Diagnose Yourself With The Norwood Scale
What is the Norwood Scale?
The Norwood Scale is a set of images developed by Dr. O’tar Norwood in the 1970’s to measure the severity of hair loss in men.
The scale is currently the most used and accepted method to measure the stage of ones hair loss.
Identifying where you fit into the scale will dictate what treatment options are available to you and their effectiveness.
The Stages of the Norwood Scale
At this stage, there is very little to no hair loss evident.
Hair is thick and there is no receding evident.
The stage NWI (Norwood One) means your hair is perfectly healthy and no treatment is needed.
If you have a family history of pattern baldness then it will be important for you to monitor shedding of hair.
To do this simply look at your pillow in the morning for strands of hair left behind. If there looks to be a lot of hair or the amount of hair being shed increases it may be time to try a treatment or contact your doctor.
At stage two (NWII) hair loss is starting to become evident.
Hair loss at NWII begins in a symmetrical triangular formation at the front of the hairline.
It is at this stage that hair loss is the easiest to treat and most likely to succeed.
These treatments are very mild and will help slow down the shedding of hair (or in some cases stop it completely).
It is at this stage where monitoring your hair loss becomes increasingly important.
Monitoring hair loss will not only confirm if a treatment is working but also help you gauge the rate at which your hair loss is occurring.
Visiting your doctor at this stage is also a good idea. Your doctor will be able to confirm that it is pattern hair loss you are suffering from.
Your doctor also may prescribe you Finasteride depending on the rate of your hair loss.
At this stage (NWIII, NWIIIV) there is a noticeable amount of hair loss evident.
This is the first which is considered ‘baldness’ in the Norwood scale.
At this stage most men will have deep recessions at the hairline (or a very sparse amount of hair).
If you are at stage NWIIIV the vertex (crown) of your head will also have hair loss.
We suggest that if you are at this stage that you consult with your doctor and consider using Finasteride.
The treatments above still have a high chance of regrowing some hair and preventing further hair loss.
At NWIV recessions at the hairline are more severe than at NWIII. A thick bridge of hair separates the hairline from the crown.
The hair loss at this stage is considered to be moderate. It is at this stage where it is becoming more likely that hair loss is permanent without surgical intervention.
At this stage you should be using Minoxidil 5% solution twice daily and have a solid routine in place to treat the hair loss.
You should be monitoring the shedding of hair every day and adjusting your treatment as needed.
It is unlikely at this stage that you will be able to regrow all of your lost hair, however with treatment, you may be able to regain enough that you are happy with.
At NWV a considerable amount of hair has been lost. The recessions at the hair line are more pronounced and a very sparse division of hair separates the vertex from the hairline.
It is at NWV where hair loss is most likely permanent. The treatments listed above (Minoxidil, Biotin, hair loss shampoo and Finasteride) are still likely to result in some regrowth and slow hair loss, but regrowing all hair is very unlikely.
Hair pieces and surgical methods at NWV are an option if you are not happy with the hair loss you have. However using the treatments above to stop further hair loss is the primary concern at this point.
The bridge at NWVI has now disappeared (although some light ‘peach fuzz’ may remain). Hair loss at this stage is permanent.
Treatment to regain lost hair would require surgical methods or a hair piece. The drug and topical treatments may still help to prevent further hair loss.
The common ‘horse-shoe’ shape of hair loss is now evident.
Stage NWVII is the final and most severe stage of hair loss on the Norwood scale.
There is very little to no hair on top of the head. The hair on the sides of the head has receded into a thin horse-shoe shape.
Treatment at this stage would require surgery or a hair piece (the same as NWVI).
As you can see above, it is incredibly important to measure the stage at which your hair loss is at.
This will allow you to decide which is the best treatment for you and the likely odds of success.
The Norwood scale is an incredibly helpful scale when measuring hair loss and is commonly used by doctors in the hair transplant industry.