I Can See My Scalp Through My Hair – Am I Balding? (Male)

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It’s perfectly normal to take the opportunity to check that we’re looking our best when we see a mirror. Most men will check their hair is in place – but what’s that shine on top?

Anxiety over hair loss is normal and when you’re proud of your appearance, any potential sign of balding or thinning is bound to be a worry.

But is it normal to see your scalp through your hair? What if you can only see your scalp when your hair is wet? Read on to find out…

What does a normal wet hair scalp look like?

It’s normal to be able to see your scalp when your hair is wet. Hairs stick together forming clumps, each of which pull the individual hairs into the same place, matting the hair down and exposing the scalp. A little scalp visibility is therefore nothing to worry about.

If your normal wet hair scalp is visible, you may have the same issue with hair products like wax and gel. If you’re worried your hair is too thin for the wet look, it’s a good idea to apply less and use a dry-look hold product.

Alternatively go for a hairstyle that allows you to keep your hair dry and free of product, where it will naturally cover the scalp more.

If I can see my scalp when my hair is wet, does it mean I’m going bald?

Everyone’s hair is different and if the scalp is showing excessively it may be a sign of balding or thinning hair. If you’re noticing that you can see your scalp more than you used to, start taking pictures of your hair every couple of weeks and see if you notice a difference over time.

Chances are, if it’s just that your hair looks thin when wet, you’re experiencing more general, natural thinning as you age. It’s less likely to be Male Pattern Baldness, which is more noticeable in areas like the crown and hairline rather than all over.

Read more: Cowlick or Balding? How To ‘Spot’ The Difference

However, if you are in the early stages of MPB, it will definitely be more noticeable when your hair is wet.

My hair is so thin I can see my scalp – what next?

Use a hand-held mirror or your phone’s camera to reflect the back of your head in a wall-mounted mirror. Is the scalp particularly visible around the crown? When you pull your fringe backward, does your hairline seem further back than normal?

If so, you may be in the early stages of Male Pattern Baldness. It’s incredibly common, and while it can be a hard thing to get used to, it’s definitely not a disaster (yes, even when it comes to dating).

Read more: Do Women Like Bald Men?

Why can I see my scalp through my hair?

Being able to see your scalp through your hair is the most obvious sign of balding, especially if it becomes more visible over time. It’s normal to see your scalp with wet hair, but as we age hair becomes thinner and less able to cover the scalp.

As mentioned above, it may be that your hair is just thinning and that you have nothing to worry about. It happens to all men as we age, and doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll lose it all.

For some, it is one of the first signs of Male Pattern Baldness, especially if the hair is thinner around the crown and if the hairline is starting to recede. Others might simply be missing some nutrients from their diet, feeling particularly stressed, or have a thyroid issue – all of which can cause hair to thin temporarily.

I can see my scalp under light – is this normal?

It’s normal to be able to see your scalp under light, especially if you have shorter hair. Longer hair bends to cover the scalp, while short hair sticks up and doesn’t provide as much cover. If your hair is thinning, a light will reflect more of your scalp.

If you have to shine a light directly onto your head to see your scalp, it doesn’t sound like you have much to worry about. Some people notice their scalp more in photos due to the flash, but this is the case for everyone depending on your hairstyle and how directly the flash hits your head.

As a result, many people who eventually lose their hair first notice it thinning in photos where the flash bounces through their thin strands. BUT that doesn’t mean that everyone who sees their scalp under a flash will go bald.

Sometimes it’s just due to the way the hair is being pulled by a certain hairstyle, exposing the scalp at just the right angle. As mentioned above, wet-look hair products won’t help either, as they cause the hair to clump together and expose more of the scalp to the camera.

Does long hair show more scalp?

Long hair can show more scalp due to the extra weight pulling the hairs away from each other at the parting. However, short hair can also be an issue as it stands on end rather than bending to cover more of the scalp. 

Aesthetically, long hair is usually the wrong choice for someone who is experiencing hair loss. As well as the ‘pulling’ effect described above, it simply attracts attention to your hair and makes it more likely that people will focus here rather than on other physical and facial features.

It’s a problem that aging rockers face all the time. Having spent their youth creating a signature look, they face the problem of male pattern baldness later in life.

For example, Poison singer Bret Michaels appears to be bald or balding underneath his bandana. However, the singer has even gone as far as to combine what’s left of his hair with what he calls ‘the finest hair extensions money can buy’.

Is it normal to see your scalp when you lift your hair up?

It’s completely normal to see your scalp when you lift your hair up. While it might be worrying the first time you see it, it’s not something to be ashamed of or feel self-conscious about. In fact, it’s quite common, especially if you have fine or thin hair.

Your hair is made up of tiny hair follicles that grow out of your scalp. When these follicles are spaced apart or not as tightly packed, it can allow light to pass through, making your scalp more visible.

This is especially true if you have lighter-colored hair or if you’re standing in a bright area with lots of natural light.

However, if you’re noticing an excessive amount of scalp showing, or if it’s accompanied by thinning hair in other areas, it could be an early sign of male pattern baldness.

At this point, just monitor your hairline and crown over time. If it stays the same, it’s likely that you just have thin hair and haven’t noticed this before.

If the thinning progresses, you’re probably balding. The good news is that you’re aware of it, and you can take action.

How do you stop your scalp from showing?

Mid-length hair is best to conceal an exposed scalp. Allowing the hair to bend in order to hide the scalp is a better bet than growing it too long and causing the weight to pull the hair away from the scalp if you’re concerned about people noticing.

If your hair is thinning it’s probably just part of the natural aging process. However, by eating well, exercising, and staying free from stress, it is possible to keep hair thicker and even reverse temporary hair loss if caused by one of these factors.

There are also a number of hair-thickening products on the market, including this highly-rated shampoo and conditioner set:

Biotin Shampoo and Conditioner Set for Hair Growth

  • Contains Biotin as well as Hydrolyzed keratin, Spirulina extract and several other nutrient rich botanicals
  • Supports hair growth by blocking DHT
  • A safe daily hair treatment for color-treated hair, curly hair, dry hair, highlighted hair, bleached hair & oily dry brittle or frizzy hair

Biotin’s product says it’s suitable for those with curly hair, which is encouraging. Men with curls often notice Male Pattern Baldness quicker because of the tendency to over-style and excessively detangle their hair.

This leads to hair breakage which makes receding or thinning hair more obvious by causing the loss of healthy hair. This often makes it look like people with curly hair go bald quicker than those with straight hair.

There are also hair thickening sprays like Boldify which give instantly thicker-looking hair for those who are suffering temporary hair loss:

BOLDIFY Hair Thickening Spray

  • Thicker, more voluminous hair in 60 seconds
  • Unique non-sticky formula
  • Washes out cleanly & easily
  • Best For: Medium to Oily hair of all lengths and colors
  • Made responsibly in the USA

Of course, if you are in the process of losing your hair rather than just suffering temporary thinning, then over time these products will be less effective (less hair = less hair to thicken!).

Summary – is it normal to see your scalp through your hair?

If you can see your scalp, don’t panic. It’s totally normal, especially when the hair is wet or under bright light, including camera flashes.

If you start to see the scalp more over time, it could be a sign of naturally thinning hair (which happens to us all as we age) or the start of Male Pattern Baldness, especially if it’s showing more in certain areas.

If your hair is on its way out, it’s always better to embrace it than to try to cling onto the last strands of your once luscious locks. If you’re worried about your appearance, click here to find out how to look good bald.

Be confident enough in yourself to trim or shave it down – bald looks 1,000 times better than balding.

Shaved head - before and after

If you try the shaved head look and you don’t like it, you can always grow it back and consider your options. And don’t worry, shaving your head doesn’t make you go bald or affect the way your hair grows in any way.

Improved looks are just one of the many benefits of shaving your head. If you’re not sure it’ll suit you, this might help: What would I look like bald?

If you decide to take the plunge, you’ll need the right tools for the job. Here is my recommendation for the best electric shaver for shaving your head.

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This post was written by Matt:

I've been shaving my head for nearly 20 years. I'm here to share that experience, good and bad, help you embrace your hair loss, and live your best bald life.

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