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How to stop a receding hairline

How to stop a receding hairline

Stefano Mirabello NowPatientGreen tick
Medically reviewed by Stefano Mirabello, BPharm and written by Rajive Patel, BPharm - Updated on 4 Sep 2023
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Table of contents
OverviewWhat is a receding hairline?What causes a receding hairline?How fast does a hairline recede?Do haircuts cause receding hairlines?Does tying your hair up cause a receding hairline?How to prevent a receding hairlineHow to line up a receding hairlineHairstyles for a receding hairlineSources

Ok. So you looked in the mirror. Shock! It’s started to happen. You knew it would one day and today is that day. Or perhaps you’ve been denying it for a while? Whichever scenario applies to you, a receding hairline is something so many guys have to deal with. And you’ve got to do exactly that – deal with it. Here’s how.

What is a receding hairline?

Your hairline is the front of your hair above your forehead. A receding hairline is when you start to go bald along your hairline. As you lose hair it looks as if your hairline is moving backward. Hence the name receding.

Receding hairlines in men usually recede faster at the corners above the temples, creating a V-like hairline with more hair at the center. This is also called a ‘widow’s peak’. Hair often begins to thin first along your hairline before it recedes. A receding hairline is often accompanied by thinning and hair loss on the top of your head too. This is mainly towards the back (your crown).

What causes a receding hairline?

A whole range of things can cause hair loss – from a poor diet to stress, illness, or medication. But these tend to cause hair loss all over your head. A receding hairline is most often a sign you have male pattern baldness (MPB).

MPB is a type of hair loss that’s caused by the hair follicles in your scalp (the holes that hairs grow out of) reacting to hormones in your blood. The hormone most to blame is called dihydrotestosterone (DHT). It’s no real surprise that it’s made from testosterone.

As you age DHT can cause the hair follicles in your scalp to shrink over time and eventually close up altogether. As your follicles shrink the hairs they produce become shorter and finer until no hair is produced at all. This is why your hair thins before you lose it. For most men, DHT affects the follicles along your hairline and your crown first, which is why hair loss often starts in those areas.

How fast does a hairline recede?

Hairlines recede at different speeds for different men. Sometimes once the receding begins it happens quickly. For some men, the receding is slow while for other men it stops and starts. On average it takes between 15-25 years for a receding hairline to turn into baldness.

Do haircuts cause receding hairlines?

Getting your hair cut won’t cause it to thin or fall out. Your hairs follow a growth cycle. They grow then shed and are then replaced by new hairs. Cutting them won’t affect this. A receding hairline is most often caused by male pattern baldness – a condition where hair follicles in your scalp shrink and produce progressively finer and shorter hairs.

Does tying your hair up cause a receding hairline?

It can do. Tying your hair up too tightly can result in a type of hair loss along the hairline called traction alopecia. This is caused by repeatedly pulling on your hair. In the early stages of the condition if you stop pulling your hair should grow back. If you don’t stop however your hair loss can become permanent. If you tie your hair up make sure you don’t do it too tightly.

How to prevent a receding hairline

Are you asking yourself “how can I protect my hairline?”. If your hairline is receding because you have male pattern baldness you need to address the underlying cause. This is DHT. You can do this with a male pattern baldness treatment called finasteride.

Finasteride (also sold as Propecia) is a prescription medication. It stops an enzyme (called type II 5α-reductase) from converting testosterone to DHT. This lowers DHT levels in your scalp which slows and stops your hair follicles from shrinking along your hairline and encourages your hair to grow back thicker.

Other medications for MPB include minoxidil (Rogaine), which is applied directly to your scalp and helps prevent hair loss by improving the flow of blood, oxygen, and nutrients to your hair follicles. Minoxidil and finasteride can be used together.

You do have other options outside of these medications but they tend to be a little more extreme. These include a hair transplant along your hairline or a micropigmentation treatment (like having a tattoo along your hairline). We recommend starting with finasteride.

How to line up a receding hairline

If you have longer hair it can be very difficult to line up a receding hairline. It’s best to talk to a professional hairstylist about it. If you shave your hair yourself you can line up the front of your hair, but it still won’t be easy and the chances are you won’t be fooling anyone except yourself. A better alternative is to opt for a more suitable haircut.

Hairstyles for a receding hairline

Changing your hairstyle won’t stop your hairline from receding but a suitable hairstyle can make it less obvious.

And whilst we’re on the subject of hairstyles, we need to get something out of the way first. Don’t try and hide your receding hairline or a bald spot. Comb-overs and long fringes aren’t going to fool anyone. They’re going to do the opposite. They’re going to draw attention to your missing hair and frankly, they look ridiculous. Don’t even think about it.

Better options for a receding hairline are the French crop, a faux hawk, or the buzz cut.

As you start to lose hair at the corners of your hairline a French crop is a suitable style to opt for. It’s a hairstyle where hair is cut or shaved at the sides and back of the head and left longer on top (think Cillian Murphy in Peaky Blinders). The short hair at the sides helps to draw the eye away from your hairline at the corners.

If you’ve lost more hair along your hairline opt for a faux hawk. This is where your hair is short at the sides, longer on top, and peaked towards the center. It should direct attention to the front and center of your hairline.

And then there’s the buzz cut. This is you taking control. As you lose more hair why not embrace it and shave your hair short?

Receding hairline bothering you? It’s time to take control.


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