Male Pattern Baldness Stages – Understanding Male Hair Loss

Some men have full heads of hair when they reach their 80s, whereas others start balding when they hit their early 20s. 

If you are part of the latter category, you are probably wondering how it’ll happen to you. 

How will your hair look in the future?

There are several male pattern baldness stages that you’ll likely go through – and these can be both physical and emotional. 

The physical will be visible when you look into the mirror, whereas the emotional will run in tandem with every hair that falls from your head. 

If you notice that your hair begins to thin out, this article will tell you what to expect. 

What Are the Causes of Male Baldness?

Male pattern baldness may occur for a variety of reasons, from hereditary issues to hormonal changes. 

Certain medications and supplements may also lead to hair loss, but so can very stressful events. 

That being said, while anyone (male or female) may lose hair at some point in life, men are the most likely to suffer from it. 

Male pattern baldness is a gradual thinning on the top of a man’s head, with the hair beginning to recede from the hairline on their forehead and all the way back. 

Since the hair at the back is generally thicker, that section is the last one to go.

Men’s hair generally starts thinning when they are in their 30s-40s, but sometimes, it might happen earlier – or even later. 

For example, while 50%-60% of the men usually begin losing their hair in their 70s, around 25% of the men suffering from hereditary male baldness start thinning out before they hit 21. 

It all depends on the causes – but once it starts, every man goes through similar male-pattern baldness stages.

Physical Male Pattern Baldness Stages

Male baldness goes through several stages. 

Officially, there are seven of them – but practically, some stages take different routes (hence the A or B versions of a stage). 

It mostly depends on your genetics, with some people more likely to go down one path than the other. 

Here is where you will start and where you can expect to end up-

1. Stage I 

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At the first stage, there is barely any noticeable hair loss. Your hair still looks full, but you may see some slight thinning around your hairline. Some might not even notice this happening whatsoever, and it generally goes unnoticed until you reach the next stage.

2. Stage II 

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In the second stage, you’re already starting to see some changes in your hairline. At this point, a receding hairline is more noticeable, with “window peaks” popping up at the side of your hairline. An M-shaped (or horseshoe) hairline type tends to appear at this stage, altering its usual shape.

3. Stage IIA 

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Stage IIA is similar to stage II – the difference being that the hairline mostly thins out instead of receding in an M-shape. Granted, the M-shape will still be there, the main thing you will notice is that your hairline has much smaller hairs now and no longer grows as thick. 

4. Stage III 

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Stage three is where things start to go wrong, and you can see the hair loss taking over. Here, the temple’s hair has receded up to the point where you no longer have any hair. Spots on the top of your head may also become thinner, causing you to lose volume and struggle with areas you cannot fill in anymore. 

5. Stage III (Vertex) 

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The Vertex phase of stage III is what most men tend to dread. Here, you will notice a bald spot creeping up at the top of your scalp – it’s usually minor this time around, but still quite noticeable. Since hair is no longer present in that patch, men tend to use hair thickening fibers to fill in thinning areas. Natural hair is still visible, but it’s not enough to cover the scalp and prevent it from showing. 

6. Stage IIIA 

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If your scalp takes the stage IIIA route, you don’t start with bald patches on the back of your head. Instead, your front hairline will recede and thin towards the back of your head. This is where the two smaller horseshoes will begin to turn into one more prominent horseshoe. 

7. Stage IV

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You have become aware that you are slowly but surely balding – and the 4th stage will further confirm it to you. The bald spots from stage III have become much more significant. The crown will start thinning out even more, and so will the area around the vertex. Your scalp will be much more visible at this point.

8. Stage IVA

At stage IVA, the back of your head (around the vertex) remains relatively untouched – but in the front, you are losing more and more hair. Granted, the hair itself won’t be thick, even as you are heading towards the back of your scalp – but at least there aren’t any complete bald circles around the vertex.

9. Stage V

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At stage V, the bald spots around the vertex are becoming clearer and more evident, particularly in the middle. Your crown line starts thinning out even more, with at least half the front of your scalp completely clear of hair. In most cases, this stage begins somewhere around the age of 40-50 – but depending on the person’s genes, it can happen a lot faster.

Stage III – V is when people might also consider hair transplants and micro-pigmentation. These treatments help recreate a hairline on your scalp – removing any bald spots and patches that you may have. These treatments can also recreate the hair follicle look, making you seem like you simply shaved your hair, not lost the hair entirely.

10. Stage VA

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Stage VA is where most of the hair connecting the crown and the vertex has left your scalp. Now, you still have quite a lot of hair left on the sides, but the top part of your hair has mostly gone. Your hair follicles have also “shut down,” which is where the actual sensation of “baldness” takes over. 

11. Stage VI 

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Stage VI is where the hair’s sides are still there, but the bald spots at the front and the back are visible.  You may have a connecting line of hair separating your vertex from the crown hairline, giving the impression at the front that you have a full head of hair – but the bald spots are so severe from above you can’t do anything about it anymore without surgical intervention. 

12. Stage VII 

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Stage VII is the final stage. The hairline has completely receded to the back, and the hair that’s left has also become much thinner. Usually, this happens when the man reaches 60 years of age; it can also be much sooner depending on genetics. 

Emotional Stages of Hair Loss 

Aside from the physical stages of hair loss, you’ll also notice a few emotional stages. These are pretty much like the five stages of grief, adapted to hair loss. Because let’s face it – losing the hair on your head is like losing a dear old friend. Your hair has been on your head for most of your life, and suddenly it decided to pack up and leave.

Here are the emotional stages of hair loss that every man goes through alongside the physical stages. 

1. Denial

Denial appears pretty much in the first few stages. You notice that your hairline has slightly thinned out, but you are not too worried about it. The most you can do is mask the loss and try to regenerate your remaining hair because you refuse to believe it’s happening to you. (Unfortunately, most products promising hair regeneration don’t work.)

Your friends may notice that you are thinning out around the hairline, but you’ll go out of your way to explain to them that you aren’t losing your hair and that this is just a temporary fluke. You’re stressed, or you haven’t been eating right lately… You find all kinds of excuses, but you refuse to believe your scalp’s hair is simply leaving you. 

2. Anger 

Anger happens later when your hairline has already receded quite a bit, and you cannot ignore the fact that you are balding anymore. This step is when you no longer deny it, and instead, you become angry. 

“Why me” or “this is not fair” are generally questions that appear at this emotional stage of hair loss. You are angry that hair loss is happening to you but is not happening to those around you. 

Looking at the glorious hair that some people your age still has makes you angry, knowing that your hair will never return. 

3. Bargaining 

After anger, bargaining starts making it’s way rather quickly. You are no longer angry at this point. However, you become desperate to get your hair back. You say things such as, “I’d give everything I have to get my hair back.”

This is where hair transplants start sounding like a marvelous idea. 

You begin applying more and more hair growth masks and treatment to get your full head of hair back, refusing to accept that little can be done to stop or reverse the process. 

4. Depression 

Depression is the lowest emotional point of anyone dealing with hair loss. 

At this point, you become aware of the fact that no matter how angry you get, and no matter how much you try to bargain it back, nothing is beneficial anymore. Nothing can help you get your hair back (without a transplant).

With that in mind, why even bother anymore? “Nothing I do can help me get my hair back, so what’s the point?” 

This thought makes you even more depressed, causing you to isolate even from your closest friends socially. 

You try to hide the fact that you are slowly but surely going bald, becoming sadder and sadder over the realization. 

At this point, you will also start to experience lower levels of self-confidence. 

If you were the kind of person to believe that your hair made you attractive, the hair loss would make you think lesser of yourself. 

With your most attractive point gone, you no longer see yourself as the beautiful person you used to be.

5. Acceptance

This point is generally reached at the final stages of hair loss when you are no longer depressed because your hair is gone. 

Sure, you aren’t particularly overjoyed over the fact that you are going bald, but you decide to accept it.

After all, there’s nothing you can do about it anymore. 

You cannot make it grow back, and aside from wearing a wig or paying money for micro-pigmentation or hair transplants, this is how you’re going to look from now on. 

So, instead of being depressed over it, you tell yourself that it will be ok. You may even find a way to love your bald head. 

And if you don’t want to be bald for the rest of your life, at this stage, you might try to educate yourself and find a plausible solution. 

Your hair loss has been accepted, but if you can do something about it (and you’re still young), why shouldn’t you?

Final Thoughts 

Baldness is something that any man can suffer from – and once it happens, you’ll go through some form of the male pattern baldness stages mentioned above (both physical and emotional). 

Hopefully, this article will get you ready for that. 

If you’re already knee-deep into one of these hair loss stages and want to do something about it, consider getting a hair transplant. Hair Consulting has consulted thousands of men on transplants and helped many achieve life-changing results.