Early Signs Of Balding

The earlier you catch it, the easier it is to deal with male pattern baldness. It’s much harder to re-grow new hair as opposed to keeping the hair you’ve already got.

In this article you’ll learn the different causes of hair loss and how to identify the early signs of balding so that you can make an informed decision about what to do about it. If you’re going bald at 20-25 then read this.

IMPORTANT: Find out if you early balding is reversible by taking the new 6 question quiz at the bottom of this page.

The 8 Main Causes of Balding

Before you can understand how (and why) early balding occurs, it’s a good idea to understand the different causes of hair loss.

Androgenetic Alopecia (AGA)

Colloquially known as Male-Pattern Baldness (MPB), AGA is a genetic condition that affects both men and women. The eventual result of this condition is hair loss.

The exact cause of AGA is unknown, but the androgen DHT is believed to be a major culprit. So, how is it produced?

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DHT is produced in three places in the body: the testicles, the prostate, and the hair follicles. It’s a result of the interaction between testosterone (the male sex hormone) and 5AR (an androgen). The excess DHT then attaches to the hair follicles and, in individuals with AGA, this leads to inflammation and irritation.

As the inflammation continues, it results in a process known as hair miniaturization.

This process makes it difficult for hair to grow, as the strands become shorter and shorter until, eventually, they can no longer push through the scalp.

Alopecia Areata (AA)

Alopecia Areata is an autoimmune condition. It occurs when the immune system believes the hair follicles are foreign and attacks them.

The main symptom of AA is patchy baldness, which seems to come on out of nowhere. This balding typically happens on the scalp, though more advanced forms of the condition lead to total hair loss on the face and head (Alopecia Totalis) and hair loss on the entirety of the body (Alopecia Universalis).

While not incredibly common, this condition does affect more than 6 million men and women in the United States alone.

Nutritional Deficiencies

The foods we eat supply our bodies with crucial nutrients, such as calcium, iron, and potassium. However, a poor diet or malabsorption problems can mean your body aren’t receiving the vitamins and nutrients required to keep it running at its best.

Nutritional deficiencies aren’t a common cause of long-term hair loss, but they can result in temporary thinning and baldness. This is especially true if you’re low on a few of hairs most vital nutrients, including iron, niacin, biotin, and vitamin E.

Fortunately, nutritional deficiencies can be solved with an improved diet and, in some cases, vitamin supplements. With improved intake, you can then avoid the many symptoms of poor diet, such as anemia, weight loss, and hair fall.

Illness and Medications

Our bodies can be delicate in many ways, as they require balance and overall wellbeing. Unfortunately, these can be thrown off by both illness and medications which can then trigger short-term or long-term hair loss.

The two most common types of hair loss to occur from illness and medications are Telogen Effluvium (TE) and Anagen Effluvium (AE).

TE is the most common, and it occurs at the very last stages of the hair growth cycle. Hair fall begins weeks to months after an illness or medication, and it can take just as long to resolve.

AE is less common, but is often seen in patients undergoing chemotherapy. It occurs during the phase of active growth, and it can begin as soon as a few days after medication is administered, and it may take several months to resolve.

Mental and Physical Stress

Stress – both mental and physical – is a problem commonly faced by people throughout the world. It can take on many forms and have various triggers (including traumatic injury, surgery, or loss of a loved one).

The most common symptoms of stress include:

  • Low energy
  • Headaches
  • General aches and pains
  • Overall discomfort

It can also manifest as panic attacks, which include accelerated heart rate, quickened breathing, and feelings of chest tightness.

Another symptom of stress can be thinning and hair fall. It’s most commonly classified as TE, and it occur months after the triggering event.

In many cases, this form of hair loss resolves itself.

Hormones

Whether due to medical treatment or illness, hormone imbalance can wreak havoc on your body and its various systems. One such system it can interfere with is the hair growth cycle.

The most common causes of hormone imbalance are Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), thyroid disease, and hormonal birth control. If you suspect a hormonal imbalance is the cause of your hair loss, it’s best to speak with your physician.

Early Signs of Balding

Now, let’s take a closer look at the most common signs of early balding.

Excessive Amounts of Hair on the Pillow and in the Shower

Firstly, male pattern baldness is not necessarily about how many hairs you shed each day (so don’t go counting them) it’s more about how quickly you are replacing them.

Becoming paranoid and worrying about each hair that is lost won’t help with your stress levels either.

Pattern Hair Loss and Receding Hairline

The other thing to take note is that common blading takes place in a pattern (that’s why it’s known as male or female pattern baldness) so seeing clumps of hair come out will usually mean you have a different kind of hair loss.

MPB starts at the temples and forehad and typically recedes over time. The hairs at the front becomes thin and wispy over time and eventually fall out due to hair follicle miniazturization. However, there is a difference between a mature and receding hairline.

You can also find out more about if a high hairline will later lead to male pattern baldness here.

DHT (the male hormone that is believed to be primarily responsible for pattern baldness) causes hair follicle miniaturization where the dermal papilla is starved on the nutrients and minerals and oxygen it needs to grow.

DHT also causes hair to go in to a ‘dormant’ or ‘resting phase’ so hair that falls out isn’t replaced.

Itchy, Flaky Scalp

One of the first signs may be an itchy scalp. This can be caused by a build up of sebum on the scalp and is often a precursor to dandruff and hair loss.

This isn’t necessarily a cause of effect of hair loss, but the two are often correlated. This is an excellent guide to help naturally remove the DHT from your scalp which may help.

Hair Takes Longer to Grow

Because pattern hair loss comes from hair follicles entering a resting phase, as well as often being starved on nutrients and minerals, quite often your hair will take longer to grow after a hair cut.

There are other factors involved as well and it can be hard to tell for sure but this often an early warning sign.


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Thin, Wispy Hair

Hair follicles typically get thinner, less radiant and lose some of their shine before eventually falling out.

So if the front of your hairline around the temples and forehead seems to be getting thinner, and more wispy then this is fairly typical of male pattern baldness.

Consider Your Relatives

The mainstream convention is that hair loss is genetic, and while that is true to some extent, it doesn’t tell the whole truth. It’s actually more of a ‘genetic predisposition‘ which means it’s more likely that you’ll suffer from male pattern baldness but it isn’t guaranteed.

It also means that there are things you can do to prevent hair loss. Anyway, when you are looking for early signs of balding, you might want to consider your relatives (on both side of the family tree) to see if any of them suffer from pattern baldness.

Fathers, Uncles, and Grandfathers will give you a good indictor of the likelihood that you might be seeing the beginning stages of male pattern baldness.

What Are Your Options?

The earlier you catch pattern hair loss, the easier it is to do something about it. It’s incredibly hard to re-grow hair where it has been completely lost and the dermal papilla has healed over.

If you’re facing the reality of early balding, you’re likely wondering what your next steps are.

There are, of course, both over-the-counter (Minoxidil) and prescription drugs (Finasteride) you can consider. But their side effects are quite unpleasant, and they have to be used your entire life if you want to continue to see results.

So, what other options do you have?

Fortunately, there are plenty of natural methods you can use to stop your hair loss and, in many cases, even reverse it.

Essential Oils

One way to stop hair fall in its tracks is with the use of essential oils. There are plenty of options to choose from, and some have even been proven to work just as effectively (if not better) than minoxidil and finasteride.

Some of the oils I recommend include:

Peppermint Oil

Peppermint is often used in the kitchen, as well as in aromatherapy treatments and even pesticides. But what if I told you it has also been proven to be 60% more effective than minoxidil in treating hair loss?

In 2014, Korean researchers used mice to compare the efficacy of Minoxidil to two separate oils: jojoba and peppermint.

The mice were split into four groups, and these groups received either:

  1. Saline (SA);
  2. Jojoba (JO);
  3. 3% Minoxidil (MXD); or
  4. 3% Peppermint Essential Oil (PEO).

These treatments were applied to the skins of the mice six days per week over four weeks. And these were the results:

Hair growth shown on the backs of mice after treatment with PEO
Source.

As is clearly seen, both saline and jojoba oil had minimal regrowth results. However, both Minoxidil and PEO showed positive growth starting at two weeks and continuing through the study.

Even better, PEO’s results were shown to be more effective than even Minoxidil:

Source.

What does this mean for hair loss sufferers?

While human studies need to be performed, PEO does appear to be a promising natural treatment option. It increases blood circulation to the scalp, while also inducing hair growth similar to Minoxidil.

Rosemary Oil

Next up on the list is rosemary, a pine-scented oil that’s commonly found in aromatherapy blends. However, it’s also been shown to be helpful in inducing hair growth.

In 2013, researchers tested the efficacy of different rosemary leaf extract concentrations on mice. Their goal was to determine if it promoted hair growth and, if so, by how much.

The mice first had their hair growth interrupted by testosterone treatment, and the oil was then applied in various concentrations over a period of time.

Not only did rosemary extract prove to promote hair growth, but it was also found to display antiandrogenetic activity. This is beneficial to those with AGA, as androgens (namely DHT) are a major cause of follicle miniaturization and hair loss.

Magnesium Oil

Carrier oils are an important addition to any essential oil treatment, and there are plenty to choose from. One of the best, though, is magnesium.

This oil is commonly found in cosmetic products, as it’s known to moisturize and cleanse the scalp and hair. It also plays a role in combating calcification, which is thickening of the skin as caused by excess calcium accumulation.

When applied to the scalp, magnesium oil can moisturize and hydrate. It also breaks down these calcium deposits, and makes it possible for healthy hair to grow.

You can apply magnesium oil alone, though I recommend combining it with one (or both) of the essential oils above. A good rule of thumb is 5mL of magnesium oil with every one drop of essential oil.

Scalp Massage and Exercises

One way to increase the efficacy of essential oils is to practice scalp massage and exercises. These boost blood flow to the scalp, which is essential in supporting healthy hair growth.

How to Perform Scalp Massages

If you’re ready to get started, here’s a basic rundown of the daily process:

  1. Place your thumb, index, and middle fingers on either side of your head (just above the ears). Use your fingers to massage in a circular motion, and apply varying levels of pressure as you do so.
  2. From the sides of the head, move up to the crown. Continue with circular motions, and backtrack to previous places on the scalp as you do.
  3. From the crown, slowly move to the middle of the hairline and temples. Continue applying varying levels of pressure.
  4. Finally, bring your fingers from the hairline to the crown, and finally to the base of the scalp.

This entire process should take about 10 minutes, though you can extend it if you’d like.

How to Perform Scalp Exercises

To further increase blood circulation, you can use using facial muscles to ‘exercise’ the scalp. Here’s how to do so:

  1. Lift your eyebrows as high as possible, and hold in place for 2 minutes. Return your eyebrows to the resting position.
  2. Furrow your eyebrows as deep as possible, and hold in place for 2 minutes. Return your eyebrows to the resting position.
  3. Lift your eyebrows as high as possible and hold for 3 minutes. Then furrow your eyebrows as deep as possible and hold for 2 minutes. Return to the resting position.

You can also use your fingertips to ‘stretch’ the skin of the scalp, by placing two fingertips on the scalp and pushing and pulling them away from each other.

Microneedling (Dermastamping)

If you want to further increase blood flow to the scalp (which I highly recommend), you’ll want to take your treatments to the next level. One way to do that is with microneedling.

Microneedling is a technique that uses tiny needles to puncture the scalp. As these wounds heal, they increase collagen levels in the skin (which is important for elasticity) as well as promote the proliferation of Dermal Papilla Cells (DPCs).

And while it may seem odd to cause intentional injury to promote hair growth, there’s actually proof that it works. In 2013, researchers compared microneedling and Minoxidil. The group to receive both Minoxidil and microneedling saw better results than the Minoxidil-only group:

How to Perform Microneedling

There are two common microneedling tools: the dermaroller, and the dermastamp.

I strongly urge against the dermaroller, as it can cause damage to surrounding hair structures. The dermastamp, on the other hand, is easy to target and much easier to control.

To use the dermastamp, you’ll first want to cleanse the scalp.

You can then use the stamp to puncture the areas of your scalp with thinning and hair loss. Applying light pressure, target the areas first vertically, then horizontally, and finally diagonally.

You can perform this technique once per week.

30 thoughts on “Early Signs Of Balding

  1. If you want me to answer any questions you have on the early warning signs of going bald just leave me a comment in the box above.

    • Hi Will,

      Im 18 and I don’t know if I’m receding as one side is higher than the other but it’s been like that since I’ve been born but it’s got just a tad higher in the last few years on the higher side the other side is completely fine just wondering what your thoughts are on the matter?

      • Hi Matthew, it’s hard to tell from your description, but it does sound like your hairline could be receding. It would be useful to know if pattern hair loss is common in your family. If you think you are losing your hair it would be wise move to take action now to stop any further loss. It’s much harder to regrow hair than it is to stop losing it.

  2. Hey Will, just found out about your website. My father, and his father is bald, my moms side is fine. I inherited my hair type from my mother, all the people with this type of hair did not have hair loss at all. I am not seeing symptoms yet,but my scalp is itchy and I have deandruffs, this is for about a year now, also I have very greasy hair, I am 17, so it might be puberty. I got some products from a trichologist (a lot of people are skeptical about them) but the products worked great, removed everything. I still tend to get greasy hair, so I have to wash everyday with a shampoo, if I dont do it for like 2 days, I start getting itchy scalp and dandruff again. When I used the products first, seen an improvement imidietaly, and my scalp was ok after 3 days. It was like this for 3 months, so I took the products again, and it became fine (I had longer hair and was not drying them). Right now it was getting a bit worse in the winter again, but I wonder, could this be a symptom ? I am not seeing any miniturazition or thinning at all 🙂

    • Hello Jaroslav. Good on you for taking decisive action and working to prevent any hair loss before it happens. You may be fine, but it’s hard to tell at this point since you’re still young. I have have particularly greasy hair then this could be a sign that your diet needs adjusting. For example, I would recommend taking a pint of warm lemon water each morning before breakfast (3 squeezed lemons) to help break down some of the unhealthy oils in your body. If you do start seeing thinning or recession then I highly recommend starting Hair Equilibrium to stop any further loss.It’s easier to keep your existing hair than to regrow lost hair (though it’s definitely not impossible).

  3. I am 24, started around age 19 after serious thinning and a lot of frontal hair loss. Finasteride (Propecia) has made my hair loss stop completely so far. No side effects that I notice, I take half a pill every day (.5mg).

    • Okay, well Propecia isn’t something that I personally recommend. After all, hair loss is a symptom of a bigger health problem and masking that symptom with a powerful pharmaceutical is not the best option. Especially when there are natural ways to stop and reverse hair loss available. Thanks for your comment Jose. Will

  4. Hey there… I’m 17 right now and I have itchy scalp full of dandruff. I wash my hair every day. If I don’t wash it then my hair get starting too greasy and dandruff increases. I have thin hair as compared to my friends and the volume of my hair too is less. So are these early signs of balding??

    • Hi Tanishq, these could be early signs. I recommend that you don’t wash your hair every day. The regime I recommend is to wash your hair once per week, with apple cider vinegar (4 teaspoons.)

      If your hair gets greasy very quickly, and you also have dandruff this is probably to do with your diet. Your hormones also play a big role at your age. Try to eat more plant based foods and remove fried foods and dairy from your diet.

      Of course there is a lot more you can do but this will get you started.

      Will

  5. Hi, so I’m 20 years old and already I’m experiencing male pattern baldness, but not in the way that you have described. See, my real problem is that I just don’t seem to have as much hair in the middle of my scalp as I do on the sides. I don’t really actually see much hair falling out of my head, but my hair is definitely noticeably thinner in the middle than on the sides, although all of my hair has generally been very thin and wispy. Recently, I shaved my head, and now that I am seeing the beginnings of hair regrowth, I DEFINITELY notice how much less (or thinner, I don’t really know) hair I have on the middle than on the sides. My question is, is there anything I can do to change this? Again, I really don’t notice a lot of my hair falling out, I think it’s just much thinner in the middle. Happy to answer any questions put forth.

    • Hi Will, I’m not sure since this doesn’t sound like pattern baldness, it could be some other kind of alopecia. I would firstly make sure you’re not deficient in any important nutrients or minerals as this can often cause diffusive thinning.

  6. I’m 18 I have the m shaped hairline and over some years its more dominantly notifiable I would say but still normal at my point and it’s hard to say because I’m my family my dad is bald and my mom side my uncle is bald but my grandpa’s have very thick hair and I have my mom’s hairline so I’m in between and I have been on a low carb 20 carbs or lower a day diet and take men’s daily vitamins everyday and my hair seems to be very healthy sometimes my forehead gets oily but only after I sweat it’s just my hairlines seemed to of got higher but I was wondering if I should take a certain vitamin like biotin maybe and would like a suggestion

    • Hi Sam, thanks for the interesting comment. It’s hard to say whether you’re predisposed to hair loss. I would definitely keep a close eye on your hair. We don’t necessarily advocate a low carb diet (not that it’s a bad thing) its more about staying away from carbs that would spike your blood sugar. For some people gluten can also be a trigger for inflammation that leads to hair loss.

      As for vitamins and minerals, biotin might be worth taking, but a healthy diet is the first priority. Vitamin K2 is also a worthy suggestion because it will help reduce the scalp calcification which could lower blood flow to the scalp causing hair loss later.

  7. I’m 17 years old and I have just received chemotherapy of leukemia ,my dad is bald but my mother’s dad and brothers are not bald but my hairs start falling and M shape is start making over my head .Will I also become bald if yes then what should I do to prevent baldness please give me some tips

    • I haven’t looked into regrowing hair after chemotherapy, so I can’t really offer a good opinion on that. Given your dad is bald there is a chance you’ll start losing hair to pattern baldness as well. I would suggest reading lots of articles on the blog and taking action. The Hair Equilibrium Program would also be highly recommended for you. Send me an email to will (at) hairlossrevolution.com and we can make sure you get access to that.

  8. Hi, I was on isotretinoin for 3 months and 3 months after finishing my course I noticed a rapid onset of hairfall. Majority of the hairs I have been shedding since 6 months are with a sort of white bulb at one end. My temporal regions are thin and I notice heavy thinning and shedding around the time my hair starts itching. Is this temporary or permanent? My father has a full hair of head but 2 out of 3 uncles on my maternal side and my maternal grandfather are bald.

    • Its hard to say but it sounds like it is related to the medication. This kind of hair loss is usually very reversible, though I don’t know enough about the medication to give you specific tips. I would start by optimising your diet to reduce inflammation and maximise hair growing nutrition.
      Will

  9. Hi..Will.I am 18 years old..I have been having continous thinning for 3 years..my hairline has gotten m shaped and I see bald paches on the temple and less hair on the crown..my hair now almost looks like jason statham’s in The One.. will my hair regrow?

    • Hi Shahriar, I just had a look at Jason Statham in ‘The One’ and see what you mean. This is quite severe pattern baldness for an 18 year old. I think that at this point it will be almost impossible for you to have fully thick hair (without a hair transplant) but I certainly think that using our methods you would be able to stop any further thinning/recession and might even be able to regrow some. My general rule of thumb is that reverting back to 3-5 years ago is about as good as you can expect with natural methods. I hope this helps.
      Will

  10. Hello, my name is Vaughan. I’m 17 years old, and I’m just really scared I’m going bald, I’ve got thinish hair, I don’t know any family members that are bald, I don’t know anyone on my moms side but there’s know one on my dads. How can I tell if I’m starting to go bald at this age?

  11. Hey Will,

    I’m a 21 year old college student and I’m not sure if I’m starting to experience MPB. I first noticed hair loss last year around finals, I saw that my whorl was getting a little bigger and my hairline seemed to raise a little. The hairs on the end of my hairline at the temples seemed to be beginning to thin and my part started becoming more defined. One of my main things that makes this issue more prominent is that my hair appears to lose it’s color close to the root but still has it’s color near the ends. Do you know what could possibly cause that, and if there is any way to reverse it?

  12. Hi! I have one older brother so he seemed to show signs of baldness. but to make sure I’m looking for a sign of baldness article and I were here. Thanks for sharing!

    • It is very hard difficult, although theoretically not impossible. As a good rule of thumb, it is possible to regrow the hair you’ve lost within the last 5 years. Again, that’s just a rule of thumb which comes from experience running this site. Some people have lost their hair more slowly over the years and therefore they could probably expect more than 5 years ago. Hope that helps.
      Will

  13. Hey there,I am 19 and two years back I let my hair grow wild,didn’t care much about it,didn’t go for regular trimming or oiled it,just led it to grow on it’s own.on the contrary I would crush walnut nuts in my hand to extract the oil and directly apply it along with the powdered nuts to my hair.to remove the powdered nuts from my hair I would use to comb my hair with a comb having very fine bristles.it was a mess.Ya I am a moron!after trimming my wild ,dirty hair I experienced fair amount of hair fall,redness and itichy scalp and pimples on my scalp.oh! not to forget dandruff also!.after using treatment both oral and topical my itiching,pimples and the redness were gone and I experienced some hair growth.i still got some decent hair but it doesn’t feel fuller as it used to be earlier.what do you suggest?
    Hope you answer soon.

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