Am I Going Bald? Balding Signs You Can’t Ignore

Am I Going Bald

Am I going bald? This is a question that most men will have to ask themselves at some point in their lives, with an estimated 80% of all males expected to experience noticeable hair loss by the age of 80.

For younger men, the prospect of hair loss is one that can cause genuine stress and anxiety. I went through this myself at the tender age of 17, and can empathise with the 40% of men who begin to lose their hair before turning 35.

In my experience, I found that my thoughts were dictated by emotions rather than basic logic during this time, making it hard for me to accurately determine the problem at hand and seek out viable solutions.

In this post, we’ll take a look at the clinical signs of balding, while also addressing the potential causes of long-term hair loss and how to respond.

What are the clinical signs that you’re going bald?

Let’s start with a basic fact: every man and women sheds around 100 hairs every single day. This is something that occurs indiscriminately, and you should never confuse this type of incidental hair loss with male pattern baldness or similarly irreversible conditions.

This should also serve as a useful yardstick when trying to determine whether you’re naturally shedding hairs as part of your growth cycle or actually going bald.

Clearly, leaving a few errant hairs on the headrest of your car or collar of your coat should not cause too much concern, but if this number increases then it may be a sign of something more progressive.

Similarly, if you begin to notice clumps of hair in your brush or on your pillow when you wake first thing in the morning, this could be a sign of balding.

This is what first alerted me to the fact that I was progressively losing my hair, as my previously flowing locks began to fall out in clumps and at an increasingly rapid rate.

As alarming as this was, it was a clear sign that I was losing my hair far quicker than anyone my age could have expected!

In addition to considering the rate of hair loss, you should also look for any identifiable patterns that present themselves.

This is because male pattern baldness, which is the primary trigger for premature hair loss in the UK, usually manifests itself as the front of the scalp first.

Commonly referred to as your frontal hairline, you may notice that this begins to forms a rounded ‘M’ shape as the hairs on your temple and crown start to fall away.

You will notice that this shape changes as the middle of the ‘M’ recedes further, eventually leaving you with the more familiar horse-shoe outline that stretches towards the back of the head.

This pattern of hair loss is progressive, often resulting in complete baldness as the horseshoe pattern continues to expand.

Even if this pattern starts to develop at a relatively slow rate, it is identifiable from an early stage and can help you to deal with the issue proactively.

Given that the crown is particularly susceptible to hair loss, this area may occasionally showcase signs of balding before your frontal hairline begins to recede.

One of the reasons that so many people notice hair loss at the front of the scalp first is that this is far easier to see, but this doesn’t mean that the first telltale signs of baldness have not already presented themselves on the crown.

It’s important to keep this in mind, especially if you’re serious about confronting hair loss and embracing it fully.

How to monitor your hair loss

Let me tell you, I wish I’d had this wealth of knowledge before I began to lose my hair. This would probably have saved me huge amounts of time and money, as it would have been far easier to confront the issue rather than investing in expensive and ultimately ineffective solutions.

This may also have helped me to monitor my hair loss, which is crucial if you’re going to identify the formative signs of male pattern baldness.

But what other steps can you take to determine whether or not you’re going bald?

To begin with, you need to keep tabs on your crown.

If you do begin to experience a slightly higher rate of hair loss but can see no obvious signs of change around the frontal hairline, it could well be the crown that is responsible.

Balding on crown

To check, simply hold a portable mirror above your head while standing in front of another, in the same way that a barber does after trimming your locks.

You could also ask your partner or a close friend to check on your behalf, but the key is to monitor this regularly and over a sustained period of time.

Similarly, it may be worth keeping a diary and recording daily details of any hair loss you experience.

If you remove singular hairs from your comb or brush, count these and keep a log.

Or, if your hair is falling out in clumps, try to measure the size of these and make a note.

The key is to look for obvious signs of progression, as incremental increases in the amount of hair lost is a telltale sign of baldness.

If you want to be really smart, you could even consider sleeping with contrasting coloured pillow cover.

If you had dark locks, for example, you’d use a white or pastel pillowcase, while those with fair hair could go for a classic, black slip.

This will clearly highlight any hairs that are left on your pillow during the night, making it far easier to accurately count and determine the true extent of the problem.

Finally, don’t be afraid to listen to your comments of your friends and loved ones.

These are the people who see you the most, while they’ll also be comfortable enough to point out your receding hair loss or thinning crown.

This can be hard to hear, of course, but it’s a clear indication that your hair loss is tangible and noticeable to others.

I missed out on this feedback by trying to hide my burgeoning hair loss, but this only prevented me accepting the reality of the situation sooner.

What should you do next?

Once you’ve reassured yourself that you’re going bald, your first instinct may well be to hide away and disguise your problem.

Not only is this ultimately pointless, but it’s also potentially dangerous as your hair loss could be the result of a medical issue.

So, take it from me, your first port of call should be to visit your family GP, as they’ll be able to place the issue into context and test for any underlying medical triggers.

Firstly, there are several medical conditions that cause temporary hair loss, including numerous skin disorders and relatively common illnesses such as diabetes and anaemia.

The latter is definitely something to consider, as nutrient deficiencies like a lack of iron or a low protein intake can also interrupt hair growth cycles.

So, if your diet is imbalanced and lacks core nutrients, you may fell find that hair loss is a direct result of this.

Hormonal disorders (particularly those associated with the pituitary and thyroid glands) can also cause sudden and accelerated hair loss, so if you have noticed hairs falling out at a rapid rate (rather than progressively and over a sustained period of time) this could well an important consideration.

Then there’s telogen effluvium, which disrupts a particular stage of the hair growth cycle and can cause pronounced, but temporary hair loss.

This is typically brought on by physical or emotional stress, while it tends to occur during the telogen stage of the hair growth cycle when old follicles are shed.

Although there is no treatment for this, the problem will only persist while the underlying issue remains and the volume of your hair will usually return to normal within six to eight months.

The last word

Having closely monitored the rate of your hair loss and ruled out any underlying medical conditions, you’ll have a clear understanding of whether or not your actually going bald.

Regardless of whether this is the result of male pattern baldness or a type of alopecia, this is likely to be irreversible so it’s crucial that you confront this reality head-on!

If my own experience taught me one thing, it’s that acceptance is better than denial as there’s simply no sustainable fix for losing your hair.

Sure, you can do what I did and invest in supposedly revolutionary hair products (and treatments) and restyle your hair so that it conceals your emerging bald patches, but what does this achieve other than delaying the inevitable realisation that you’re going bald?

Ultimately, I decided to embrace my hair loss and shave my head, seizing control of the situation and creating a sense of empowerment in the process.

This is something that I’d recommend to anyone who finds themselves in the same position, as it’s a truly liberating act that can mark a new and exciting chapter in your life!

Paul Inman

Paul Inman is the founder of The Bald Gent. As the main contributor to TBG, Paul has years of knowledge, experience and stories to share with our users. His insights, advice and blogs form the backbone to everything we do and what makes being a true gent so important to the ethos of TBG.

  1. Twenty years ago, in my early 50s, I suddenly realized that I was going bald when someone showed me a recent photo of me taken at a party. I normally combed my hair forward across my forehead, but in that photo my hair was swept back, exposing a very high ‘m’ shaped forehead with a very narrow ‘widow’s peak’. It hit me. I was going bald! I had very mixed feelings about it. I panicked, fearing my wife and kids would hate it and I might be ridiculed, or I might look awful bald. At the same time, I was thrilled!
    When I was about 5 years old, I discovered that I wanted to go bald like my uncle and grandfather. Over the years the desire to go bald only grew stronger, even though I fought the feeling. In college several of my classmates were already going bald and I was almost insanely jealous of them. I didn’t dare say anything, for fear people would think I was crazy. After all, who in his right mind would want to go bald. But I wasn’t crazy. I was just desperate to go bald. But sadly, it didn’t happen. By the time I was 50 I had almost given up on the hope of ever going bald. By the way, I tried the all shaved bald look and it didn’t work for me. I hated the ‘hair shadow’ effect and I hated the stubble that grew back almost immediately on top of my head. No, I wanted male pattern baldness: shiny bald over the top of my head with only a fringe of hair on the sides and across the back. But male pattern baldness gets such bad press and I thought all women hated male pattern baldness in their men.
    But I was wrong. It turns out my wife loves male pattern baldness and she was thrilled when I told her a hair restoration specialist had diagnosed my hair loss as male pattern baldness and I would eventually, perhaps soon, go bald. She actually begged me to do nothing to save my hair, saying she thinks bald men are sexy and had always secretly wished and prayed that I would someday go bald. So my fears were for nothing. I only hoped that I would look good bald. So I relaxed and just let myself go bald. It didn’t take long. In less than two years I went from Norwood 3 to Norwood 6 bald. And it looked looked and felt great! I’ve actually gotten compliments from people saying I look better bald than with hair. Imagine that! And when I get good natured teasing about my baldness, my wife never fails to say how much she loves it, if she is present. Actually, I love being kidded about being bald. I absolutely LOVE male pattern baldness and love to be reminded that I am bald. My wife loves kissing me on top of my shiny bald head. What a turn on!
    In retrospect, I wish I had gone bald immediately after my wife and I were married, 40 years ago. As it turns out, she too, would have have loved it if I had gone bald right after our honeymoon. After I fully embraced going bald it was a thrill seeing gobs of my hair on my pillow every morning and lots of hair plugging the shower drain. And it happened so fast. I quickly developed a growing bald spot in back, my hairline raced to the back and what little hair that remained on top of my head thinned out to almost invisible fuzz, all in less than two years. That was almost twenty years ago. These days I hardly give it a thought, until I look at myself in a mirror. I can’t help but smile every time I see my shiny bald reflection. How lucky I am that I am bald and how lucky I am that I married a woman who loves it as much as I do.

    1. Hi there Eric – thanks for your inspiring and in-depth reply, I am sure people reading this will be warmed by your positive outlook on wanting to lose your hair. Not only have you managed to make me smile your comments play down of the fear of losing your hair by actually wanting it to happen – this is what TBG is all about, embracing your look and not being scared of what will happen to most men at some point in their lives – thanks once again.

  2. In all honesty no man wants to go bald, it is the male emblem of suffering and shame especially for those in their teens and early twenties, alcoholism and drug abuse is prevalent in an astounding 27% of these men. There is no comparison with cancer for I have had loved ones slain by that terrible disease. But, from a self confidence standpoint, there is nothing more devastating(other than impotence). All power to the men that embrace baldness and wear it but, if you had a chance to get your hair back, would you? That is the checkmate in baldness vs head of hair. I understand, I will myself shave my head if it gets to that point but I will wear it, hoping one day my sons or grandsons will never have to worry about it. Gods honest comment, if you don’t like it then God bless you anyways, acceptable is the hardest thing to accept.

    1. Thanks for your comment – you can see now why I started this site, to empower men of all ages that are going through or have gone through hair loss

  3. I think for progress to happen there has to be a spirit that doesn’t accept the hand that has been dealt. One day no man will be bald other than choice, It was figured in the mid 1800’s that no black man would have the right to live his life abundantly, they fought with utmost passion and vigor and they won their freedom against all odds. Never settle!!!!

  4. You know I think balding is a much bigger problem than we take it for, I honestly never thought of it being a problem until a youngster in my Sunday school class asked me if I would have hair in heaven. As innocent as it was, it for the first time got me thinking, why we lose our hair? I’m a healthy, strong and smart individual, what’s goin on up there? Lol. I think we’re so lost in the fact that we cannot do anything about it that we forget the fact that we live in a time of incredible scientific advancement and I’d be damned If I won’t advocate for a future where alopecia is anihalated. There is nothing wrong with men who don’t want to go bald,, they’re just ill equipped, one day that will change. We can put a man on the moon but can’t stop men from losing hair? Are you kidding me?

    1. Thanks for your comment Rory – one-day things might change but I doubt it will be any time soon! In the meantime, this site is meant to help, advise and support any man going through hair loss, no matter their age… Let’s hope more men can embrace the change and become confident and happy in who they are and how they look.

      1. Mr. Inman, I have the utmost respect for you finding this website and empowering men to embrace the hand they have been dealt. And this might sound trivial to the effect but, My great-grandpa wasn’t given the right to vote and his dad my great-great grandpa was born a slave, the moral is the only thing that stays the same is everything changes! I study bio-chemistry and there have been over 1,300 medications that could reverse alopecia and have been sent to the FDA since 1982, the FDA is shady to say the least. This really scares me that if they would withhold this information to save the billion dollar hair loss business what would they hide to save the trillion dollar diabetes or cancer medical business? There’s a lot of conspiracy there but,it holds water, anyways you have a great life and keep helping men! Godspeed!

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