Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Font Size

Male Pattern Baldness Diagnosis

Typical male pattern baldness is usually diagnosed based on the appearance and pattern of the hair loss, along with a detailed medical history, including questions about the prevalence of hair loss in your family.

An experienced dermatologist should examine the scalp under magnification (preferably with a device called a densitometer) to assess the degree of miniaturization of the hair follicles. This assessment is very important for recommending the proper course of treatment.

Some advertised clinics might recommend a costly hair analysis or a scalp biopsy to properly diagnose your hair loss. The only reason to have a hair analysis is to assess the possibility of poison-induced hair loss. A hair analysis may reveal substances such as arsenic or lead; however, hair loss caused by poisoning does not present itself in a typical male pattern.

You should avoid these clinics and seek the advice of a board-certified dermatologist who can properly examine you and help you treat your hair loss.

Norwood Scale

This chart of hair loss pictures is a useful tool for diagnosis (and to avoid misdiagnosis) and for describing the extent of hair loss for treatment purposes. There may be times you will have to relay this information via telephone or the Internet to physicians or practitioners from whom you are seeking information. Note that there are many variants in pattern hair loss; the images on the Norwood Scale have been cited as the most typical.

The Norwood Scale.

Published on March 1, 2010

WebMD Medical Reference from the American Hair Loss Association

Today on WebMD

hair in hairbrush
Ways to go about it naturally.
Young woman with thick curly hair
Causes and solutions.
man with thinning hair
How to keep the hair you have.
Closeup of Hairbrush with Hair Loss
Understand the basics.
Mens Hair Loss When To Start Treatment
A Dermatologist Talks About Hair Loss
Rogaine And Propecia For Hair Loss
Woman looking at thinning hair in hand mirror
Balding man in mirror
Close up of comb in woman's hair
Young woman with thick curly hair
hair problems