Many years ago when I first started seeing some differences in the thickness and quantity of my hair, I started to become aware of people talking about the phrase thinning & balding. I thought that they were both describing the same thing but just using different words. It was several years later when I went to have my scalp analyzed that I finally discovered the real difference between thinning & balding.
The technicians plucked out hair samples from the top of my head. Then they took samples from the sides and back of my head. When I saw the difference in the two hair samples under a powerful microscope, it became obvious to me that thinning & balding had two different meanings. The hair samples from the top of my head were very thin and skinny upon magnification. The hair from the sides and back of my head were thick and coarse. I remember that the hair on top of my head was about 1/10th the thickness or diameter as the hair from the back and sides.
I realized that it was possible to still have hair on the top of the head even though it appeared that it was bald. The size and volume of hair can shrink so much that it appears to be gone and bald. In fact, there may still be a lot of hair on top which has just become so thin in diameter and thickness that it appears to be totally gone.
I was lucky to have fairly good hair on top of my head which was not all 1/10th the size of what it had previously been. But my hair was much thinner on top than when I was a teenager. This gives me the opportunity to use good conditioners and thickeners to create the illusion of the thicker hair when I was younger.
The hair on the back and sides is still as thick as it was when I was 18 years old. From everything I know about that hair on the sides and back of the head, it will always be thick and coarse. It doesn’t usually go into the thinning & balding phase like the hair on top does. This is one reason why in hair replacement surgery, hair is extracted from the back and sides to transplant up on the top of the head. It doesn’t change later and give in to thinning & balding like the top hair does.
We have clients who come into our Salt Lake City barber shop who had hair replacement surgery more than twenty years ago and the transplanted hair is still growing strong and looking great. It seems to be genetically different from the hair on top of the head. It doesn’t get into the thinning & balding phase like the hair on top does.
So the next time you hear the phrase thinning & balding, you will have a more precise understanding of what they are talking about.