A receding hairline is when the hair from the hairline (edges of the head) falls out, and new hair does not grow back. This makes the hairline move inwards from the forehead, sides, and back towards the crown. Humans lose hair every day, which is replaced by new hair. But if the hair follicles are damaged or there are any underlying conditions, there is no new hair growth. This leads to a receding hairline.
Receding of the hairline always begins from the temples, which gradually moves backward, taking the shape of “M.” Some people might also experience balding at the top of the scalp.
A receding hairline is caused when the hair at the edges of the head falls out in the telogen phase, and new hair does not grow back. There are several reasons for this to happen. Let’s take a look at the various causes of a receding hairline in the following section.
Table Of Contents
What Causes A Receding Hairline?
- Alopecia: Frontal fibrosing alopecia occurs mostly in postmenopausal women (3). The immune system attacks the hair follicles and damages the cells, causing hair loss and inhibiting new hair growth. It recedes the hairline up to 5 inches inwards. This form of alopecia is mainly caused due to genetic factors.
- Styling The Hair: Tight hairstyles that pull the hair at the roots might cause hair loss. Styling tools like irons and curlers that use heat can also cause hair damage.
- Chemicals: Hair dyeing and perming affect the hair above the scalp (4). Hair dyes contain chemicals that change the cuticle structure and may cause a receding hairline.
- Pregnancy: The hormonal shifts, stress, health issues, and nutrient deficiencies during pregnancy may lead to a condition called teflogen effluvium. In this condition, the hair strands stop growing and go into the resting phase and fall out (5).
- Weight Loss: Weight loss can affect hair growth and lead to hair loss at the hairlines.
- Trichotillomania: Trichotillomania is a disorder in which a person pulls out their own hair (6). It can be a cause of receding hairline as the hair at the hairline is the easiest to reach and pull out.
- Stress: Stress, whether environmental, social, or psychological, is a common cause of hair loss (7), (8). Stress causes an increase in free radical production, which can lead to hair damage and hair loss.
- Nutrient Deficiency: Deficiencies of vitamins A, B, C, D, and E, iron, selenium, and zinc have shown to cause hair loss (9). However, it is unclear if they play any role in a receding hairline.
- Medication And Treatments: Hair loss can be caused due to medication. Chemotherapy also causes the hair to fall. Medications like voriconazole lead to alopecia (10). But it is unclear if medicines play a role in receding hairline.
- Hormonal Changes: Estrogen, prolactin, thyroid hormone, cortisone, growth hormone (GH), and melatonin play a role in hair growth (11). Hormonal changes enhance the hair follicle’s sensitivity, weakening the roots and causing hair fall.
- Scalp Hygiene: The hair shaft is made of dead cells, and the living part is the follicle, which is under the epidermis. When the scalp accumulates buildup and dirt, the pores are clogged. The clogged pores do not allow the follicles to receive the required nutrition. This might damage the follicles, causing hair fall and preventing the growth of new hair.
If you are experiencing hair loss, consult a dermatologist for proper diagnosis of the underlying condition. They will take an in-depth look at your personal and family history of hair loss. The doctor might also do a few tests to identify the root cause of hair loss.
How To Diagnose A Receding Hairline
- Pull Test – The dermatologist pulls your hair to examine how many hairs fall out and how easily they do.
- Scalp Tissue Biopsy – A biopsy of your scalp tissue may help detect a scalp infection that is causing the hair loss.
- Blood Test – Doctors also suggest a blood test to determine if you have any underlying condition like thyroid disease that may cause hair loss.
There are no ways to stop hair fall permanently. However, you can minimize or slow down its effect in various ways. Scroll down to know more!
Ways To Stop Receding Hair Line
- Maintain A Healthy Diet – Just like our body, our hair is also affected by our regular diet. Hence, maintaining a healthy diet helps strengthen the hair and reduce hair breakage. Deficiency of minerals, vitamins (B, C, D, and E), iron, and zinc might lead to hair loss (9). Thus, consume leafy vegetables, nuts, and seeds to maintain hair health.
- Medications – Minoxidil and anthralin are common medications to reduce hair fall. A study showed that a 5% topical minoxidil solution could improve hair loss in men (12). The topical application of anthralin controls inflammation of the hair follicles. Hence, anthralin is considered a therapeutic option for severe alopecia areata (13).
- Hair Transplant – Hair transplant is implanting artificial hair on your scalp to give a fuller appearance to the hairline. In this process, doctors take hair from other parts of the scalp and implant it in the affected area.
- Scalp Massage – According to research, regular scalp massage helps enhance blood circulation to the scalp and increases hair thickness (14).
- Essential Oils – Rosemary and peppermint essential oils help reduce hair loss and promote healthy hair growth. Researchers have found that the topical application of peppermint oil could enhance hair growth in mice without affecting body weight and food efficiency (15). Rosemary oil can help in the treatment of androgenetic alopecia (16).
While there is no definite cure for receding hairline, here are some tips you can follow to prevent hair loss.
Hair Care Tips For A Receding Hairline
Note: Be gentle while you are massaging, combing, or drying your hair. Make sure you do not pull your hair.
- Avoid tight hairstyles. Hairstyles that pull your hair can cause severe hair loss, especially at the hairline. Avoid styling your hair in tight braids andponytails Let your hair rest naturally, especially during the recovery phase.
- Wet hair can be stretched 70% more than normal. Thus, drying your hair harshly can weaken it and cause hair breakage. Try scrunching or pat drying your hair.
- Massage your scalp regularly to help improve blood circulation. This, in turn, enhances hair length and density (14).
- Use combs as per your hair structure. If you have curly or kinky hair, use a bristle brush as it is not harsh on your curls. For wavy or straight hair, use a wide-toothed comb to remove tangles and knots, and a fine-toothed comb for hair styling.
- Do not comb wet hair as it tends to be more porous. This can lead to severe hair damage and breakage. If you have curly or kinky hair, you can comb it gently when wet.
- Avoid hair care products with sulfates, silicones, and parabens. These harsh chemicals might cause hair damage and brittleness and form heavy buildup on the scalp.
- Avoid chemical treatments like hair coloring, straightening, or perming. These treatments can damage and break the hair.
- Wash your hair at least once every three days keep the scalp clean. If you have oily hair, wash it every alternate day. Clean hair and scalp help boost hair health.
- Deep condition your hair once a week to keep it hydrated and nourished. Conditioners contain concentrated, active ingredients that strengthen your hair. Deep conditioning treatments for 5-10 minutes can go a long way in curbing hair loss.
- If your hair loss is due to nutrient deficiencies, consider taking supplements for them. Consult a doctor to ensure you do not have a supplementary overdose, as some vitamins, if taken in excess, might cause hair loss.
- Do yoga or exercise regularly to help relieve stress.
The following section answers a few questions related to the receding hairline. Scroll down to know more!
When To See A Doctor?
Although thinning hair and hair fall is normal, excessive hair loss may require medical attention. Consult a physician or dermatologist in case of excessive hair loss or patchy spots.
How Long Does A Receding Hairline Take To Grow Back?
It may take up to six months to get visible results from the above tips or over-the-counter treatments. However, every person is different, and hence, the results will also vary according to individual conditions.
Genetics, aging, and hormonal changes are some of the common contributing factors to hair loss. Although there are no proven ways to stop your hairline from receding, you can slow down the process. With proper diet and treatments, you might notice a visible reduction in hair shedding. Follow the hair care tips listed above to prevent a receding hairline and regrow your hair.
- Male Androgenetic Alopecia
- Female pattern hair loss: A clinical, pathophysiologic, and therapeutic review
- Frontal fibrosing alopecia: efficacy of treatment modalities
- Receding hairlines: Prevalence, importance, causes, prevention and remediations among Nigerian city women
- Telogen Effluvium: A Review
- Trichotillomania (hair pulling disorder), skin picking disorder, and stereotypic movement disorder: toward DSM‐V
- Burden of hair loss: stress and the underestimated psychosocial impact of telogen effluvium and androgenetic alopecia
- Stress and the hair follicle: Exploring the connections
- The role of vitamins and minerals in hair loss: a review
- Alopecia and nail changes associated with voriconazole therapy
- Hormones and hair growth
- A randomized clinical trial of 5% topical minoxidil versus 2% topical minoxidil and placebo in the treatment of androgenetic alopecia in men
- Evaluation of anthralin in the treatment of alopecia areata
- Standardized scalp massage results in increased hair thickness by inducing stretching forces to dermal papilla cells in the subcutaneous tissue
- Peppermint oil promotes hair growth without toxic signs
- Rosemary oil vs minoxidil 2% for the treatment of androgenetic alopecia: a randomized comparative trial