Classifying Men’s Hair Loss on the Norwood Scale

Friday, July 28th, 2017

An estimated 85% of American men will experience significant hair loss or thinning by age 50. While there are numerous causes of hair loss in men, by far the most common is androgenetic alopecia, also called male pattern baldness.

This type of hair loss typically begins with receding at the temples, producing an “M” shaped hairline. The condition generally progresses to balding at the crown, then hair on top of the head is lost so the receding hairline and balding crown meet. Eventually, the only hair left is on the sides and back of the head, forming a horseshoe-shaped pattern.

To help men understand their level of hair loss, many experts rely on the Norwood-Hamilton Scale. It’s the most widely used classification system for men’s hair loss, with seven levels that describe the extent of male pattern baldness.

The seven levels start with Type I, which is minimal, and progress through Type VII, the most severe form of hair loss.

Type I

The hairline shows minimal or no recession. Men at this stage should monitor their hair regularly for any signs of thinning.

Type II

The frontal and temporal regions start to show recession, typically in symmetrical triangular shapes. The initial signs of hair loss are becoming more visible.

Type III

This level of hair loss is considered “cosmetically significant”. The symmetrical hair loss at the temples is more pronounced and these areas may be bare or sparsely covered with hair. At this stage, the hair also begins to thin at the crown.

Type IV

Hair loss in the frontal and temporal regions is more severe than in Type III. Additional thinning is visible in the front central region and thinning at the crown becomes more pronounced. A moderately thin band of hair usually separates the two areas of hair loss.

Type V

At this stage, there is still a separation between hair loss at the crown and hair loss in the front and temporal regions. However, the dividing area is becoming narrower. A “horseshoe” shape pattern of remaining hair is beginning to form.

Type VI

More severe hair loss is clearly visible as the hair separating the crown and hairline areas is nearly gone, with only sparse hair remaining.

Type VII

This is the most severe form of hair loss. There is a complete loss of hair in the front, temporal and crown regions. The horseshoe pattern of hair at the back and sides of the head is all that remains and it may be thinner or less dense than it was previously.

The Norwood-Hamilton scale is a commonly used tool to categorize men’s hair loss, but some men may not fall neatly into one category, or they may be suffering from a different hair loss condition. If you’re wondering where you fall on the scale, schedule a free, private consultation with one of our hair loss experts. Learn more about your hair loss and which of our proven solutions is right for you.