Hamilton and Norwood developed a scale for male hair loss (developed by Hamilton in the 1950’s then updated by Norwood in the 1970’s), in 1977 Ludwig developed a similar scale for female pattern baldness.
Although there are other scales for both MPHL and female pattern hair loss (FPHL), these two are the most popular among practitioners and researchers when attempting to classify hair loss.
The Hamilton-Norwood scale: The Hamilton-Norwood scale (see below) has seven types of classifications and several stages within those classifications. For example, within stage 5 there are 3 levels of progression including 5, 5A, and 5V, which show variations on a receding hairline with hair loss also in the crown of a man’s head. Androgenetic alopecia, or MPHL, can begin for some men even in their teens and continue on throughout their life. The rate and onset of androgentic alopecia is highly individualized. However, it is widely accepted that there are genetic determinants for hair loss and the best indicator of a man’s potential for hair loss is in his family history.
The Ludwig scale: The Ludwig scale(see bottom image) has three primary classifications that display thinning hair, diffuse hair loss, as well as frontal hairline recession. Each image in the scale display a woman’s head with her hair parted down the middle. As an example, images I-1 through I-4 show the progression as a woman goes from no hair loss to increasingly thinning hair as indicated by a widening part. Further along in the scale, the hair loss becomes increasingly drastic. As compared to male hair loss, FPHL is not as wildly expected or accepted in society. Thus, women affected by androgentic alopecia can experience emotional and psychological distress over their condition. Unlike men, women cannot shave their heads. This scale helps to normalize the condition and provide a point from which to discuss treatment with professionals in the field of hair restoration, dermatology, and other medical professions.
Male hair loss vs. Female hair loss… The comparison: The same process of miniaturization of hair follicles and development of terminal follicles is present for both male and female pattern hair loss. Many, but not all, treatment options are comparable for men and women including medications that contain androgen enhancers, hair replacement accessories, and surgical options. Though there are similarities between male pattern hair loss and female androgenic alopecia, the primary differences are that women tend toward early detection and thus early treatment.
- Males have a higher rate of progression and earlier average age of onset.
- There is lower percentage of women affected by female pattern hair loss compared to the percentage of men affected.
- The patterns themselves are different as displayed in the two scales.
Research continues to be performed on both male and female and androgenic alopecia. For now, the best way to combat it is through early detection. Laser hair therapy is an excellent treatment option. Treatment options are more effective and available when you begin early.
The best thing is to come in for a hair and scalp evaluation. International Hair Restoration Systems can help you determine which treatment options might be best for you. You can also learn about hair restoration alternatives to help you look and feel like you never lost your hair.