How do you tell the difference between hairline recession and early balding? The first way to tell is to measure the distance of the hairline from the highest crease in the furrowed brow. In this 24 year old, the hairline is just starting to rise from the highest crease, a distance of not more than 3/4 inch is the point at which recession becomes the diagnosis. The corners rise more because the original hairline of the pre-adolescent male hugs the highest crease of the furrowed brow as the hairline takes on a ‘V’ shape.
The second way to tell is to measure the hair bulk in different parts of the head. I did this on this young man and found that there is no hair loss in any portion of the hair on his head. The bulk behind the frontal hairline and in the crown, was equal to the hair bulk in the back of his head. That tells me that there is not even the slightest amount of balding.
Between the location of the hairline and the normal hair bulk I measured, this patient does not have male pattern balding at least, at this time. He will come back yearly for rechecks if he is worried about his hair situation. Any surgeon who would suggest transplanting this patient would be guilty of malpractice.
The pictures below tell the story with appropriate labels. Click to enlarge.