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The Norwood-Hamilton Classification

Hair loss can range anywhere from being a minor annoyance to something that causes great distress in one’s life. When struggling with this, it’s important to know more about the science of hair loss and the options available to treat it. By the age of 35, nearly two-thirds of men in America will have experienced some degree of hair loss and by the age of 50, 85% of men’s hair will be significantly thinned. In order to diagnose and then determine a method for men’s hair restoration, it’s important for professionals to be able to determine the degree of loss someone is currently experiencing. In order to measure the extent of male pattern baldness, the Norwood-Hamilton Scale was created.

Male hair loss tends to happen in a few different patterns, most commonly a receding hairline, on the top back of the head, or general, allover thinning. These various patterns can also be experienced in combination with others, and the scale is used to categorize the degree of the loss. There are 7 stages with various subsets ranging from almost no visible thinning to the most advanced stage of having only a narrow band of hair along the bottom of the scalp.

Here's a brief breakdown:

Stage 1

Little to no hair line recession

Stage 2

Slight triangular recession on the front temporal lobes

2A

Slight straight recession back from the hair line

Stage 3

More noticeable triangular recession

3A

More noticeable straight recession​

3Vertex

Beginning stages of loss at the back of the head, not much recession

Stage 4

More severe triangular recession, some loss on back of head

4A

Front center of hair line is extremely thing, connecting more full hair on sides of head

Stage 5

Receding hair line and loss on the vertex of the head have almost met, but are still separate

5a

Dense hair forms a horseshoe like shape around the bottom of the scalp while top is covered by a very sparse amount of hair

Stage 6

Receding hair line and loss on the vertex have now fully met with hair loss on the side extending farther

Stage 7

Only a narrow band of hair along the bottom of the scalp remains

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