What is the Savin Scale?

The Savin scale is a type of evaluative chart specifically used to measure the most common types of female pattern hair loss (FPH). In addition to listing common FPH patterns, it is also used to determine the varying degrees of hair thinning as well. The other popular FPH measuring system, called the Ludwig scale, does not take hair density into account. It’s important to note that this measuring system is not limited to females, but rather only those who are experiencing FPH. Men can experience FPH, and are therefore candidates for this evaluative scale as well.

How does the Savin Scale Measure Hair Loss?

The Savin scale provides alpha-numerically coded pictures that depict different types of FPH, and at different stages. These pictures measure hair loss in three areas of the scalp. They are:

  • Frontal Loss – this scale measures hair loss around the hairline and temples, which is typically more prevalent with male pattern hair loss (MPH) than FPH, but still can occur with FPH nonetheless. If there is FPH frontal hair loss, the corners of the hairline begin to recede until there is eventually only hair on the sides of the head and the midscalp. The alpha-numeric code ranges from F1 (minimal hair recession) all the way to F6 (heavy recession all the way to midscalp).
  • Midscalp – this scale measures hair loss that occurs at the middle of the scalp. Hair loss in this region starts as a widening part that eventually becomes a circular area of loss. The alpha-numeric code ranges from M1 (which looks like a normal part) to M5 (which is a circular patch of hair loss in the middle of the scalp).
  • Crown – again, this is far more prevalent with MPH, but does tend to happen with FPH as well, though usually to a lesser extent. Crown hair loss refers to thinning at the top of the head, towards the back. The alpha-numeric code for this region ranges from V1 (little loss) to V7 (a large circular patch of hair loss towards the posterior scalp, at the top.

What is the Purpose of the Savin Scale?

This chart has two major uses:

  • Medical evaluation – these charts allow doctors and patients to identify how far the FPH has progressed, and also clearly illustrates the different levels of severity that are possible in the future. Doctors can essentially use this chart as a reference guide when determining ways to treat FPH.
  • Research evaluation – these charts provide a clear set of alpha-numeric terms for research experts to use when discussing their findings. In other words, the researchers will be able to share their findings by using a uniform set of agreed upon terms. Using a predetermined set of definitions helps avoids confusion and uncertainty.

Is FPH Guaranteed to Follow all Steps of the Savin Scale?

No, absolutely not. In fact, many people experiencing FPH will not advance to the final stages at all. These pictures are simply references as to what may happen. The degree of hair loss always depends on the individual.

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