My Hair is Thinning in the Crown – Is This Hair Loss?

Thu 19 Jun 2008

I am 32, and have noticed minor hair shedding for approximately 6 months. By minor, I mean 5-6 hairs when I shampoo and maybe the same when I comb my hair. I know that losing 50-100 hairs a day or so is normal. Initially, this didn’t concern me.

However, a few days ago I noticed a slight bald spot developing at the crown of my head. At least, I  think I am. Maybe I’m paranoid?   My question is, if hair loss is caused by non-genetic reasons (stress, protein & iron deficiencies, thyroid disorder, etc.) can it show at the crown of the head? Or is that a certain sign it’s genetic? I am skeptical that it is genetic, simply because baldness is no where to be found on either side of my parents, dating back a couple generations.   However, thyroid disorders are very prominent. I plan to get tested for any such disorder.

Also, I have been under tremendous stress for a few years due to an ugly divorce and being a single, full-time parent of 2 kids. The stress got so bad that starting a few months ago, I began going to the gym 3 days a week, which has helped.

I may not be getting enough protein or iron, so I may be tested for those deficiencies as well. I have also been taking a vitamin powder 5 days a week that is very heavy in Vitamin A (300%) which I read can lead to hair loss.

So again, wondering if the thinning hair in the crown is a strong indicator of something permanent, or if temporary hair loss can show there as well.

It  sounds like you are well researched about what causes  hair loss.   As you know, the most common type is androgenic alopecia (androgenetic) or more commonly referred to as female or male pattern baldness.   Those who suffer from genetic related thinning typically follow a specific pattern like that of the norwood scale  or the ludwig scale.   A bald spot in the crown may be a good indication that you are losing hair for genetic reasons but isn’t necessarily the case.  

As you mentioned, there are factors other than genetic ones that can cause you to lose hair, but is typically characterized differently.  

Regular and even excessive every day stress won’t cause this, but traumatic stress might.   Typically this is temporary and when things settle down, hair growth continues as normal.   In your case, if stress is causing your problem, now that it is settling down, I suspect your hair will start to return to normal.   Thyroid disorder, iron deficiency, hormonal change in the body, scalp dermatitis or psoriasis, certain medication, malnutrition are typical causes of diffuse alopecia, a hair loss condition characterized by thinning hair all over the scalp or affected areas.  

Patchy loss of hair can be an indication of alopecia areata, a condition typically caused by an abnormality in the immune system.   This typically impacts one side of the scalp more than the other and in many cases, the hair will regrow on its own.   In your case, this does not sound like what you are experiencing.

It’s possible that you may just be paranoid, but if you are balding in the crown, there is a good chance that your hair loss is hereditary.

Associate Publisher of the Hair Transplant Network and the Hair Loss Learning Center
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7 Comments so far:

  1. Leo says:

    Hi, i have a question regarding hairloss, i am a 26 year old male (turned 26 a week ago)and have been noticing some hairloss at the crown more on the right side of my scalp then the left (if thats important). im not sure wether its genetics or stress/nutrition/iron deficiency related… BUT i have these small red bumps at the crown and a couple of big ones as well, ive noticed they are going away slowly but they keep coming back, it does itch from time to time but nothing severe. im wondering if the bumps have something to do with my recent hair thinning (if you call it that). its not noticable to anybody except for me. but ive had days where ive had a friend make a remark about it, but that might be because i’m really vein about my hair. yes i use “products” and have been for quite sometime now, and have stopped using it for a week or so to see if the products were the reason my hair was/is thinning. Any thoughts on what could be be causing my hair loss/ thinning? thank you in advance!

  2. Leo,

    Have you consulted with a dermatologist? I think getting these mystery bumps evaluated couldn’t hurt. That way, he/she can determine whether or not you have an infection and whether or not it’s contributing or even causing your hair loss. Other medical tests can be performed as well to rule out additional causes.

    Best wishes,

    Bill Seemiller
    Managing Publisher of this Community

  3. Kelli says:

    I’m a 27yr old female. Ever since having my child seven years agao, I have had tramatic hair loss. It seems to grow and then break off at the scalp level. It is normally in the top( around the parietal area and vertex) I understand that I’m under stress constantly but I can’t control every situation. Any advice?

  4. hamza says:

    i m 26yr old male. i have oily too much oily dandruff from 5 years now I have very thin hairs on crown when i scratch my head my nail filled with dandruff my diet is not very good also i do muster bate and have not any night fall past 5 years. please give me good advise what should I do now i m worried about it. thanks

  5. David (TakingThePlunge) says:


    Normal dandruff does not normally lead to hair loss. However, the frequent irritation, inflammation and itching in the scalp resulting from this condition can cause a temporary shedding known as telogen effluvium until the condition is adequately treated. Thus, treating your dandruff early with a quality, medicated shampoo such as Nizoral may indirectly prevent increased hair loss.

    Masturbation also has no effect on hair loss.

    If you are suffering from hair loss, I recommend that you first see a dermatologist to determine the nature of your balding. You may benefit from Rogaine (minoxidil) and Propecia (finasteride).

    David (TakingThePlunge)

  6. David says:


    I am a 19 year old male who went through severe stress 4 months ago along with a huge crash diet.

    Background info:

    I lost 20 pounds in 40 days. Turned vegan.
    I was preparing for some exams and was under constant worry. After losing the weight, I lost appetite. My facial skin also seemed to age 10 years overnight. I got dark circles and wrinkles near my mouth and forehead. After completing my diet/exercise, I only ate 1 meal a day since I lost my entire appetite.
    Blood work was done and all levels were perfect.

    Appetite has returned and skin has almost returned back to normal.

    Problem: Hair loss. I have some thinning at the crown.
    Under artificial light, it looks like thinning. However, under natural moderate sun light only it looks more like a natural whorl. Well…almost like a natural whorl.

    My hairline hasn’t receded much. Hair on top is VERY thick and grows like crazy. Hair on the sides are very
    very thin. Temple region is very thin. It could look receding under many angles, however I still have very thin and brittle hair at the place where it usually recedes. The visible crown size is a bit larger than the size of a dime. My hair dresser hasn’t said anything and no one has mentioned it to me. My maternal grandfather started balding in 50s. He is 70 and has 50% of his hair. My maternal uncle started balding in early 20s and went completely bald by 26. He has had to wear a full cap wig since 26. My paternal grandfather had good hair well into 60s. I have 5 paternal uncles. Only one went bald(I guess statistics?). The one who went bald, his son also went bald. Lastly, my father had amazing hair and he is in his early 50s. No bald spots. He has receded somewhat, but it is pretty great for a 50 year old man.

    Other info:
    -Premature greying runs in both sides of family…
    -Mother has no noticable hair loss. She mentions that
    she has stressed out hair, but she is no in her late 40s.
    -Many men on mother’s side went bald early (Except my grandfather). Both of my grandmother’s 2 brothers went bald in 30s.

    Please help me. Does slight thinning at the crown HAVE to be MPB? Can stress induced hair loss occur at the crown? In terms of genetics, I heard that the gene for genetic balding may come from the father or mother’s side. How likely am I to get it based on genetics?
    I can only pray that I follow my dad’s route or paternal granddad, or maternal grandad.

    I tried saw palmetto for one month and got sides. I can’t use treatments…

    I wash my hair every 5 days with cold green tea. I usually notice ~75 fallen hairs. I heard this is fine because we lose 100 daily and many of them get stuck in the hair.

    My crown is recently itchy too. I have a crazy sex drive, which suggests that I may have alot of T/DHT.
    Also, body hair falls out like crazy. I counted 25 body hairs in shower (excluding ones that may have gone through the drain). Pubic hair falls out at even the slightest tug. My head hair does not do this however.

    Please help me!

  7. David says:

    Update: The crown bald spot is dime sized. Under harsh artificial light (12in from head, the hairs surrounding the dime bald spot seem more see-through).

    Hair has been thinning on sides since I was 17. I have posted pics, and people tell me that it is odd. Thinning is in normal temple area but also slightly extends to the sideburns and area near ear. Sideburns aren’t as thick as they once were. No one notices my thinning sides, because I oddly use my thick hair on top to gently cover the sides. Some isolated hairs exist near entire hairline. The top hasn’t receded yet.

    I never really cared about hair loss or noticed it until 1 month ago when I used my camera to check the back of my head for any white hairs.

    So I am wondering how long I have had it for….

    Oddly enough… We were watching a video of when I was 2 years old. I could see noticeable scalp in this same area lol. However, I bet it was just the way my hair was styled back then. Now, I have to use a comb and spend a good 5 minutes giving myself a naturally looking hair whorl. This sort of hides the spot.

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