The symptoms of male pattern baldness are obvious: a man notices that his hairline is receding up his head or that a bald spot has developed on the top of his head. Normally, a dermatologist can diagnose hair loss with a scalp examination.
Healthcare providers may also use a pattern baldness classification system to diagnose male pattern baldness. There are seven basic types of pattern baldness, depending on which areas of the scalp are balding. For instance, men with type IV pattern baldness have a moderately receding hairline and a small bald spot on the top of the head while those with type VII pattern balding only have hair on the sides of the head.
Diagnostic tests are rarely needed, but sometimes diagnosis by observation can be difficult. A dermatologist may take a hair sample and examine it under a microscope to determine what may have caused the balding. If the skin is irritated or unhealthy looking, he or she may also take a skin biopsy and analyze a portion of the scalp to determine what type of hair loss the patient has.