A mature hairline is not the same as a receding hairline. As you age your hairline will naturally migrate up evenly at the temples, this is called a maturing hairline. A maturing hairline tends to settle at the age of 27. It often results in an even “M” shaped hairline.
A receding hairline is when someone loses hair beyond their maturing hairline. It coincides with active hair shedding and hair thinning. This often causes a widow’s peak or an uneven “M” shaped 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. But how do we differentiate these hairline changes between having a maturing hairline or having a receding one?
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 to start receding slightly. This happens to all men and is part of getting older. This slight recession of the hairline is known as a maturing hairline.
One of the key characteristics of a maturing hairline is the areas in which the hairline recedes. A maturing hairline typically recedes evenly along its original line, although the hair could recede more noticeably at the temples. Secondly, the extent of the recession is not huge. With a maturing hairline, the hair will retreat by 1cm to 2cm.
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 recedingDr 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, also known as a ‘widow’s peak’. 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 extent of the retreat is usually several centimetres, leading to a more exposed forehead. A receding hairline is not a normal part of the maturation process in the same way as a maturing hairline is, but it is very common. 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.
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.
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).
The two main differences between a mature hairline and a receding hairline are the extent of the recession and the pattern. A mature hairline will typically recede by about 1cm to 2cm, in contrast to a receding hairline, which can retreat and involve the whole scalp. There is often a pattern of hair loss in a receding hairline. A receding hairline occurs more often at the temples, leading to a characteristic M-shaped hairline. This is shown in the Norwood Scale:
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 receding hairline
As male pattern baldness is largely a hereditary condition, there is no way to prevent a receding hairline. However, several treatments can slow down a receding hairline, and there are ways that you can reverse it.
Hair loss treatment
- Minoxidil – coming in a foam or other topical solution, minoxidil can support hair regrowth. This medication is an antihypertensive vasodilator and 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), and this is a cause of 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?
- 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.