Don't wait until saving the hair you have becomes unrealistic. Here are a few fast facts to help you figure out you have hair loss.
1. Do any of your relatives have hair loss?
Hair loss has a complicated genetic inheritance, but typically if its present in your direct lineage (father/mother, grandfather/grandmother or uncle/aunts), you have the genes in your family).
"The main reason people face a receding or thinning hairline is because they do not take action. If there is a high genetic predisposition to hair loss, people who want to keep their hair should start treatment early." -Dr. Mauricio Luna, M.D.
We recommend that most people with a family history of hair loss start treatment early. If your hair has never been very full to begin with, and you have a family history of hair loss, we recommend starting preventative treatment. In this day and age, there is simply no reason why people should accept hair loss. At a bare minimum, use standard 5% minoxidil.
2. Look at your photos from the past few years and now.
Do you see any difference? Is it bothering you? People often make decisions with logic, but in certain situations like this your gut can be accurate.
The fact that you are trying to educate yourself and proactively treat this problem . Most people who do not take action on problems end up suffering with much worse outcomes. However, the only way your wisdom matters is if you take action on it.
3. Folliscope Diagnosis:
#1 and #2 are educated guesses.
The 100% sure way to determine if you have hair loss is to get a folliscope diagnosis from a dermatologist. "If early stage patients got a folliscope test, they would be able to detect hair loss before it is visually apparent" says Dr. Luna, MD.
If you have a heavy family history of hair loss and don't want to start preventive treatment until you have a confirmed diagnosis, we recommend getting this test in your 20's and 30's. In this procedure, the dermatologist will use a camera to take a photo of your scalp and then measure it using a computer software. They look for two symptoms that typically indicate male hair loss with an almost >99% criteria.
A. Hair Thickness Difference: Does the hair have difference thickness? This usually means that androgenic alopecia (male patterned hair loss) is occurring.
B. Hair Follicles per cm^2: There are average ranges of hair follicles per square cm. If your hair follicles are off this range, you may have active hair loss.