Balding or alopecia (excessive hair loss) is a prevalent issue. Especially with men, it starts at an early age. However, it’s pretty easy to confuse these symptoms with typical or general hair loss. Sometimes, hair fall can happen pretty much out of stress. At other times, there could be genetic reasons at play.
Balding can be found in both males and females. However, female pattern baldness may vary because women are less likely to go completely bald. Regardless of gender, the common signs of balding include a visible and itchy scalp, developing bald patches at multiple spots on the head, a tingling or burning sensation in the scalp, or any underlying allergies that promote excessive hair loss.
Keeping all the above symptoms in mind, balding doesn’t happen all at once. At first, the signs are subtle and gradually increase with time. So if you’ve been experiencing hair loss that seems out of control, don’t worry! We’ve got you covered.
How to know if you’re balding – Common signs
Apart from the subtle gender-based differences, some common signs prevail in both men and women.
The signs associated with balding have to do with both the scalp and the hair. First things first, the hair loss would be more significant than usual. So if you start losing more than 50 to 100 hair strands each day, this could be the first step towards significant balding.
When hair fall is average, it doesn’t extend to the point of developing bald patches. In other words, you could experience hair fall all over the scalp rather than in particular areas. But with balding, you’ll develop patches which means excessive hair fall in multiple spots.
An itchy scalp can be because of many reasons. It mainly happens because the skin on your head begins to develop flakes. And while dandruff is not typically a sign of male pattern baldness itself, it could act as one of the contributors. For instance, if dandruff gets out of hand, it could lead to excessive hair fall, converting to hair loss and ultimately balding.
Balding directly affects hair volume. The hair no longer appears as thick as it used to be. This goes for the individual hair strands as well as the entire hair volume thinning down. For women, this would be easier to spot if you’re making a ponytail or a bun, and it appears extremely thin and less bouncy.
The crown of the hair is the spot at the back of the head. In men, it’s most common to experience a bald patch at this spot. You’re more likely to feel this while you’re combing your hair and notice above-average hair fall from this area. If you have any doubts, just grab a mirror and place it at the back of your head for a clearer view.
You also want to make sure if it’s a receding hairline or balding.
What does regular hair fall look like? A strand or two here and there, and that’s all. Even when you’re brushing or combing your hair, you will notice hair strands stuck to the comb or brush. But when it comes to balding, hair falls in the form of clumps. This is because there’s a lot of hair breakage from just one spot.
If you’re balding, it’s not just the exterior that’s changing. You’ll feel a strange burn within the layers of your scalp. Now, this isn’t common for all types of balding, but you may get this symptom if you’re suffering from alopecia areata. This type of alopecia is an autoimmune disorder that causes hair to fall out in huge clumps.
When we connect all the above signs, it overall affects the scalp. Your skin will be exposed for most. Note that this sign could be uneven, depending on the spots. For the places where the hair is thinnest and hair loss is highest, the scalp will be more visible than other areas.
All in all, you may only be suffering from minor hair loss if there’s a reaction to a particular hair product. Always keep an eye out for any immediate scalp reaction – this could be a sign of allergy or an underlying disease too. On the other hand, it could act as a booster for balding, regardless of your gender.
Some cases of balding could be more severe than others. Similarly, male and female balding patterns are slightly different from one another. Although there are common signs, females are less likely to go completely bald.
In the case of females, there are usually three types of balding. Let us start from the most major one.
- A prominent portion of the scalp is visible with thinning all over the hair (Type 3)
- The parting in the middle becomes very wide, and the hair around it is the thinnest (Type 2)
- Only a bit of thinning around the parting (Type 1)
Note that although type 1 seems low-key, it could convert into a significant kind. Since balding doesn’t happen all at once, consult your doctor immediately if you’re experiencing the slightest of thinning.
And it’s the same for men. Always approach your doctor to know if you’re balding and get prescriptions accordingly.
Hence, balding or its effects don’t happen all at once. Instead, the symptoms begin to develop over time and affect the hair volume and overall hair health. For instance, you may experience an itchy scalp because of dandruff, which can contribute to excessive hair fall and eventually balding.
Also, since balding affects hair density, it could be challenging for your hair to grow back fast.
Iskra Banović is our seasoned Editor-in-Chief at BlueFashion. She has been steering the website's content and editorial direction since 2013. With a rich background in fashion design, Iskra's expertise spans across fashion, interior design, beauty, lifestyle, travel, and culture.