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Surgery Author: Staff Editor Last Updated: Sep 7, 2017 - 10:06:33 PM

Understanding the Stages of Hair Loss and Balding

By Staff Editor
Jan 29, 2014 - 4:18:48 PM

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( - On average, healthy hair grows upwards of one-half inch per month. This growth can be impeded by disease, genetics, and medications. When hair follicles stop growing hair, bald patches become apparent and often lead to a loss of confidence and self-esteem.

As hair grows from a follicle, it grows in three continual phases. The first (Anagen) is the phase involving growth of the hair over a span of two to eight years. Catagen is the second phase and involves the death of the older hair in a span that lasts from two to four weeks. The third (telogen) allows the hair follicle to rest before it starts growing a new hair. As that new hair grows, the dead hair is pushed out of the way, explaining why you shed hairs regularly. In the average person, 10 percent of your hair follicles are at rest on any given day.

When the hair follicle is unhealthy, the cycle stops once the hair is shed. Some medications might help slow hair loss or boost production of new hair, but you must consider the potential side effects when weighing the benefits. Only a hair restoration surgery can help restore hair in areas that are bald or thinning without monthly prescriptions or regular applications of a topical solution.

Male Pattern Hair Loss and the Norwood-Hamilton Scale

Male pattern hair loss affects upwards of 40 million men within the United States. The condition usually runs in families. When you make an appointment with a hair transplant surgeon, you'll probably hear the Norwood-Hamilton Scale used to rate the progression of your baldness. This is a standard method for determining your current hair loss and planning the best strategy to help with natural looking hair transplants.

The Norwood-Hamilton Scale covers seven stages of balding. The first stage is a normal head of hair with no receding hairline. The second stage is divided into two parts. There's the slow progression of hair loss in the temples in the first part, and then in the second part the hair that lies in the center of the scalp also slowly starts receding. By the third stage, most of the hair on the top of the scalp is disappearing and some hair loss may also be apparent on the crown. It is in the third stage that true hair loss is starting.

The hair loss continues on the forehead and crown in stage four. By stage five, the balding that started at the temples and forehead have now met. Stage six hair loss is starting to disappear from the back of the head too, and by stage seven, only the very back and sides of the hairline remain.

Women Are Not Immune

Many women also experience androgenetic alopecia. In female pattern baldness, the pattern of balding differs, so the Ludwig Classification is used instead. With the Ludwig system, hair loss is graded in three grades. In stage one, hair begins thinning on the top of the head, along the natural part. By the second stage, hair loss on the top of the head is noticeable. By the third stage, the crown and top of the head is clearly developing bald spots. As studies show women place more emphasis on their looks, female pattern balding can be crippling to a woman's psyche, and female hair transplant surgery may be essential to rebuilding self-esteem.

To learn about your available options for hair transplants or hair restoration procedures, it's important to talk to a hair transplant surgeon sooner rather than later. Dr. Sheldon Kabaker is a hair restoration surgeon in Oakland, California. He has decades of experience in hair transplants and hairline advancements. Schedule a consultation with the Oakland hair surgeon by calling (510) 451-1116

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