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How To Tell If You’re Balding

Last Updated on February 4, 2022

How To Tell If You’re Balding

Are you worried that you may be losing hair and want to avoid any further hair loss?

If so, you’re in the right place. We’ve all had a look at our heads and wondered if we’re starting to thin around the hairline or whether alopecia areata is starting to show its face.

Well, in this article we’re going to cover the signs of when hair loss occurs and whether it may be permanent or temporary hair loss.

Once you know if you’re suffering from hair loss you can go about finding out the type of hair loss you’re experiencing and then what kind of hair loss treatment can be used.

If you want to know more about treating male pattern baldness and male pattern hair loss in general then you should check out how to prevent balding and what causes balding?

Remember you can always seek professional medical advice too if you’re still unsure on whether you are losing hair as well as how you can better treat hair loss.

Now, let’s jump into the article!

Symptoms Of Hair Loss

Receding Hairline

The most common and well-known sign of hair loss is a receding hairline. Rather than your hair fall out, this will see your hair begin to thin at the temples, creating a more prominent widow’s peak and a hairline that resembles the letter M or a horseshoe.

This can be very prominent in some cases and while it may not lead to permanent hair loss all over your head, it can definitely affect your hair and how it looks depending on the severity of the thinning. This is a common occurrence as men age but doesn’t always happen.

Shedding hair

Discovering a few hairs in your comb, on your pillow, or in the shower drain isn’t necessarily a sign that you’re going bald and is in fact common as hair falling out is a perfectly natural stage of the hair growth cycle. The scalp contains about 100,000 hairs, and we lose about 100 hairs each day so seeing the odd stray isn’t anything to concern yourself with.

But over time, if you notice that you seem to be shedding hair at a higher rate, it could be a warning sign that your hair is permanently thinning or if you’re on particular medications then your hair may fall out in excess.

Hair Thinning On Crown

Like a receding hairline, this is another one of the common early signs of male pattern balding. Hair at the crown of the head becomes sparser until the classic bald spot is evident. It can be hard to tell what this area is like as it’s on the back of your head so get someone to have a look for you or use a hand mirror.

Itchy Scalp

An itchy scalp isn’t a typical sign of male pattern baldness and could be down to a multitude of other reasons, but it can be the sign of other conditions that contribute to hair loss including a buildup of sebum on your scalp, or skin conditions such as folliculitis, psoriasis or seborrheic dermatitis which can be a pain to deal with.

In some cases, frequent scratching can damage hair follicles and encourage excessive hair loss or potentially scalp infections. If you have a recurrent itchy scalp, consulting a dermatologist is your best bet.

Takes Longer To Regrow Lost Hair

One effect of male pattern baldness is that the hair’s growth cycle becomes shorter. The standard growth cycle can last anywhere between two and six years, after which the hair follicle goes dormant and the hair is later shed.

So the maximum length your hair can get is determined by how long your growth cycle lasts and how quickly your hair grows. If you’re noticing that hair takes longer to regrow then you may be experiencing balding. See “how fast does men’s hair grow?” for more info.

Thinning Hair In General

In some cases, balding doesn’t begin at the hairline or crown but develops and advances at a steady rate along a larger area of your scalp or all over your head. This is sometimes referred to as “invisible balding,” due to the hair loss being so gradual and balanced. This type of hair loss can be hard to notice until nearly half the hair is lost. 


As you all probably know, everyone’s hair is a bit different. But anyone who’s been cutting men’s hair for a while has seen it all so if you’re unsure how you’re stacking up, you can always ask your barber if there’s anything you need to worry about.

This is especially useful if you’ve had the same barber for a few years as they can more accurately tell you if they’ve noticed changes and what they would recommend working around them. But any professional is familiar with the signs and will be able to tell you if you’re looking for spare regardless of how long you’ve known them. Plus, they can advise you on the best hairstyles and styling tips for thinning hair. See best men’s hair styling products for thin hair if you want some recommendations.

Photos Appear Different

If you’re unsure if you’re balding and are concerned about it, a quick way to find out is by comparing a new photo of yourself with past photos taken in similar lighting and at a similar angle. That’ll give you a clear idea of any potential changes in your hairline or overall thickness.  

Factors That Can Cause Male Pattern Baldness


With age, most people notice some hair loss because growth slows. At some point, hair follicles stop growing hair, which causes the hair on our scalp to thin. Hair also starts to lose its color and will naturally recede.


Stress can stop your hair from cycling through its stages of growth causing it to enter into the resting phase a lot longer than it needs to which stunts new growth. This can result in a hefty 30% decrease in hair growth.

Hair Styling Products

Using products in excess as well as the process of styling your hair with them can lead to scalp and hair damage. Pulling on your hair and the application of products like hair gel can lead to your hair becoming brittle and even falling out so always take care when choosing and using your products.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can you tell if your losing hair or balding?

If you notice hair thinning, you might be experiencing hair loss. It’s often hard to differentiate hair loss and hair shedding, but if you spot more hair strands on your pillow or comb than usual, then you could consider seeking the advice of a dermatologist.

At what age does balding start?

Hair loss, or alopecia, can start at almost any age as you enter adulthood. You can start losing your hair as early as your late teens and early 20s. But you might have a full head of hair with almost no thinning or balding until well into your 50s and 60s. It all depends on the person.

Can hair grow back after balding?

As we age, some follicles stop producing hair which is sometimes referred to as hereditary hair loss, pattern hair loss, or androgenetic alopecia. This type of hair loss is typically permanent, which means that the hair will not grow back. There are alternatives though such as a hair transplant or wearing wigs.

Can you bald at 16?

While you may feel like you are too young to start losing your hair in your teens, the reality is that hair loss can begin as early as 15 or 16 years old. While it’s uncommon, hair loss in your teens tends to come on gradually, beginning with thinning hair or a receding hairline.

Can you see the scalp through hair?

Usually, if patients can see their scalp through the hair it just means that the hair is thinning. In men, it’s pretty typical for hair thinning to follow standard patterns such as a receding hairline or the thinning of the crown area but in some people, they get sort of a more global general thinning of the hair.

What are the best products for hair regrowth?

Hair regrowth is tricky but there are some quality products out there that many have found helpful in their efforts to prevent hair balding. If you want some of my recommendations then check out my guide to the best men’s hair regrowth.

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