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Hair Loss Patterns Are Different For Men & Women

With rare exception, hair loss in both men and women is extremely distressing.  If you are concerned about your hair thinning or receding, it’s essential to understand the pattern of hair loss and explore suitable solutions. In this post, we want to discuss the Norwood-Hamilton Scale for male-pattern baldness and the Ludwig Scale for female hair loss density. By being familiar with these two universal classification references, you will be better equipped when seeking help from your primary care physician or when you meet with a Christoffels stylist.

Male-Pattern Baldness: The Norwood-Hamilton Scale

The Norwood-Hamilton Scale, developed in the 1970s by Dr. O’Tar Norwood, provides an overall classification reference for male-pattern baldness. This widely used reference divides typical men’s hair loss patterns into seven categories. By comparing your own hair pattern to these reference categories, you can more easily identify the stage of hair loss you are experiencing. 

Let’s take a closer look at the different stages:
  • Stage 1: No Significant Hair Loss. At stage one, there is no significant hair loss or recession of the hairline. Hair loss is not evident, and the individual retains a full head of hair.
  • Stage 2: Minimal Hairline Recession. Stage two on the Norwood Scale involves minimal hairline recession, typically characterized by a slight temporal recession or a barely noticeable receding hairline. Hair loss is still relatively mild at this stage.
  • Stage 3: Mild to Moderate Hairline Recession. Norwood stage three marks a more noticeable recession of the hairline, with deep temporal recessions. The hairline may appear slightly thinner, but significant balding is not yet apparent.
  • Stage 4: Further Hairline Recession & Crown Thinning. At stage four, there is an increased hairline recession, along with noticeable crown thinning. The hair loss on the crown of the head becomes more evident, and the overall hair density decreases.
  • Stage 5: Extensive Hairline Recession & Crown Thinning. Norwood stage five represents a significant hairline recession, with a prominent M-shaped pattern on the forehead. The crown area experiences further thinning, and the hair loss becomes more apparent.
  • Stage 6: Severe Hairline Recession and Crown Thinning. At stage six, the hairline recession is severe, with only a narrow band of hair remaining in the front. The crown area is heavily affected, and the individual may have limited hair coverage on the top of the head.
  • Stage 7: Extensive Hair Loss. Stage seven is the most advanced stage of male-pattern baldness. There is extensive hair loss, with only a thin horseshoe-shaped band of hair remaining on the sides and back of the head.

It’s important to note that not every individual will fit precisely within a single Norwood category. Hair loss patterns can vary, and a professional hair restoration specialist can assess your specific situation to provide personalized recommendations ranging from hair loss treatment options to non-surgical men’s hair replacement or hair transplant options.

Female Hair Loss: The Ludwig-Savin Scale

Female hair loss patterns differ from male-pattern baldness. The Ludwig-Savin Scale is commonly used to evaluate female hair loss density. Similar to the Norwood-Hamilton Scale, the Ludwig Scale provides a visual representation of various stages of hair loss. 

Let’s explore the stages outlined in the Ludwig Scale:
  • Stage 1: Minimal Hair Thinning. Stage one of the Ludwig Scale indicates minimal female hair thinning. The individual may notice slight widening of the part line or a slightly decreased hair density at the crown.
  • Stage 2: Moderate Hair Thinning. At stage two, moderate hair thinning becomes more evident. The part line widens further, and the crown area experiences noticeable thinning. Overall, there is a reduction in hair density.
  • Stage 3: Extensive Hair Thinning. Stage three involves extensive hair thinning, with a more significant widening of the part line and noticeable thinning on the crown. The scalp becomes more visible, and the hair density continues to decrease.

To assess overall thinning, the Ludwig-Savin Scale is often used by physicians and hair restoration professionals to evaluate the extent of hair loss in women more accurately.

The Importance of a Hair Restoration Consultation

While understanding the classification patterns of hair loss can provide insight, a consultation with a hair restoration specialist is crucial for an accurate assessment. During the consultation, a thorough examination is undertaken along with an overview of the relative points in your medical history. Consideration will also be given to the prevalence of hair loss in your family, as genetic factors can contribute to androgenetic alopecia and other forms of female hair loss.

Based on the initial assessment, your hair restoration specialist can recommend suitable solutions tailored to your specific needs. These solutions may include both surgical and non-surgical options. It’s essential to consult with a qualified professional to explore the most appropriate approach for your hair restoration journey.

Contacting a Hair Restoration Specialist

If you have identified your hair loss pattern based on the Norwood-Hamilton Scale or the Ludwig Scale, it’s time to take the next step. Contacting a hair restoration specialist will allow you to discuss your concerns and explore potential treatment options. The specialist will provide personalized recommendations based on your unique situation.

Regardless of where you live, don’t let hair loss diminish your confidence and self-esteem. Reach out to a hair restoration specialist today to begin your journey toward restoring a fuller, more vibrant head of hair.

Blog courtesy of Transitions Hair Loss Centers.


a portrait of Sara Tims for Christoffels Hair Restoration in Sioux Falls, SD

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