How Is Hair Loss Measured?

Hair loss is a common problem that affects men and women equally, severity of hair loss varies significantly among the two genders. Men suffer from more severe forms of hair loss and thus exhibit a different hair loss pattern as compared to their female counterparts. This is why measuring hair loss in men and women needs different scales. In order to figure out the right treatment it is necessary that you must be able determine the underlying cause and the extent of your hair loss.

Listed below are two most commonly used standards for measuring hair loss in men and women.


Norwood Scale to Measure Male Pattern Baldness:

Norwood Scale, first introduced by Dr. James Hamilton, is the most agreed upon standard for measuring hair loss in men worldwide. The scale is divided into seven stages of hair loss. If you are struggling with hair loss, it is essential that you have a better understanding of the seven stages of Norwood Scale as it will help you explain your extent of hair loss or degree of baldness on phone to your doctor or physician. It will also protect you against misdiagnosis. You will be able to differentiate between pattern baldness and hair loss caused by any other temporary factor.

  • Norwood Scale 1 – Extremely minimal recession of hair loss that does not require treatment
  • Norwood Scale 2 – Trivial hair loss at the temporal areas and slightly receded hairline
  • Norwood Scale 3 – Initial stage of baldness characterized by notably receded hairline with slight hair thinning on vertex
  • Norwood Scale 4 – Hairline recession becomes more prominent and size of bald patch on the vertex also increases
  • Norwood Scale 5 – Frontal lobe and vertex have notable baldness, with a thin bridge still present to divide the two
  • Norwood Scale 6 – The bridge between hairline and vertex is totally lost but fine hairs are still present on the top
  • Norwood Scale 7 – The most advanced stage of pattern hair loss with a narrow band of hairs present at on the sides of the head and the back of the scalp

Figure out of these 7 stages best reflects your hair loss and share with your doctor. However, you will be needed to visit the surgeon for an in-clinic consultation for best evaluation of your hair loss type and extent.

Ludwig Scale to Measure Female Pattern Baldness:

Patterns of baldness in females are quite different as compared to their male counterparts as the former experience generalized hair thinning all over the scalp, contrary to prominent bald patches the latter suffer from. Some women do exhibit hair loss patterns similar to men’s hair, but that is very rare. Ludwig Scale is used to measure typical female pattern baldness.

  • Type I Hair Loss: Type 1 on Ludwig Scale is marked by hair thinning and recession on the top of the head only, while the hairline remains intact. Type 1 hair loss is often hard to detect.
  • Type II Hair Loss: Type 2 on Ludwig Scale is marked by significant hair shedding and more notable hair thinning. You will notice general decrease in hair volume and the central part of the scalp will start widening. You may need some effective hair loss treatment to prevent any further hair loss.
  • Type III Hair Loss: Type 3 on Ludwig Scale refers to the most extreme type of female pattern baldness. Hair thinning becomes so obvious that it your hairs hardly cover the scalp. While you may still have healthy hair coverage at the back and on the side of the scalp, the top will become notably bare.

Surgeons also use these two standard scales to measure hair loss in their male and female patients respectively. This helps them decide the right course of treatment for each patient.

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