Hair within those triangles is entirely lost. Your hairline now resembles an “M”-shape. A bald spot may also appear on the top or back of your head at this stage.
- Stage Four: Your hairline continues receding and your bald spot may grow. The bald spot and hairline are still separated from one another by a strip of hair along the top of your head.
- Stage Five: Your hairline recession grows closer to your bald spot. They still don’t touch, but the patch of hair that separates them is very thin.
- Stage Six: Your hairline and the bald spot now touch. Your remaining hair forms a circle around your head from ear to ear.
- Stage Seven: At this final stage, the only hair that remains is a thin band around the bottom back and sides of your head. Whatever hair remains may be thin.17
These male pattern hair loss stages are very common. Almost every man who experiences hair thinning will move through these levels. But you can take steps to halt your hair loss. Women also undergo a standard hair loss pattern, but their stages are different from those of men.
Hair Thinning: Non-Surgical Hair Restoration Techniques that Work
Hair loss is natural, but that doesn’t mean it’s inevitable. Before considering something as drastic as a surgical hair transplant, try making these simple lifestyle changes to promote the appearance of fuller, thicker hair.
- Some common medications can stimulate hair to regrow. Medicine is not a permanent cure for baldness. Once you stop using it, your hair will fall out again. Always research any hair loss treatment product before you try it.18
- If your hair loss is caused by a poor diet, you can change how you eat. Try to eat fewer harmful foods, like sugar. Eat more salmon, eggs, and avocados to boost hair growth. Dietary choices won’t halt the progress of hereditary hair loss.19
- Stress hair loss won’t start until weeks or months after the initial stressful situation. If you’re no longer severely stressed, your hair loss will stop on its own.20 Otherwise, explore techniques like mild exercise or yoga. These will keep your stress levels in check.21
Hair transplant surgery is an extreme solution. Luckily there are several hair restoration treatments that can restore your hair. You don’t need to go under the knife. Always do your research on which product will be most effective to stimulate hair growth.
Hair Loss FAQs
Now, you’ve learned the basics about alopecia and the stages of male pattern baldness. If you still find yourself with questions about hair loss, you can find some answers below.
Q: What is hair transplantation?
A: During the early hair loss stages, a doctor can remove hair from another part of your head. They will surgically transplant it onto a bald patch of the skull. This surgery has minimal risks of side-effects, but it can lead to scarring and may look unnatural.22
Q: Does hair type make you more or less likely to lose your hair?
A: Hair loss is common for all hair types. In some cases, such as with hair loss in women, hair loss is tracked by checking how wide your part is. Your type of hair may hide the early signs of hair loss.23
Q: If my father never went bald, does that mean I’ll never experience hair loss?
A: The hair loss gene can be passed on by either your biological father or your biological mother. That means, even if your father never went bald, you could still inherit the gene. You are at risk if either of your grandfathers were balding men.24
Q: Does hair loss have any medical dangers or side-effects?
A: Hair loss is tied to how your body processes the hormone testosterone. That means hair loss can sometimes suggest you are at a higher risk of other serious diseases. Also, you may feel stress related to your changing appearance.25
Q: Am I too young to experience hair loss?
A: While hair loss is more common the older you get, it’s not unheard of for teenagers and young men to experience it. Generally, your odds of experiencing hair loss are about the same as your age. Thirty percent of men will experience hair loss by the age of 30, 50% by age 50, and 80% by the age of 70.26
For more information about hair loss, speak to your doctor or dermatologist. They can tell you what options are available.
Don’t Lose Your Cool When You Lose Your Hair
Male pattern hair loss may trigger stress or other negative emotions. This is understandable. But you can take matters into your own hands. Find effective treatments to prevent the stages of male pattern baldness from progressing.
Treatments are usually most effective at the first sign of thinning hair. Act as soon as you notice a receding hairline. Even if your baldness has progressed, there may still be hope. Protect your hair’s future with this knowledge about the stages of male pattern baldness.
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