Early Signs of Balding – How To Treat?

If you are seeking out information about the early signs of balding, it’s very likely that you believe you are experiencing the beginning stages of male pattern baldness (MPB) yourself.

There are options for early signs of balding

While it can be alarming and even cause anxiety to note that you seem to be losing your hair, take heart! There are many ways to keep the hair you have and successfully address hair loss, solutions that were unthinkable even a few decades ago.

Furthermore, the earlier you notice your hair loss and decide to do something to maintain the hair you have, the better the eventual outcome. So give yourself a pat on the back for being proactive, and for educating yourself on this topic.

Balding is a process

Nobody goes to bed with a full head of hair and wakes up bald in the morning. Like most signs of aging, it is a slow process that happens over the course of months, years and decades. And here’s a stunning revelation: by the time the early signs of balding become visible, you have already lost approximately 50% of your hair.

Temples and crown

The first thing you will want to do (and you may have already done this) is look in a mirror and pull back the hair from your temple areas. Do you perceive a “V” pattern of scalp beginning to show where the hairline used to be? If so this is a sure sign that you’re experiencing early signs of balding. At this point, you may be at a 2 or 2A on the Norwood Scale, which is a classification system that illustrates progressive hair loss patterns in males.

Next, take a hand-held mirror and hold it above the head, so that the crown reflects in the mirror in front of you. Can you perceive any scalp visible at the crown? If so, the extent of your hair loss has perhaps progressed to a Norwood 3V.

At this point, the best course of action is to come into the clinic for a confidential consultation because the sooner you begin hair loss prevention medical therapies such as Rogaine and Finasteride, the more hair you will be able to keep the rest of your life.

Get the picture

Another way to perceive early signs of balding is to compare photos of yourself that were taken a couple of years apart. Are your temples more visible? Does there seem to be more diffuse general thinning? Keep in mind that not all men who experience MPB begin losing their hair at the hairline. If your temples are intact but you can see diffuse thinning, chances are high you are experiencing MPB.

You might also try this exercise:

Get a photo of yourself that was taken a couple of years ago in a specific spot indoors. Such factors as wind, water and lighting can greatly affect the appearance of hair, therefore try to obtain a photo indoors, in natural, non-fluorescent light.

Then replicate the conditions as closely as possible and take a new photo. Can you see any signs of thinning and/or temple recession? If so your journey through male pattern baldness has almost certainly commenced.

Repeat this exercise every few months, throwing in shots from different angles, such as photos of the crown as well. By doing so you will be documenting your hair loss as accurately as one can in a non-scientific setting.

One way not to tell if you will go bald

When men begin to lose their hair, they often look to the men on both sides of the family for indications about their follicular future. However, there is no way to tell if you will follow your bald maternal grandfather or paternal uncle down the path of hair loss. If anyone on either side of the family has hair loss you are at risk.

The genetics of MPB is complex: MPB can skip generations, and even skip brothers within a generation. Both the maternal and paternal genes are responsible, with slightly more weight on the maternal side. Read more about the genetics behind male pattern baldness.

My Early Signs of Balding are undeniable. What now?

First of all, don’t panic when you see hairs in your brush or the shower drain—it’s actually completely normal to lose between 80-100 hairs a day, because hair grows in cycles, at the end of which the hair falls out. Having said that, it’s time to take action to prevent further permanent hair loss.

A very effective treatment is to block dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which is the hormone responsible for male pattern baldness. Taking a daily dose of finasteride, in pill form, sold under the brand names Propecia® and Proscar®, has been clinically proven to re-grow hair in 65% of men and slow hair loss in virtually all patients.

Minoxidil, sold under the brand name Rogaine®, stimulates inactive follicles and has also been proven in clinical trials to halt hair loss and even regrow hair. This is typically applied via either liquid or foam.

Nizoral® 2% shampoo is available only by prescription for men and is topically applied. Clinical trials found that about 40% of men who used the product on a daily basis experienced some regrowth of hair.

A regimen of all three of these can effectively halt hair loss to a large degree in most men, and can even cause hair to regrow, although this is far from guaranteed.

About Brandon Ross MD