Hair loss, which is also known as alopecia, can start at pretty much any age when you become an adult. You can start losing your hair as early in life as a late teenager or in your early 20s.
You could also have a completely full head of hair with nearly no balding or thinning will into your 60s. It differs from person to person, but in general, the older you get, the more likely you are to start seeing signs of balding.
Let’s look at some of the more obvious signs and how to treat them.
Signs of Balding
There are a number of things that doctors will do and use to determine whether or not you are balding.
Balding for men is determined using the Hamilton-Norwood system of classification. It is a system that recognizes two possible hair loss patterns that can be seen.
Hair can start thinning at the temples and near the top of the back of your head, which is known as the vertex or crown. Your hairline could also begin to thin and move back, or the hair on the top of your head could start thinning.
One of the most common signs of balding in men is a receding hairline, which forms an M shape as the two sides recede quicker than the middle of the scalp.
Balding in women can start anywhere between 12 and 40 years old. The signs of balding in women are classified with the Ludwig system, which identifies two main kinds of balding.
Thinning on top can occur, and you’ll notice that the hair on top of your head will thin, but not at the sides. A widening of the part on top of your head is also common, as well as thinning across the entire head.
Options for Treatment
After hair loss has begun, it is quite challenging to grow the hair back. Thankfully, there are some options that can help you avoid losing any more hair and help slow the thinning process down.
This is a medication for women that can be prescribed for use off-label. It works by binding to receptors for the androgen hormones found throughout the body, and keeping certain androgens, like testosterone, balanced, and prevent further imbalances.
This is an over-the-counter medication that is used by rubbing it onto the scalp on a regular basis. After some time, you will notice that your hair loss slows dramatically.
This is a medical procedure that involves using hair taken from one area and is transplanted to the area or areas on your head that are balding.
Some dermatologists can recommend you take special, compounded hair topicals that generally contain a small portion of topical retinoid, which can help slow and prevent the hair loss process.
Should You See a Doctor?
If you want to do something about your thinning hair or receding hairline, you should see a doctor. The best time to talk to a doctor is when you notice the early signs of balding, especially if you notice your hair is falling out in the bath or shower.
One of the easiest ways to determine whether you have been losing hair is to compare photos of yourself that were taken a few years apart. If you’re able to see a change in the thickness of your hair or hairline, you should consider making an appointment with your doctor.
Seeing a hair loss doctor can also be useful if you haven’t noticed any of the common signs of balding, but still want to be prepared for if and when you start experiencing hair loss.
Your doctor will generally prescribe a treatment based on the severity of your hair loss. If your hair is not thinning, they might give you something to help prevent it.
Balding is a completely natural part of life, and for most of us, it’s inevitable. You can do a lot to keep your hair as healthy as possible and keep it looking how you want it to, even when it starts to thin.