5 Early Warning Signs of Hair Loss to Watch For

Losing hair is a common problem, becoming progressively more prominent as we age. Although it can start at any age, most cases of pattern baldness occur after crossing 50. It is also possible to face hair fall while you are still in your teens or reach your 20s.

While noticing signs of baldness can be alarming, there are many ways this problem can be handled. And one of the most important factors in effectively treating hair loss is to diagnose it as early as possible.

Signs of a balding scalp

Increased Hair Fall

It is common to find fallen hairs in your shower drain, comb, or pillowcase. According to the British Academy of Dermatology Association, losing 50 to 100 hairs daily is normal. Our hair grows in a cycle. They continue to grow, pause for some time, shed and then regrow (Murphrey, 2021).

Finding a few strands of hair should not cause you to panic, but it is essential that you pay attention if these hairs are increasing day by day. Not all hair fall will result in baldness, but it is vital to notice this sign early on to take timely measures if needed.

Itchy Scalp

An itchy scalp can be not only a sign of baldness but also a cause of it. Certain skin conditions can cause your head to itch, including folliculitis, psoriasis, seborrheic dermatitis or ringworm of the scalp, or a fungal infection (Philips, 2017).

Excessive scratching of the scalp to soothe the itching scalp can damage the hair follicles to the extent that they are no longer viable for new hair growth.

You should visit a dermatologist if you are facing such an issue to get a proper diagnosis and treatment before things get out of hand.

A Receding Hairline

If you suspect your hairline is receding, you should not ignore it, as it can be a warning of male pattern baldness. Male pattern baldness can start with thinning hair at the temples. As this hair fall continues, it can make your widow's peak more prominent. This pattern continues until your hairline starts to look like the shape of the letter "M" or a horseshoe. Sometimes, your hairline can recede across your forehead (Murphrey, 2021).

A More Visible Scalp

As you lose more and more hair, a time comes when you feel like more of your scalp is visible through the hair. One of the most common spots for this is the crown of your head. The hair on the vertex of your head keeps shedding progressively until a classic bald spot is visible. This sign is hard to notice as we cannot see the back of our heads while looking in the mirror. This sign might take months or even years to become prominent. If you suspect your hair is getting thinner overall, you should use a second mirror to see if the crown of your head is becoming more visible.

A head full of hair protects the scalp against UV rays. But when the hair on your head starts to become scarce, this protection is lost. Once you lose a significant amount of hair, you can also face recurrent sunburns.

Hair Takes Longer to Grow

Our hair grows in a cycle, and a single hair growth cycle takes about two to six years. Your hair length is determined by the length of the hair growth cycle. A single strand of hair keeps growing in length and falls out once it has completed its cycle. Male pattern baldness can make this hair growth cycle shorter (Murphrey, 2021).

So one way of knowing that you might be starting your journey towards baldness is that your hair takes longer to grow.

Signs That Should Not Cause Panic

As the early detection of hair loss signs is important, it is also important to know which signs are not an indication of baldness to avoid unnecessary panic.

  • A widow's peak can be a genetic trait, not a sign of impending baldness. It is only alarming when it starts to recede or more of your forehead starts to become visible.
  • Having a grandfather who suffered from baldness does not mean you will be bald.
  • An itchy scalp does not mean that you will go bald. But not treating it on time can be a contributing factor to baldness.
  • Finding a hair that has fallen out with a white bulb at the root means it has reached the telogen phase of the hair growth cycle. The same hair follicle can produce new hair.

Ways to Prevent Hair Loss

Several hair loss treatments are available that produce good results and are supported by research. The following are the most popular and effective hair loss treatments that you can consider:

  • Minoxidil is available in foam or liquid form. You will need to continuously use this spray for at least four months to see any improvements. The results are even better when Minoxidil is combined with Finasteride (Adil, 2017).
  • Finasteride is an NHS-approved oral prescription drug. This drug helps men with androgenetic alopecia. Finasteride has been shown to cause hair regrowth in 83% of men who used it for two years (Shapiro, 2003).
  • Low-level laser therapy (LLT) is another hair loss treatment that is NHS-approved. LLT is theorized to stimulate new hair growth by triggering hair follicles. Studies have proven it effective for male pattern baldness (Adil, 2017).
  • Hair transplantation is an effective surgical option for treating male pattern baldness. This procedure is especially useful in treating a receding hairline (Zito, 2021).


Suspecting that you might be getting bald can be a traumatic experience. Knowing the warning signs of baldness can become handy in treating this condition before it gets too late.

Early warning signs should not cause panic, as many effective and safe treatment options are available for male pattern baldness. You should visit your dermatologist as soon as you notice any hair loss signs.