A hair whorl is a patch of hair growing in a circular direction around a visible center point. Hair whorls occur in most hairy animals, on the body as well as on the head. Hair whorls, also known as crowns, swirls, or trichoglyphs, can be either clockwise or counterclockwise in direction of growth.
Everyone has a whorl in their hair on the crown of the head and for the most part they typically grow clockwise or counterclockwise. Most patients refer to hair whorls as “bald spots,” but technically, they’re not the same. Bald spots are commonly caused by genetic male pattern hair loss.
Is Hair Whorl The Same As Hair Loss?
A cowlick is a pattern of hair growth, while balding describes hair loss, whether temporary or permanent. Since there is a spot of visible skin at the center of a cowlick’s swirl, cowlicks can create the illusion of hair loss or thinning hair. However, looking up close, you may see plenty of follicles.
Does Balding Start At The Whorl?
Generally the loss in this area is mild. Some men develop noticeable bitemporal recession and this may precede hair loss elsewhere on the scalp by many years. Secondly, hair loss on the crown starts around the whorl (at the back of the head), and spreads outwards in all directions to produce a circular baldness.
Are Whorls of Hair Essentially Bald Spots?
The definition of a hair whorl is when hair grows in a circular pattern around a discernible center point on the scalp. Everyone does, in fact, have a hair whorl; the male and female whorls are identical. Some people may even have more than two hair whorls—occasionally even three—in their head.
Typically, a friend or family member will look down at our heads while we are sitting and comment, “Beware, you’re becoming bald!” This seemingly unimportant comment can, however, cause great anxiety in some people, especially in children and teenagers. Young people, usually between the ages of 16 and 35, who are concerned about this issue frequently take pictures of their own crowns and post them on online discussion boards, asking for advice because they are unsure whether what they see is simply a simple whorl or the first step towards baldness.
First and foremost, it’s crucial to avoid obsessing over this subject and, of course, focusing too much on other people’s opinions. Most of the time, those who make such remarks are joking and are simply repeating a joke they themselves have already experienced. And if we photograph our crown to check on our own for hair problems, we’ll typically only see the natural whirlpool that, as we previously mentioned, exists in every single person’s head.
It is true that, if alopecia manifests, that whirlpool can gradually lose hair density and grow into a large hair whorl, and then a bald spot; however, if that happens, it typically takes many years. And, as you might have guessed, it is virtually impossible to tell from a simple photograph of our head taken during childhood or adolescence whether that is simply a large hair whorl or balding because baldness takes time and depends on a variety of factors.
However, many young people become alarmed when the whirlpool is brought to their attention. Simply because they were unaware that it existed. They also frequently use flash and mobile cameras when taking pictures, which increases contrast and gives the illusion that the whirlpool is bigger and has fewer hairs. Additionally, some haircuts and hairstyles can give the impression that the crown of our heads has less hair than it actually does. In any case, speaking with an expert is your best course of action if you still have questions about your hair whorl.