Hair loss is a common condition that affects many people. About one-third of the population will experience some degree of hair loss by the time they reach 40 years old. Knowing what is causing your hair loss can help you make lifestyle changes or seek treatment options if needed. That being said, not all hair loss cases are as easily identified as others. Discussed below are 10 different patterns that you can observe regarding hair loss.
The most common pattern of hair loss is often referred to as “shock loss.” This pattern typically results in a receding hairline and thinning on the sides of the head. While it may be difficult to pinpoint what caused this, stress or an illness are known triggers.
This pattern of hair loss is lucky because you can usually cover up the hair loss on top with a short haircut. A receding hairline isn’t always attractive, but it’s fairly easy to manage and not too difficult to get used to. This pattern may be hereditary, with most men experiencing this early in life (the 20s and 30s). A thyroid condition, lack of nutrients, or even a fungal infection can cause it.
If you notice this pattern, go ahead and make an appointment with your doctor or dermatologist to get it checked out. While most cases of shock loss are not serious, it’s good to address any underlying causes that may need treatment.
Most cases of hair loss (around 70%) will start with a receding hairline and thinning on the crown of the head. However, another pattern can occur, known as “diffuse frontal fibrosing alopecia.” This condition causes moderate to severe hair loss covering large areas around the central scalp and forehead. This condition can cause scarring and permanent hair loss in some cases.
This pattern of hair loss is a bit trickier to identify because it usually starts in the crown or vertex areas. Most men will experience some degree of hair loss at the vertex (hairline) starting in their 20s and 30s, but most cases won’t be noticeable until the late 20s onward when they start losing more hair from this area.
Genetics, androgenic alopecia, or chronic traction (often from a ponytail) are causes of this pattern. If you notice this pattern is becoming more prominent each month, and you’re already having hair loss in the vertex region, it’s best to get checked out by your doctor immediately. Remember that genetics play a large role in this type of pattern, but it may indicate having a thyroid condition or an autoimmune disease (such as alopecia areata).
This is another common form of hair loss, but it differs from the first three patterns. Usually occurring after 30, it involves moderate to severe degrees of hair loss throughout the entire scalp (including both sides and back).
Male baldness (called androgenic alopecia), which occurs when a male has elevated male hormones (androgens), is the main cause. While medication can control this condition, it does not go away completely. Because of the degree of hair loss that occurs with this pattern, treatment options are usually better suited to men with less advanced hair loss stages. If you notice these patterns starting around 30 years old or if you’re already balding in the crown region, then male pattern baldness is likely the cause.
Once you’ve identified your hair loss pattern, you can take some steps to stop it. Keep in mind that most treatments will require commitment and patience as you wait for them to work.
Applying lotion to your scalp every day may be all you need. The active ingredient that seems to work for this is minoxidil, used in hair loss products. It does have some side effects but can reduce shedding by about 25% if used correctly. To get the most out of this treatment, apply it to the scalp every night before bed and wash it off in the morning.
A laser comb can help stimulate hair growth by using low-level laser therapy. The most popular brand is the HairMax LaserComb, which is FDA approved. While it’s not a miracle cure, it can help regrow hair or at least slow down the loss process.
Surgery is not as popular as it used to be, but some men opt for hair transplant procedures on the frontal regions of their scalp. Since hair naturally thins in those areas, this can create a more natural look and stop the pattern. Are you wondering how a hair transplant is done? If yes, hair transplantation is done by transferring individual hair follicles from the back of the scalp to balding regions on the front. Do your research to get your hair transplant done at the best hospitals.
In addition to topical applications or ointments, nutritional supplements can also help reduce hair loss. Inositol is a common supplement that benefits hair growth in male and female patients. Other options may work better than inositol for hair loss, but it’s certainly worth a try if you can’t find any relief.
Figuring out your hair loss pattern is key to determining what kind of treatment will work best for you. Itching, pain, and redness may indicate psoriasis or eczema, while specific hair loss patterns could show male pattern baldness or autoimmune disease.
If you’re experiencing severe pain, itching, or redness around your scalp, then get checked out by a doctor to identify the problem. Even if your condition is not serious, it may be possible for topical treatments to help reduce inflammation and increase circulation in the scalp to promote hair growth.
Finally, if you’re experiencing thinning all over your scalp and no other symptoms (no pain, redness, itching), male pattern baldness may be the cause. You can use this article to figure out what pattern you have and find the right treatment.