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Mature Hairline Vs Receding Hairline

    As you age your hairline will naturally move up evenly at the temples, this is called a maturing hairline and it can start to develop at the age of 17. As your hairline matures, it can result in a “V” shape at the front and sometimes this is called a widow’s peak. A hairline tends to stop maturing between the ages of 25-27.

    A receding hairline is when someone loses hair beyond their maturing hairline. It coincides with active hair shedding and hair thinning. This often makes the hairline uneven, creating an “M” shaped or deeper uneven hairline.

    It’s normal for a man’s hairline to recede to some degree after adolescence as losing hair is just a natural part of getting older. It is important to discern whether this is due to a maturing hairline or one associated with hair loss. Part of my consultation and investigation will always involve assessing whether my patient’s hairline is maturing or receding secondary to hair loss.

    Dr Roshan Vara, Director and Hair Transplant Surgeon

    In this article, we’ll look at the difference between a mature hairline and a receding hairline

    What is a mature hairline?

    Towards the end of a man’s teenage years, it is natural for the hairline move upwards at the temples. This movement of the hairline is known as a maturing hairline. It happens to all men and is part of getting older.

    One of the key characteristics of a maturing hairline is the areas in which the hairline changes. A maturing hairline typically moves evenly along its original line. With a maturing hairline, the hair will retreat by 1cm to 2cm upwards from its original position experienced as a teenager.

    mature hairline with recession
    This gentleman’s hairline had matured to the white line and then receded beyond it. We restored his hairline with an FUE hair transplant to the white line.

    It is common for my patients to ask me whether they are receding or if their hairline is just maturing. It’s a really important question as it will determine whether we opt for surgery or not. Ultimately it is important to be evaluated in person to assess whether you are just undergoing maturation of your hairline or if you are losing hair and receding

    Dr Fernando, Hair Transplant Surgeon and Director at The Treatment Rooms London

    What is a receding hairline?

    In contrast to a maturing hairline, a receding hairline will retreat unevenly, with some parts of the hairline receding significantly faster than others. Characteristically, a receding hairline will retreat more in the temple area, creating the pattern of an M-shape. The pattern deepens over time, as the temple hair loss becomes more severe and the entire hairline eventually recedes. This can be followed by thinning at the crown, and in some cases, complete baldness at the top of the head. The stages of severity for a receding hairline is classified by the Norwood Scale

    With a receding hairline, the hair loss is usually several centimetres upwards, leading to a more exposed forehead. A receding hairline can occur at the same time as your hairline matures from the age of 17. This will cause your hairline to move higher at a quicker rate than someone who isn’t losing hair. It can result in very young patients being concerned about hair loss. It’s important to address these concerns early as there are a number of treatments that can help. A receding hairline is a form of male pattern baldness (androgenetic alopecia), which affects around 50% of men over the age of 50 in the UK.

    receding hairline treated to mature hairline position with hair transplant
    This patient had a receding hairline which we treated with an FUE hair transplant

    What causes receding hairline?

    Male pattern baldness is the main cause of a receding hairline. This condition is triggered by a combination of genetics and hormones. Studies have shown that in around 80 percent of cases, male pattern baldness is hereditary.  

    Androgens, the male hormones, have a role in shrinking hair follicles. Research shows that some men inherit a sensitivity to the androgens that cause baldness. Hair follicles at the temples and crown are understood to be more sensitive to these androgens, which partly explains the receding hairline pattern.

    Medical conditions, medications, hairstyles, hair treatments, and lifestyle could also play a contributory role in male pattern baldness.

    maturing hairline with recession
    This picture demonstrates a characteristic receding hairline. The hair has receded behind where this gentleman’s natural mature hairline should be (outlined in white)

    Mature hairline vs receding hairline

    While a mature hairline can be seen as a natural part of getting older, a receding hairline, although common, is usually passed down generations and is caused by dihydrotestosterone (DHT). 

    receding hairline vs mature hairline
    This gentleman’s hairline matured to his white line and then receded beyond this position, creating an island of hair at the front. He opted to restore his receding hairline with a hair transplant and his result is shown 13 months post surgery in the picture underneath

    The two main differences between a mature hairline and a receding hairline are the extent of the recession and the pattern.

    A maturing hairline will:

    1. Cause the hairline to move up the forehead by 1-2cm
    2. Tend to change the hairline evenly across the forehead

    A receding hairline will:

    1. Make the hairline move up the forehead and beyond, sometimes involving the whole scalp
    2. Tend to change the hairline unevenly across the forehead- leading to a characteristic M-shaped hairline.
    receding hairline m shaped
    This gentleman had a receding hairline causing an M-shaped appearance. You can see his hairline had receded unevenly (Left side on the picture worse than right side)

    Early signs of receding hairline

    So, how can you spot the early signs of a receding hairline? Male pattern baldness occurs over years, but you can identify it, and take action to prevent it.

    The most recognisable sign, as you might expect, is a change in your hairline. Even if you don’t notice this when looking in the mirror, you may see it when comparing recent photographs with those from a few years ago. If you see a significant recession of hair at the temples, and an M-shape beginning to form, this suggests you have a receding hairline. You might also notice excessive hair loss after washing or brushing your hair. 

    How to stop maturing hairline 

    You can’t stop a maturing hairline. It is the result of your body’s natural ageing process. You can straighten your hairline with a hair transplant to change the shape of your hairline if you don’t like how it has matured.

    stopping a maturing hairline
    This gentleman had a natural “V” shaped hairline as a result of his hairline maturing (top picture). He wanted to soften its appearance and underwent a hair transplant to achieve this (bottom picture)

    How to stop a receding hairline

    As male pattern baldness is largely a hereditary condition, there is no way to prevent a receding hairline from occurring initially. However, several treatments can slow down a receding hairline, and there are ways that you can reverse it. 

    Receding hairline treatment

    There is a range of non-surgical hair loss treatments that you should consider before undergoing a procedure to reverse hair loss. These hair loss treatments include:

    • Minoxidil – coming in a foam or other topical solution, minoxidil can support hair regrowth. This medication has been shown to be beneficial in treating hair loss. It can result in healthier, stronger hair.
    • Finasteride – this treatment for male pattern baldness is a 5-alpha-reductase enzyme blocker. The 5-alpha-reductase enzyme produces dihydrotestosterone (DHT)- a hormone that causes male hair loss. Taking finasteride can slow your rate of hair loss and support hair regrowth. 
    • PRP hair treatment – platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy can restore hair and encourage healing. It is a regenerative medicine that is administered via an injection into the scalp. For the best results, several PRP sessions would usually be scheduled across three months.

    Hair transplant options

    Hair transplants are the most effective receding hairline treatment available. The procedure is able to effectively restore hair that was once lost, whether that’s at your hairline or your crown. But how does a hair transplant work?

    There are two main types of hairline transplantsFUE hair transplants and FUT hair transplants:

    • FUE – the FUE technique takes individual follicles by extracting them from the back of the scalp, using tiny punches. The hair follicles are then carefully placed gently in ready-made holes at the recipient area.
    • FUT – the FUT technique takes a strip from the donor area at the back of the scalp. After the donor area is stitched up, this strip is split into smaller sections with a surgical tool and implanted in the recipient site. 

    To learn more about the hair transplant process, why not visit our patient journey page for more information. 

    How The Treatment Rooms can restore your hairline

    At The Treatment Rooms London, our surgeons possess a wealth of experience in performing both FUE and FUT hair transplants, as well as providing non-surgical techniques, giving your hair the best conditions for regrowth. You can book a consultation with one of our experienced GMC registered surgeons today to explore your options. 

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