Sadly, a full head of hair doesn't last forever for most men. It's always a shock when you see the first early signs of balding.
You'll usually see a receding hairline or thinning hair everywhere. Another traumatic sign of early balding is crown hair thinning.
We'll talk about some of the early signs of balding crowns and how to manage your crown hair thinning in this article.
What does crown hair thinning look like?
Crown hair thinning appears as a visible bald patch forming at the very top of the scalp. Hair around the crown starts falling out, leaving a circular area of thinning strands and increased scalp visibility. The hair loss initially isolated to just this upper central region.
The bald patch forms a rounded or oval shape located at the very top center of the scalp.
It will look visibly lighter or smoother than the surrounding hairy areas. The missing or thinner hairs make the skin underneath more noticeable.
The circumference is often clearly defined by the transition from shorter thinning hairs to the longer normal hairs around it.
The bald area lacks the fullness and texture of covered scalp. It feels flatter to the touch.
The skin tone may be subtly different than the hairline or sides. Any pale dots of the scalp show through more.
Bald spots can range from just a nickle-sized thinning to a completely hairless oval patch several inches wide in the center of the crown.
The bald area is always situated precisely at the very top center of the scalp, on the crown region above the hairline in front and neckline behind.
Do you have crown hair thinning?
To know whether you have crown hair thinning, look for a small, expanding bald spot at the scalp's top center. Observe for reduced hair density and increased scalp visibility in this area, indicating potential male pattern baldness.
Here are the detailed instructions:
- Location: Check the very top of your head by looking down while standing in front of a mirror. Is there a circular or oval patch where hair looks thinner or is completely missing? The bald spot will be right at the center of the crown.
- Size: Bald spots start out small, around the size of a coin. Over time, they may enlarge to several inches in diameter as hair loss progresses. Take note if the bald area is expanding at all.
- Hair Thinning: Examine the hair around the bald spot with a hand mirror. Is it noticeably sparser than on other parts of your scalp? Hair may be thinned all over the crown or just at the edges of the bald spot.
- Scalp Visibility: You should see pale pink scalp showing through where hair has fallen out. The skin within the bald spot area may appear noticeably different than surrounding hairy parts of the scalp.
- Progression: Monitor any changes over several months. An enlarging bald spot that now reveals more scalp is a tell-tale sign of continuing hair loss due to male pattern baldness.
What are the early signs of a balding crown?
Here are the early signs of a balding crown:
- Receding hairline
- Hair falls out more than usual
- You appear to have thinner hair in general
- Photographic evidence
- Hair grows slower
- Your scalp itches
1. Receding hairline
A classic early sign of balding is a receding hairline. Signs of a receding hairline are when your hair starts to thin at the temples aka temple balding, making your widow's peak stand out more and giving you a hairline that looks like the letter M (see mature hairline) or a horseshoe. As your hairline creeps back along your scalp, it's possible you'll start losing hair on your crown too.
2. Hair falls out more than usual
Finding a few hairs in your comb, on your pillow, or in the drain of your shower doesn't always mean you're going bald. About 100,000 hairs are on the scalp, and about 100 fall out every day. That's part of the hair's natural life cycle—scalp follicles are always growing hair, stopping to rest, and then shedding it.
However, if you're noticing a lot more hair in your brush than usual, or if you're finding bald spots on your scalp where the hair used to be, it might be a sign that you're starting to lose more hair than normal.
3. You appear to have thinner hair in general
Sometimes, balding doesn't start at the hairline or crown. Instead, it starts in a wider area of the scalp and spreads steadily. This kind of hair loss is sometimes called "invisible balding" because it happens so slowly and evenly that it may be hard to notice until nearly half of the hair is gone.
4. Photographic evidence
If you're worried about going bald and don't know if you are or not, a good exercise is to compare a photo of yourself now with one from the past that was taken in the same lighting and at the same angle. That will give you an unbiased look at any possible changes in your hairline or thickness as a whole.
5. Hair grows slower
When a man has male pattern baldness, his hair grows in a shorter cycle. The normal growth cycle lasts between two and six years, after which the hairs fall out and the cycle begins again with new hair growth. So, how long your hair growth cycle is and how long does it take for hair to grow back affect how long your hair can grow.
The process is similar in women.
6. Your scalp itches
An itchy scalp isn't usually a sign of male pattern baldness or female pattern hair loss, but it can be a sign of other things that cause hair loss, like a buildup of sebum (oil) on your scalp or skin conditions like folliculitis, psoriasis, seborrheic dermatitis, or ringworm of the scalp (also called tinea capitis), a fungal infection.
Sometimes, scratching too much can damage hair follicles and cause hair to fall out with white bulb. If your scalp itches all the time, you should see a dermatologist. They can figure out what's wrong and give you treatments to fix it.
How to stop crown hair thinning?Here are the best ways to stop crown hair thinning:
- Low-level laser therapy (LLLT)
- PRP (Platelet rich plasma) therapy
- Hair transplant surgery
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Topical finasteride, also known as Propecia, is a daily pill used to combat male pattern hair loss by blocking DHT production.
It may take up to a year to observe results, as seen in finasteride before and after pictures. If it's ineffective after a year, consult your doctor for alternative solutions.
While rare, mild side effects like shedding and severe sexual side effects can occur, often resolving upon discontinuation.
Minoxidil (Rogaine) improves hair follicle health by boosting blood flow to the scalp. Apply it daily in gel or foam form. Initial use may result in temporary minoxidil shedding, but clinical trials support its effectiveness for mild hair loss due to alopecia.
4. Low-level laser therapy (LLLT)
Low-level laser therapy utilizes photons to stimulate scalp tissues, promoting hair growth with minimal discomfort compared to surgery. While results vary, a 2013 study showed a 39% increase in hair regrowth over 16 weeks in men aged 18-48.
5. PRP (Platelet rich plasma) therapy
PRP is derived from your blood and injected into the scalp to heal hair follicles. It effectively treats androgenic alopecia (male pattern baldness) according to 2014 research. Potential risks include infection, nerve damage, and pain at the injection site.
6. Hair transplant surgery
Hair transplant surgery involves moving hair from one area to the balding site. It's a costly, invasive procedure with risks like bleeding, infection, and scarring. Consider the hair transplant alternatives above for a safer and more cost-effective solution.
How to prevent hair thinning at the crown?
Some types of hair loss are unavoidable because of health problems or changes in hormones, but you can take steps to make them less severe.
Here's how to prevent hair from thinning at the crown, from making changes to your diet and lifestyle to how you style your hair.
Take care of your hygiene
Kerry Yates, a trichologist at the Colour Collective, says that you should think of your scalp like your face. Would you ever go days without washing your face? Most likely not, especially if you knew you were going to get out.
But many of us go a week without washing our hair and use dry shampoo to hide the buildup of oil. She says, "Using dry shampoos too much leads to clogged follicles, which can cause permanent damage and hair loss [at the crown] over time." "Try to wash your hair at least once every three to four days to keep this from happening."
Avoid hot tools
If you're constantly using hot styling tools, you're damaging your hair. The heat from these tools dries out your strands, making them more likely to break. And when your hair breaks, it becomes thinner and can start to fall out at the crown.
Don't scratch your scalp
If you have an itchy scalp, you might be tempted to scratch it. But resist the urge! Scratching can damage your hair follicles and cause your hair to fall out.
Scratching the scalp too hard can irritate the skin there and damage the hair follicle, which can ultimately cause hair loss. This can eventually lead to hair thinning or even balding in that area. If you have an itchy scalp, try using a gentle shampoo and avoid scratching it.
Follow healthy diets
Eating a healthy diet is crucial for preventing hair loss. A diet that's high in protein, biotin, iron, and omega-3 fatty amino acids can help promote hair regrowth. Foods like salmon, dark leafy greens, beans, and nuts are all excellent sources of these nutrients.
If you're not getting enough of these nutrients in your diet, you may need to take supplements. Talk to your doctor about whether you should take hair supplements and which ones are right for you.
Stress can cause body hair loss, so it's important to find ways to reduce it in your life. Exercise, meditation, and deep breathing are all excellent ways to manage stress. You can also try aromatherapy or massages to relax.
We asked trichologists & dermatologists on your most frequently asked questions.
Can a Thinning Crown Grow Back?
Regrowth of hair at the thinning crown depends on the cause. If the thinning is due to temporary factors like stress or nutritional deficiencies, improving these conditions can lead to regrowth. However, if it's caused by genetic factors like male or female pattern baldness, natural regrowth is less likely, and you may need to explore treatments like Minoxidil, Finasteride, or hair transplants.
How Do You Fix Thinning Hair on a Crown?
Addressing crown hair thinning involves a multi-faceted approach. Start with lifestyle changes like a balanced diet and stress management. Topical treatments such as Minoxidil or natural alternatives like Bio-Pixilin can be effective. In more severe cases, procedures like low-level laser therapy or hair transplants may be considered. Consulting with a healthcare professional can guide you towards the most suitable option for your specific condition.
Is It Normal for Hair to Be Thinner at Crown?
Yes, it's quite common for hair to be thinner at the crown, especially as you age. This thinning can be accelerated by genetic factors, hormonal changes, or lifestyle habits. However, if you notice sudden or severe thinning, it's advisable to consult a healthcare professional to rule out underlying health issues.
Can Stress Cause Thinning Crown?
Absolutely. Stress can have a significant impact on your overall health, including your hair. It can trigger conditions like telogen effluvium, where more hairs enter the resting phase and subsequently fall out, often noticeable at the crown. Managing stress through techniques like meditation, exercise, and proper sleep can help mitigate its effects on your hair.