It is not too difficult to notice a receding hairline. Often, a receding hairline is construed as the first sign of hair loss. A few people believe that a receding hairline is a form of alopecia. You can find a plethora of YouTube videos that tell you how to prevent your hairline from moving back. In this article, we break down what a receding hairline is and what its main causes are. We will also look at some remedies to help curb hair loss at the hairline. Read on to know more!
Table Of Contents
What Causes A Receding Hairline?
A receding hairline is when hair from the hairline (edges of the head) falls out, and new hair does not grow back. This makes the hairline move inwards at the front, sides, and back towards the crown. Research shows that receding hairlines are a common hair issue for women (1). Some studies suggest that age plays a role in RH, but there is not much scientific backing for it.
If you want to understand how your hairline recedes, you need to understand hair growth.
Understanding Hair Growth
Hair growth consists of four phases: anagen, catagen, telogen, and neogen.
Stage 1: Anagen
This is the phase in which the hair grows out from the follicles, and the shaft is continuously constructed, increasing the length of the hair. This phase can last for 2-6 years.
Stage 2: Catagen
In this phase, your hair prepares to go into resting. This stage can last for about 2 weeks.
Stage 3: Telogen
The last phase is the resting phase in which the hair stops growing and eventually falls out to let new hair replace it. This phase lasts for about 5-6 weeks.
Stage 4: Neogen And Exogen
Neogen is the regeneration stage of a hair follicle, where a new follicle grows in place of the old one. Exogen is the releasing of the old anagen.
A receding hairline is caused when hair at the edges falls out in the telogen phase, and new hair doesn’t grow back (1). There are quite a few reasons for this to happen.
Causes Of A Receding Hairline
- Alopecia: Frontal fibrosing alopecia is an autoimmune disease. It occurs in postmenopausal women (2). The immune system attacks the hair follicles and damages the cells in them. This causes hair to fall out and inhibits new hair growth. It can cause the hairline to recede up to 5 inches inwards. This form of alopecia is mainly caused due to genetic factors.
- Styling Hair: Hairstyles that are too tight pull on hair at the roots. This can cause hair loss. Using styling tools, like irons, curlers, etc., that need heat can cause damage to the hair.
- Chemicals: One of the most causes of RH is hair-dyeing (1). Hair dyes contain chemicals that change the structure of hair and may cause RH.
- Pregnancy: Pregnancy is known to cause hair loss, mainly at the hairline (1). After pregnancy, hair is said to grow back normally.
- Weight Loss: Weight loss can affect hair growth and cause hair to fall out at the hairlines.
- Trichotillomania: Trichotillomania is a disorder in which a person pulls out their own hair (3). It can be a cause of RH as the hair at the hairline is the easiest to reach and pull out.
- Stress: Stress is a common cause of hair loss, whether it is oxidative, physical, or psychological (4), (5). Stress causes an increase in free radical production, which causes damage and hair loss.
- Nutrient Deficiency: 66eficiencies in iron, vitamin C, folate, and other important nutrients have shown to cause hair loss (6). However, it is unclear if they play a major role in causing a receding hairline.
- Medication: Hair loss can be caused due to medication. Chemotherapy is known to cause hair fall. Medications like voriconazole are known to cause loss (7). But it is unclear whether medicine plays a role in causing receding hairline.
- Hormonal Changes: Hormonal changes increase the sensitivity of the hair follicles, weakening the roots and causing hair to fall. Hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, menopause, etc. are hormonal changes that may cause hair loss (8).
- Scalp Hygiene: The hair shaft is made up of dead cells, so the living part of the hair is the follicle, which is underneath the epidermis. When the scalp is unclean with build-up and dirt, the pores are clogged. These clogged pores don’t allow the follicles to get the nutrition they need. This can cause damage to the follicles, causing hair to fall but new hair not to grow.
Medical treatments, like hair transplantation, can help you cover up hair loss and may even stimulate natural hair growth. But these procedures can be expensive. While there is no definite cure for RH, here are some hair care tips you can follow to prevent hair loss.
Hair Care Tips For A Receding Hairline
The key to prevent a receding hairline is to be gentle! Whether you are massaging, combing, or drying your hair, make sure you don’t pull your hair.
- Another important factor is to avoid tight hairstyles. Hairstyles that pull your hair can cause serious hair loss, especially at the hairline. Avoid styling your hair in tight braids, ponytails, etc. on an everyday basis. Allow your hair to rest naturally, especially during the recovery phase. Once your hair gets back to the original hairline, style your hair in tight hairstyles but not too often or too tight.
- When your hair is wet, it can be stretched 70% more than normal. If you dry your hair too harshly, it can cause hair breakage and weakening. When drying your hair, instead of being rigorous, try scrunch drying or pat drying your hair.
- Massaging your scalp regularly can help improve blood circulation. This, in turn, can increase hair length and density (9).
- It is very important to use combs that benefit your hair structure. If you have curly or kinky hair, use a bristle brush as it is not harsh on your curls. If you have 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 your hair when it is wet. As mentioned above, wet hair can stretch up to 70% more. Wet hair also tends to be more porous. This can lead to serious hair damage and breakage. If you have curly or kinky hair, comb your hair gently when it is wet. But remember to be extra careful.
- Avoid products with sulfates, silicones, and parabens. These harsh chemicals can cause damage, hair brittleness, and also heavy build up on the scalp.
- One of the best ways to prevent hair loss is to avoid chemical treatments, like hair coloring, straightening, perming, etc. These treatments can damage and break hair.
- Wash your hair at least once every three days to boost scalp and hair cleanliness. If you have oily hair, wash it every other day. Keeping your hair and scalp clean can help boost hair health.
- Deep conditioning your hair at least once a week can help hydrate and nourish your hair. Conditioners contain concentrated amounts of chemicals that can nourish and strengthen your hair. Deep conditioning treatments of 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 make sure you have nutrient deficiencies, as taking excess amounts of some vitamins might cause hair loss.
- Consider taking up yoga or exercising regularly as they help relieve stress.
There are no proven ways to stop your hairline from receding once it begins. But you can slow down the hair loss by following the above tips and using a combination of home remedies and over-the-counter treatments. These may be different for each person, depending on the rate of hair loss. Hence, it is best to consult a dermatologist for a solution.
- Eneh, Onyenekenwa & Ogbuefi-Chima, F. (2013). “RECEDING HAIRLINES: PREVALENCE, IMPORTANCE, CAUSES, PREVENTION AND REMEDIATIONS AMONG NIGERIAN CITY WOMEN.” Journal of Applied Sciences and Development. 4. 17-53.
- Gamret, A. & Potluri, V. & Krishnamurthy, Karthik & Fertig, Raymond. (2019). “Frontal fibrosing alopecia: efficacy of treatment modalities.” International Journal of Women’s Health. Volume 11. 273-285.
- Olusoji, Eunice & Adesina, Miracle & Kanmodi, Kehinde. (2018). “Trichotillomania: Hair Pulling Disorder.” World News of Natural Sciences, 2543-542.
- Hadshiew, Ina M et al. “Burden of hair loss: stress and the underestimated psychosocial impact of telogen effluvium and androgenetic alopecia.” The Journal of investigative dermatology vol. 123,3 (2004): 455-7.
- Botchkarev, Vladimir A. “Stress and the hair follicle: exploring the connections.” The American journal of pathology vol. 162,3 (2003): 709-12.
- Almohanna, Hind M et al. “The Role of Vitamins and Minerals in Hair Loss: A Review.” Dermatology and therapy vol. 9,1 (2019): 51-70.
- Malani, Anurag N et al. “Alopecia and nail changes associated with voriconazole therapy.” Clinical infectious diseases : an official publication of the Infectious Diseases Society of America vol. 59,3 (2014): e61-5.
- Trüeb, R M. “Hormone und Haarwachstum” [Hormones and hair growth]. Der Hautarzt; Zeitschrift fur Dermatologie, Venerologie, und verwandte Gebiete vol. 61,6 (2010): 487-95.
- Koyama, Taro et al. “Standardized Scalp Massage Results in Increased Hair Thickness by Inducing Stretching Forces to Dermal Papilla Cells in the Subcutaneous Tissue.” Eplasty vol. 16 e8. 25 Jan. 2016.