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
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.
Published on March 1, 2010