The Norwood Scale and Hair Loss

What is the Norwood Scale for Hair Loss?

The Norwood Scale for Hair Loss is a tool that can be used to measure Male Pattern Baldness or Androgenetic Alopecia in Men. The Norwood Scale for Hair Loss was previously known as the Hamilton-Norwood Scale, however in 2015 it is more commonly known as the Norwood Scale (The Norwood Scale, 2012).

Who invented the Norwood Scale for Hair Loss?

The primary creator of the Norwood Scale is Dr. James Hamilton around the 1950s and was revised by Dr. O’Tar Norwood by the 1970s who updated the tool as a way of measuring Male Pattern Baldness (The Norwood Scale, 2012;Surviving Hair Loss, 2012 ).

How is the Norwood Scale for Hair Loss used?

The Norwood Scale for hair loss is best used when you want to measure the extent of your hair loss. This is used for Male Pattern Baldness or Androgenetic Alopecia in Men. When you feel that you are losing hair, this tool can guide you in making your judgment whether you are indeed losing some hair or is having alopecia.

It is important that you are careful not to misdiagnose yourself for having hair loss. You might think of getting treatment but it is important to understand first how your hair loss is progressing. You will be asked by the hair doctor certain information about your hair and the Norwood Scale can be a good tool to help you describe your hair loss (American Hair Loss Association, 2010).

Why is the Norwood Scale for Hair Loss useful?

The Norwood Scale is useful because it can be an instrument to check how severe your hair loss is. This is an important tool that will guide the health provider’s judgment on what therapy to use and also to make sense of whether your hair loss can be associated with other medical problems such as ischemic heart disease and prostate cancer (Guarrera et al., 2009). The Norwood Scale is useful it will serve as a guide to determine the stage of your hair loss and to what extent some treatments can be effective for you (Surviving Hair Loss, 2012).

In summary;

You can use the Norwood Scale by understanding the various stages of hair loss in the diagram or guide. It is categorized from Stage 1-7. You need a mirror to see how your hair compares to the scale. First you need to understand that you can look at the scale in two ways. The Anterior (Front) Male Pattern Baldness means that hairline is starting to move backwards from the front of your scalp or your hairline. The other view is the Vertex Male Pattern Baldness which starts from the top of your head. Both patterns end up with stage 6 and 7 of the Norwood Scale. Stage 1 means you have no hair loss thus, the scale starts with stage 2 (Surviving Hair Loss, 2012). Stage 1 or Class 1 represents a juvenile hairline which is not actually balding. This type of hairline rests on the upper brow crease (Northshore Hair Transplant Specialists, n.d.).

How reliable is the Norwood Scale for Hair Loss?

What was useful long time ago may no longer be as more significant and reliable today. It is unfortunate to note that the reliability of the Norwood Scale has been found even by expert appraisers as unsatisfactory. It is recommended that the number of stages or classes should be reduced in order to obtain a better reliability. It was also suggested that the Norwood Scale be used to classify patients’ hair loss in a broad way. There is poor study of its reproducibility as it has been investigated in the hands of dermatologists and dermatology residents (Guarrera et al., 2009). Other tools must therefore be used and investigated further.


American Hair Loss Association, 2010, The Norwood Scale, Available from: <>. [21 June 2013].

Guarrera et al., 2009, Reliability of Hamilton-Norwood Classification, International Journal of Trichology, Available from: <>. [21 June 2013].

Northshore Hair Transplant Specialists, n.d., Male Pattern Baldness, Available from: <>. [21 June 2013].

The Norwood Scale, 2012, Charting degrees of Male Pattern Baldness, Available from: <>. [21 June 2013].

Surviving Hair Loss, 2012, The Hamilton Norwood Scale, Available from: <>. [21 June 2013]Hair Transplants PRP for Hair Loss Great Directions Scott Moore