What is the Norwood Scale?

Hair loss caused by male pattern baldness, also known as androgenetic alopecia, doesn’t happen overnight. It is a gradual process that takes a man from a full head of hair to increased shedding, thinning areas, bald patches, and receding hairlines. Understanding and measuring that progression over time is a critical element in developing an effective hair restoration treatment strategy.

Known as the Norwood Scale, this measuring system has been used by hair restoration physicians, researchers, and patients for the past 50 years to provide a reference point for diagnosing the extent of baldness, exploring restoration options, and measuring the effectiveness of treatment. A different metric – the Ludwig Classification – is used to diagnose female hair loss.

The Norwood Scale is comprised of seven stages of baldness, each represented by a standard image and each one more pronounced than the last. From earliest to latest, those stages are:

  • Stage 1. No significant hair loss or receding of the hairline.
  • Stage 2. The hairline is slightly receding around the temples.
  • Stage 3. In this first stage where clinically significant hair loss appears, the hairline becomes deeply recessed at each temple, looking like an M, U, or V shape. The recessed spots are either totally bare or sparsely covered in hair.
  • Stage 3 vertex. The hairline remains at stage 2, but the top of the scalp (the vertex) starts to experience noticeable and significant hair loss.
  • Stage 4. More pronounced hairline recession than in stage 2, plus a sparsity of hair or lack of hair on the vertex. A band of hair that connects to the remaining hair on the sides of the scalp separates the two hair loss areas.
  • Stage 5. Still separated a bit, the two areas of hair loss are larger than they are in stage 4.
  • Stage 6. The balding area at the vertex connects with the balding at the temples, while the thin band of hair across the top of the head is gone or barely there
  • Stage 7. This is the most severe stage of male hair loss, with only a band of hair going around the sides of the head.

When You Notice the First Signs of Hair Loss, Take the First Step Towards Fixing It

For men and women alike, the first step towards addressing hair loss is arranging for a comprehensive evaluation as soon as possible. Early detection, diagnosis, and treatment provide the best chance of restoring your hair — and regaining your confidence.  Schedule an appointment with the Miami Hair & Skin Institute today by calling 305.925.0222. We look forward to assisting you.