The age at which hair thinning begins can vary significantly. Some people, usually men, may see the first signs of hair loss in their 20s or 30s. For others, hair loss may not begin until middle age or advanced age.
Regardless of the age of onset, early signs of hair loss can be very subtle and difficult to detect. This is especially true for hereditary hair loss, also known as androgenetic alopecia, which is the most common cause of hair loss in men and women. It is very important to recognize the signs of hair loss because the sooner you start treatment, the easier it will be to regrow your hair.
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at these signs so you can identify them and seek help if needed.
What is Normal Hair Loss?
Some hair loss is normal. As part of the hair growth cycle, hair sheds periodically and new hair grows in its place.
The amount of hair loss that occurs due to the normal hair cycle varies from person to person, but it can usually be between 50 and 100 hairs per day. Therefore, you shouldn’t worry too much unless you see a dramatic increase in your normal shedding levels.
What Causes Hair Loss?
It is important not only to recognize the signs of hair loss, but also to know what condition can cause it. The most common condition that causes hair thinning and hair loss is hereditary hair loss, also known as androgenetic alopecia. This type of hair loss is thought to be primarily caused by a person’s genetic makeup, but may be associated with the onset and progression of other medical conditions as well as environmental and lifestyle factors.
Androgenetic alopecia typically begins with mild thinning, making it difficult to spot the early signs of hair loss due to this condition. As it progresses, hair will become thinning and balding in a predictable pattern affecting certain areas of the scalp (hence the name “pattern” hair loss). In men, this pattern primarily involves hair loss at the hairline and crown, eventually progressing to full baldness. The typical pattern for women includes enlargement of the hair portion and more widespread thinning over the entire scalp that does not progress to full baldness.
Some signs of hair loss may indicate that the cause is something other than androgenetic alopecia. These include hair loss, which includes:
- It is sudden and fast.
- It occurs in other parts of your body other than your head.
- It started after a change in diet, medication, or medical treatment.
- It started after a significant trauma or other stressful event.
- Scalp pain is accompanied by irritation, itching, rash/redness or dry, flaky skin.
- It is accompanied by other signs of illness or feeling unwell.
If you notice any of these signs of hair loss, this may not be the result of androgenetic alopecia and you should consult a doctor for diagnosis and treatment advice.
Symptoms of Hair Loss Due to Androgenetic Alopecia
As we discussed earlier, androgenetic alopecia usually starts with mild thinning and progresses gradually, making it difficult to spot the early signs of hair loss due to this condition. However, there are several signs that your hair is thinning due to androgenetic alopecia.
Increased Hair Loss
It may seem obvious, but the most obvious sign of hair loss is an increase in your normal level of hair loss. You can usually easily notice this while washing your hair in the shower, applying hair product, or combing/brushing your hair. Also, watch for increased amounts of hair on your hats, clothes, and pillow after a night’s sleep.
A receding hairline is often one of the first signs of hair loss due to androgenetic alopecia. This applies mostly to men. However, women with pattern hair loss may also experience a receding hairline.
To recognize a receding hairline, look for an increased amount of space at your temples and an increase in the size of your forehead. A great way to determine this is to check old photos and compare them to how you currently look.
Hair Thinning on the Top of the Head
Thinning hair on the top of your head is another symptom of hair loss caused by androgenetic alopecia. In men, this thinning usually begins at the crown, while women may experience an increase in the size of the hair portion and more widespread thinning of the upper scalp.
It can be difficult to notice the thinning on the top of your head because you can’t see your scalp from this angle. However, you may notice that your hair is thinning while washing or styling it. Another early sign of hair loss on the top of your head is a sunburn on your scalp after a long day in the sun.
If you suspect that your hair is thinning on your head, you can ask a friend to take a photo or even get an opinion from your barber or stylist.
Do You See Any Of These Signs? Time to Take Action
The ability to recognize the signs of hair loss is important because the sooner you start treatment, the easier it will be to regrow and maintain the thickness of your hair.
Fortunately, if you’re experiencing hereditary hair loss, there are a number of treatment options, some of which are available without a doctor’s prescription, including medications like minoxidil and low-level laser therapy (LLLT).
LLLT is an especially great treatment for hair loss because it is all-natural, free from drugs, chemicals, surgery, and many of the negative side effects that can be associated with these treatments. Numerous clinical studies has also shown that LLLT can consistently increase hair density in both men and women suffering from hereditary hair loss.
Want to try LLLT for hair loss? Original LaserCap provides prescription strength LLLT to maximize your hair regrowth. LaserCap is also FDA-approved to treat hereditary hair loss in both men and women. Compare our LaserCap models to start your journey to happier, healthier hair!