Tag Archive for: receding hairline

Signs of Balding and What to Look For

For both men and women, hair changes the older they become. Most adults understand that some hair loss is inevitable with age. But when it begins to occur, spotting the signs of hair loss and balding can still be tricky. Detecting the signs of balding is essential because early intervention is the key to successful hair loss treatment. 

What Are the Early Signs of Hair Loss? 

According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, about 50% of men and women will experience hair loss in their lifetime. And although hair loss occurs in more men than women, the emotional impact of hair loss affects both equally. Because emotions can affect how each person faces hair loss, becoming familiar with the signs can help individuals approach the experience objectively and sensibly. 

Here are a few signs to look for if you suspect you’re experiencing hair loss: 

Sunburns on Your Scalp

Like the skin on the rest of the body, scalp tissue is vulnerable to sunburns. Fortunately, a full head of hair offers excellent protection against the sun’s harsh rays. Thick hair typically provides enough sun protection to keep the scalp from sunburning. The more hair thins, however, the less cover there is to protect the scalp. Sunburns on the scalp develop when there isn’t enough hair to sufficiently shield the area from direct sunlight. If your scalp is typically not sensitive to sunlight, but you find that scalp sunburns are occurring more frequently – you may be experiencing balding or profuse hair loss.  (01)

A Receding Hairline

A receding hairline can be tricky to spot if hair loss occurs gradually. The process happens bit by bit, making it hard to determine whether a receding hairline is more about lighting and angles and less about actual hair loss. Before deciding your hairline is receding, become familiar with what kind of hairline you have. 

    • Low hairline. Low hairlines are closer to the brow line, with a smaller forehead space. A receding hairline is more challenging to spot with low hairlines because they are less noticeable. 
    • Middle hairline. Middle hairlines are what most people would consider a “normal” hairline. These hairlines are set toward the upper-middle portion of the forehead. A receding hairline typically appears as an M-shape with a middle hairline, with the hairline receding further up on the sides. 
    • High hairline. High hairlines start at the crown, making the forehead space appear larger. A high hairline may seem as if the hairline is already receding, although it simply is a person’s inherited appearance. 
    • Straight-lined. Straight-lined hairlines don’t follow the natural curvature of the head. Instead, the hairline flows straight across the forehead, with sharp 90-degree angles on either side. Some men may style their hair this way, or it can be an inherited trait. A receding hairline may create a crooked hairline where one was typically straight, making it easier to spot. 
  • Triangular hairline. Triangular hairlines start low at the temples and reach a high point in the center. Receding hairlines may be more apparent on triangular hairlines because of how low the hairline typically begins at the sides.
  • Uneven hairline. Uneven hairlines are common because most hairlines aren’t perfectly shaped or symmetric. Uneven hairlines can also result from excessive hairstyling or tight headwear, making receding hairlines difficult to detect. 

Men, in particular, are prone to a hairline that recedes when they start balding. For example, one of the most common signs of androgenetic alopecia, also known as male pattern baldness, is a receding hairline. Anyone wanting to check their hairline for signs of balding or hair loss should first familiarize themselves with their typical hairline. Taking periodic photographs can give you a baseline for comparison. 

A Bad Hair Day, Every Day

Are you noticing that your hair won’t fall in the same hairstyle you’ve worn for years? If you see that your hair is tougher to manage or doesn’t look the same way it used to, it may be a sign of hair loss or balding. Keep in mind that the weather, new hair products, or hard water can affect your hairstyle. However, if you’re struggling to shape your hair into its typical “look,” it might be because you’re working with less hair. Hair loss can influence how your hair flows and falls, changing how your hair appears in the morning or when styled. 

A Larger Crown Area

In men with androgenetic alopecia and females with female pattern baldness, balding may start at the crown. Hair follicles become sensitive to dihydrotestosterone (DHT), a by-product of the hormone testosterone, resulting in thinning hair, particularly in the crown area. Central centrifugal cicatricial alopecia (CCCA) is another type of hair loss that begins at the top of the head or the crown as an expanding bald area. (02)

Unfortunately, the crown area is probably not something most people see, making it hard to assess for changes. If you’re concerned about balding, it’s a good idea to become familiar with your crown area. Use two mirrors to get a good look at the crown of your head or enlist the help of another person. If you notice more scalp showing through than usual – or there’s an obvious gap that’s visible to others – then you may be experiencing balding or hair loss. 

More Stray Hairs Everywhere

Just like animals, humans shed their hair naturally each day. According to the American Academy of Dermatology Association (AADA), humans shed about 50 to 100 hairs daily. (03) Keep that number in mind when evaluating the stray hairs you see in the shower drain or on your pillowcase! 

In some instances, however, humans shed more hair than usual. Telogen effluvium, for example, occurs when stress or illness causes the temporary shedding of an excessive amount of hair.  Furthermore, women experiencing female pattern baldness may need to rely on this sign of balding (excessive stray hairs) more than others. 

Unlike men, women don’t typically lose all their hair or become bald in one spot. For women, severe hair loss is generally scattered throughout the head. Their crowns and hairline may remain the same, though the hair cover in these areas may be lighter. Because of this, women may need to rely on spotting hair loss by keeping tabs on the number of stray hairs they find instead. (03

Unreliable Signs of Balding

Often mistaken for definitive signs of balding, the following lead people to believe they are balding but are usually not connected to any actual hair loss. 

  • Hair that appears thin when wet. After a shower or swim, hair can look stringy, and your scalp might appear more exposed. This is typical for wet hair and not a sign of hair loss. 
  • An itchy, flaky scalp. Some people associate an itchy scalp with hair loss. In most cases, however, an itchy scalp is due to something easier to treat — like dandruff or eczema. 

It Looks Like I’m Balding. Now what? 

If you spot signs that you’re losing an excessive amount of hair or going bald, seek advice from a doctor right away. A thorough evaluation, whether in person or online, can determine whether you’re experiencing typical hair shedding or if you’re going bald. An expert can ease your fears by answering your questions and finding effective interventions. Treating hair loss as quickly as possible can keep you from losing more hair in the long run. 

At Happy Head, we schedule customer consultations with a board-certified dermatologist. Our doctors work with you to determine whether you’re a good candidate for our customizable topical hair loss medication. Want more information?  Start a free consultation now.

 

Resources:

(01) https://www.aafp.org/pubs/afp/issues/2009/0815/p356.html

(02) https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/hair-loss/types

(03) https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/hair-loss/insider/shedding

Do you find Hair on Your Pillow or in the Drain?

It starts with a few hairs on your pillow. Then, while you’re in the shower, you notice a few more hairs than usual flowing into the drain. Once these incidents occur more often, you start to ask yourself the difficult question, “Am I going bald?” 

It’s a tough question to come to terms with, but one that many people eventually find themselves wondering. 

You may be going bald. Or you might not. Whatever the case, it’s better to face the question and find the answer now than to wait it out. Because if you are going bald, you need immediate attention to slow— or stop— the process. 

Four Signs of Hair Loss

About 25% of men have experienced hair loss by the age of 21. By age 50, about 50% of all the men have had some level of hair loss. Women are not immune to losing their hair, either, with about 40% of women experiencing hair loss within their lifetime. So, when it comes to going bald, you’re not alone. (01, 02)

Hair loss happens to many people and there are steps you can take to address the issue. But before you seek out treatments for possible balding, however, you should evaluate whether or not you’re losing hair. 

Here are four signs that may be going bald.

1. Gradual Loss of Hair

Sometimes, hair loss occurs suddenly. In rare instances, a physical or emotional trigger can loosen hair and cause large chunks of hair to fall out. Called telogen effluvium, this type of hair loss develops when scalp hair follicles lose their hair due to a shock (stress, illness, medication, or environmental factor). Hair follicles are most susceptible to this type of hair loss while in a resting state called telogen. 

Although the condition can still cause feelings of panic about losing hair, most instances of telogen effluvium are temporary. Gradual hair loss, however, is something to be concerned about as it can be a sign of going bald. According to the Mayo Clinic, hereditary hair loss is the most common cause of baldness, and it happens slowly over time. Unlike telogen effluvium, hereditary hair loss is permanent.  (03)

2. Developing a Receding Hairline

One of the most common types of hereditary hair loss is male pattern baldness, and the hallmark sign of male pattern baldness is a receding hairline. (04) Because a receding hairline occurs incrementally, it’s a sign that’s easy to ignore or overlook. The following are the most common signs of a receding hairline: 

  • You notice your forehead looks larger than usual. 
  • Your hairline begins to make an “M” shape. 
  • The temple area of your hairline appears thinner than before. 

A receding hairline can happen due to headwear. Tight-fitting headwear like baseball caps and headbands may encourage loss of hair at the hairline by restricting blood flow and through repeated motions (taking the hat on and off). In some cases, men with male pattern baldness may attribute a receding hairline to their hats rather than a hair condition. So, if you notice your hairline is receding, you may be experiencing hair loss. 

3. The Appearance of Random Bald Spots

Have you noticed bald spots or sparse areas that weren’t there before? Patchy, thinning hair and random bald spots may indicate the start of male pattern baldness or a condition called alopecia areata (03). With alopecia areata, an autoimmune disorder, hair falls out in round patchy areas or a band-like pattern around the head. Alopecia areata may also affect facial hair – creating small bald patches in the beard area or eyebrows. 

Another condition that begins with bald spots is hereditary baldness. Although hereditary baldness usually starts with a receding hairline, the condition can also begin with an expanding crown. Furthermore, women who experience female pattern baldness typically see different signs than men with male pattern baldness. (05)

A few of these signs are:

  • Thinning at the crown or hairline. 
  • Widening of the center part in a Christmas-tree pattern. 
  • Front hairline typically remains unaltered. 

Compared with male pattern baldness, hair loss associated with female pattern baldness doesn’t usually progress to full hair loss. Women typically keep most of their hair. Despite this, any hair loss can still be very distressing for women and may require treatment. 

4. Your Hair Isn’t Growing

According to the Academy of Dermatology, hair at the top of your head grows at an average rate of about six inches every year. This means that you can expect about a half-inch of growth every month. 

Your grows in three stages: (06)

  • Anagen Phase: Active growth lasting about 2 to 8 years. 
  • Catagen Phase: Hair halts its growth, lasting about 4 to 6 weeks. 
  • Telogen Phase: Resting phase, then hair falls out of the follicle, lasts about 2 to 3 months. 

Only about 5-10 percent of your hair is in the telogen phase at any given time. In contrast, most of your hair is in its growth phase. Your hair’s rate of growth depends on your age, health, genetics, and environmental factors. 

If your hair is thinning and you notice your hair’s growth is slowing, however, it may be because you have less hair than before. As you lose hair, you have less hair in the growth phase. The reduction in hair may make it appear as though your hair is growing more slowly. 

How Likely are You to Go Bald?

People who are experiencing hair loss often want to know when and if they’ll go bald. Unfortunately, there’s no way to predict exactly if and when you will lose all your hair. Genetics plays a significant role in determining how much hair you’ll lose over time. Other factors, like stress, nutrition, and your health also affect whether or not you might lose your hair. 

There’s no way to predict when you’ll go bald. You can, however, look at your family history. Genes are the primary factor that causes female and male pattern baldness. Also, women are much less likely to lose all of their hair when compared to men. 

While researchers still have much to learn when it comes to hereditary baldness, its cause is thought to be polygenic – involving two or more genes. A few genes for male pattern baldness are thought to exist in the “X” chromosome (07), the chromosome inherited through a male’s mother. A 2017 literature review, however, also found 63 genes for male pattern baldness that exists in the “Y” chromosome inherited from a father (08). 

These studies indicate that  interplay between genes may be what leads to inherited hair loss. If you’re wondering if you’ll go bald, look at your family. 

What You Should Do if You Think You’re Going Bald

There’s no timeline for how long it takes to lose all your hair. But if you really are going bald, it won’t happen overnight. Losing all your hair is a gradual process that  takes years or decades. In spite of this, you should intervene as soon as you suspect you’re losing your hair. Why? Because the sooner you start managing your hair loss the better the results will be. 
Think you’re going bald? Taking steps as quickly as possible to protect your hair and scalp can lead to improved hair retention. Whether managing hair loss means changing your lifestyle habits or taking a prescription-grade treatment for hair loss like Happy Head, quick intervention means keeping more of your hair.

Resources:

(01) https://health.clevelandclinic.org/why-do-men-go-bald-and-is-there-anything-you-can-really-do-about-it/

(02) https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/292492

(03) https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hair-loss/symptoms-causes/syc-20372926

(04) https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/001177.htm

(05) https://www.mountsinai.org/health-library/diseases-conditions/female-pattern-baldness

(06) https://www.aad.org/public/kids/hair/how-hair-grows

(07) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5308812/(08) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28272467/