Determining the Degree of Hair Loss with Hamilton-Norwood Scale

The rate at which men suffer from hair loss is very individualized. A lot of men may lose their hair during their early twenties. Others may exhibit signs of hair thinning after their fifties, only to have an advance degree of hair loss problem within a span of one to two years.

For men who are genetically predisposed to hair loss, it is crucial to understand just how far your condition has progressed. Why? This is in order to know what kind of treatment is suitable or best to prevent and stop the onset of your hair loss condition. A tool referred to as the Hamilton–Norwood scale, developed by Dr. James Hamilton and Dr. O’Tar Norwood, aids in classifying the different ways pattern baldness occurs in men.  This standard scale of measurement gives a comparative assessment on the stages of male pattern baldness.

This chart serves a guide to determine how advanced the hair loss is, using various stages ranging from I to VII. The higher is the level, the more pronounced is the male pattern baldness.

Primary Classifications of Hair Loss: Anterior versus Vertex

In the Hamilton-Norwood Scale, the pattern of baldness in men is categorized into two main types: the anterior and the vertex. The anterior exhibits a receding hairline at the front area, which is temples, while the vertex is characterized with a receding hair line on the back portion known as the crown area of the head.

In stages 1 and 2, the hair loss or hair thinning condition is considered mild. These stages show a minor recession of the hairline and the central front part of the scalp becomes thinner. During these stages, the hair thinning and hair loss condition can still be prevented and hair regrowth is still possible. With that, early treatment is recommended in order to hamper the progression of the hair loss condition.

In stages 3 to 4, the hair loss is clearly noticeable and the hairline becomes deeper compared to stages 1 and 2. These stages are said to be the early phases of male pattern baldness. This is a crucial moment since the bald spot grows larger; hence, more aggressive actions are needed to prevent its onset and to regrowth healthier hair strands. Without the treatment, the hair loss condition may worsen.

In stages 5 to 7, the hair loss is considered severe. During these stages, the hair will become finer and thinner, and its quality is usually weak. Any type of hair loss treatment would not be effective. However, hair restoration procedures like hair transplantation and non-surgical hair replacement using hair systems are possible.

Bottom Line, determining the degree of hair loss is vital in order to prevent the worsening of the hair loss and hair thinning problem. Always bear in mind that—an ounce of prevention is always better that a ton of cure.