What are the 7 stages of hair loss?

Overview

The Norwood scale helps classify the stages of male pattern baldness on a scale of 1 to 7. People experiencing male pattern baldness tend to lose hair in one of a few specific ways, and the Norwood scale also helps identify the progression of these patterns of hair loss.

Knowing this can help doctors make an accurate diagnosis and identify the best treatment options for each individual. Some doctors may use their own scales, though they tend to be similar to the Norwood scale.

Keep reading to learn more about the stages of the Norwood scale, some treatments for male pattern baldness, and tips on hair health and how to cope with hair loss.

What are the 7 stages of hair loss?

The Norwood scale has seven stages. Each stage measures the severity and pattern of hair loss.

  • Stage 1. No significant hair loss or recession of the hairline.
  • Stage 2. There is a slight recession of the hairline around the temples. This is also known as an adult or mature hairline.
  • Stage 3. The first signs of clinically significant balding appear. The hairline becomes deeply recessed at both temples, resembling an M, U, or V shape. The recessed spots are completely bare or sparsely covered in hair.
  • Stage 3 vertex. The hairline stays at stage 2, but there is significant hair loss on the top of the scalp (the vertex).
  • Stage 4. The hairline recession is more severe than in stage 2, and there is sparse hair or no hair on the vertex. The two areas of hair loss are separated by a band of hair that connects to the hair remaining on the sides of the scalp.
  • Stage 5. The two areas of hair loss are larger than in stage 4. They are still separated, but the band of hair between them is narrower and sparser.
  • Stage 6. The balding areas at the temples join with the balding area at the vertex. The band of hair across the top of the head is gone or sparse.
  • Stage 7. The most severe stage of hair loss, only a band of hair going around the sides of the head remains. This hair is usually not dense and may be fine.
  • Norwood class A. The class A variation of the Norwood scale is a slightly different and less common progression of hair loss. The main differences are that the hairline recedes back uniformly, without leaving an island of hair in the middle, and there is no bald area at the vertex. Instead, the hairline progresses directly from front to back.

What does hair loss look like for each stage?

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