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The Norwood Scale and Stages of Hair Loss

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Hamilton-Norwood Scale

When it comes to male pattern balding, there is a clear pattern of hair loss that can be measured on a well-known scale, called the Norwood Scale (or Hamilton-Norwood Scale). 

The Norwood Scale categorises hair loss into 7 different stages - whether it be early signs of a receding hairline or total baldness across the scalp. We've broken down these stages to help you track your stage of hair loss and whether it is getting progressively worse or whether your chosen treatment is working.  

If you are aiming to keep your head of hair, then, unlike your bank balance, you want a lower number on the Norwood Scale. The higher the number the more advanced the progression of hair loss. 

The types are as follows:

Norwood Stage 1

No recession of the hairline, with no visible loss of hair to the crown. 

This stage is the baseline categorisation for men that are not experiencing hair loss. There is a small group of men who can maintain this stage for their entire lives. Buggers. 

Norwood Stage 2

The slight recession of the hairline at the temples, with no hair loss at the vertex of the scalp.

Early-onset “Super Mario” - if you are categorised into stage 2, you will see the early signs of the common M-, V- or U-shaped hairline begin to appear.

Norwood Stage 3

Visible and obvious hair loss at the temples and the frontal area of the scalp. The M-, V- or U-shaped hairline that commonly develops in men affected by male pattern baldness is pronounced and easy to see. 

Norwood Stage 3 - Vertex

Hair loss at the crown, or vertex. In addition to the hairline hair loss, you may notice signs of hair loss on your vertex. This is referred to as Norwood Stage 3 Vertex hair loss. 

Norwood Stage 4

Obvious hair loss across the front of the scalp, the temples, and the crown. There is often a small band of hair that runs across the scalp, separating the affected frontal forehead and vertex zones. 

Norwood Stage 5

Significant and obvious hair loss around the front of the scalp, the temples, and the crown. This often resembles a U (or horseshoe) pattern. There is more pronounced hair loss than in Stage 4 and the band of hair separating the frontal forehead area and vertex is noticeably thinner.  

Norwood Stage 6

Significant hair loss at the front of the scalp, the temples, and the crown. The affected frontal forehead and vertex areas of hair loss are joined, with either thinning or total loss of hair on the small band that previously separated them.

Norwood Stage 7

The U (or horseshoe) pattern of hair is all that remains. 

If you are not convinced that you may be losing your hair - we suggest taking a set of reference photos, and check-in every 2 to 3 months to compare whether there is a noticeable difference. Also, it is a good excuse for a little selfie!

If your hair has advanced from one stage to the next, it is a sign that you are losing your hair and should think about acting. 

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