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An In-Depth Guide To Receding Hairline & Possible Treatments

A receding hairline makes up one of the many different forms of hair loss in men. There isn’t a definitive moment in time that someone begins to experience hair loss. It differs from person to person and is largely affected by one’s genetics.

If you are currently suffering from a receding hairline, there are a number of options both surgical and non-surgical that can help to promote hair regrowth and prevent further hair loss. 

In this article, we cover everything to do with a receding hairline, exploring what it is, what causes your hair to recede, the treatment options at your disposal, and how you can act now to promote hair regrowth.

If you are interested in booking an appointment with our Surgeons to address your receding hairline with surgery feel free to contact us today by filling out an enquiry form. To find out how many grafts you will need for a receding hairline, you can also visit our graft calculator page.

Receded Hairline FUE Hair Transplant Before and after
The gentleman above had a receding hairline and had his hairline restored with an FUE hair transplant

What is a receding hairline?

Most common in men, a receding hairline begins anytime after puberty. A receding hairline is most common around the temples, with thinning of these areas noticeable in most men as they move towards 40 years of age. From here, hair begins thinning up towards the top of the head. 

There is no specific template that a receding hairline follows nor can one predict where or when they will lose their hair. What is important to remember is that if you do notice a change in your hairline and are worried about it, you must take action and speak to a hair specialist as soon as possible. You can then make an informed decision as to how you can slow down or rectify your hair loss.

Receding hairline causes

Studies show that around 50% of men will experience hair loss by the time they reach their 50’s. Some men may even notice early onset receding as soon as they finish puberty. In most cases, hairline recession is caused by a condition called male pattern baldness. The hormone DHT (dihydrotestosterone) causes the hair in the hairline and temples to thin and fall out. 

dihydrotestosterone male pattern baldness
A 3D model of dihydrotestoterone, DHT, the primary hormone driving hair loss and thinning in men

For some men this can also affect the crown and a receding hairline can meet a balding crown in the middle making the subject completely bald. The extent to which a hairline can recede is graded by the Norwood Scale; a visual representation is depicted below:

receding hairline norwood scale
The Norwood Scale

Receding hairline stages and signs

People experience a range of severities in their hair recession over different stages of their life. Most men who suffer from a receding hairline will experience it by the time they reach 40 years old. 

It must be noted that hair loss does not follow a specific blueprint as individuals experience hair loss at different rates in contrasting areas. That being said, for a large proportion of the population, male pattern baldness can progress in some patterned visible steps.

What to look out for

It is not uncommon for one’s receding hairline to appear uneven at first, over time this will develop into a distinct M shape. Following on from this, other areas of the head begin to bald, usually the top or back of the head in the crown. Over time, these areas will merge, leaving a distinct horse shoe shape around the side and back of the head, not too dissimilar to Friar Tuck from Robinhood. This is the end stage of male pattern baldness and is categorised as a level 7 on the Norwood scale.

Another commonly associated hair loss formation is that of a ‘widow’s peak’ which appears in a V-shape formation across the forehead. In this instance, hair has begun to thin and recede above the temples, causing a distinct V-shape around a central tuft or forelock.

How to stop a receding hairline

Hair loss is a natural part of aging, especially in men. Whilst some embrace it, others may look to treatments to resolve this common affliction. Thankfully, there are a number of treatments available that can help slow down the process or even in some cases, reverse the effects. 

Treatment for a receding hairline in this gentleman included both Minoxidil and hair transplant surgery

At The Treatment Rooms London, we recommend taking advantage of non-surgical treatment options if you suffer from hair loss. Great products like Minoxidil increase the vitality of your hair and help them to grow for a longer period of time helping to prevent their shedding. We also recommend Finasteride to slow down or even stop the balding process by blocking the enzymes that produce DHT. 

Once all non-surgical options have been explored we suggest opting for an FUE hair transplant. Whilst this is a more permanent and effective solution, a lot of research must go into this before making a decision. If you are young, you ought to stabilise your existing hair loss with the above 2 medications before considering surgery. If you hair loss has slowed down naturally with age you may be a candidate for surgery without considering the need to take Minoxidil or Finasteride. This can be complicated, so we recommend booking a consultation with one of our experienced hair transplant surgeons to explain the surgery in detail and provide an assessment of your hair.

Hair transplant for a receding hairline

An FUE hair transplant involves extracting hair follicles from the back and sides of your scalp (donor area) and transferring them to your hairline, rejuvenating the appearance of having naturally grown hair. 

The hairs that reside within the donor area differ from the other hairs on your head. They are selected due to their resistance to DHT, the primary hormone that is linked to male pattern baldness. This gives hair transplant patients a thicker and fuller head of hair that isn’t sensitive to hair loss. 

Due to advances in technology and experienced surgeons, hair transplants have become less invasive and more natural, but not everyone will benefit from having a hair transplant. Whilst hair transplants are an effective treatment to restore the hair that was once lost, the procedure doesn’t stop the ongoing recession. 

receding hairline treatment
This gentleman took Finasteride and stabilised his receding hairline before undergoing a hair transplant to restore his hairline and temples

Some patients may find that their hair will continue to recede behind the transplanted areas even after the surgery. An FUE hair transplant usually lasts between 15-20 years, but if you continue to lose hair around the surgically implanted areas, you may have to consider getting a second hair transplant or finding an alternative treatment. 

You also need to consider the price of a hair transplant. The average cost of an FUE hair transplant does depend on a number of factors, from the amount of grafts a patient will need to the experience of the surgeons and the prestige of the clinic. We provide an interactive calculator that takes into account a patient’s age, gender, hair colour and type to generate the approximate number of grafts a subject needs for the procedure. To find out how many grafts you will need, you can visit our graft calculator page.

Mature hairline vs receding hairline

People often mistake a ‘mature hairline’ with a receding hairline as the two are synonymous with aging and both tend to provoke nervousness when it comes to hair loss.  

A mature hairline is identified as a slightly higher hairline that men will develop after puberty, usually between the ages of 17 and 27 years old. However, this does differ from person to person. Only a minor percentage of men retain their ‘juvenile hairline’ as a maturing hairline is inherently part of the natural ageing process. 

The body goes through some major changes during and after puberty and whilst some males experience a significant growth spurt, others may observe a change in hairline. It can happen to anyone and it is not necessarily determined by genetics. 

hair transplant hairline design for a receding hairline
When it comes to a hairline design, we tend to recommend patients having a mature hairline that is age-appropriate. This can be lower or more curved in the temples than expected

A maturing hairline reflects a change in musculature and bony structure of the scalp correlating with age, seen by the hair at the front of the head moving back in unison by an average of half an inch. A receding hairline is characterised by hair loss behind the maturing hairline. The excessive hair loss caused by receding hair will occur at the temples and the hairline and will begin to move upwards, forming a pattern of hair loss as seen in the Norwood scale. 

A person can find it difficult to tell the difference by how much hair loss has already occurred. Our Surgeons are able to guide you on whether you have a maturing hairline or not and whether you are actually losing hair. As a general rule, for individuals under the age of 27, it is likely their hairline is maturing with some also suffering from hair loss. For those over the age of 27, the hairline has matured and any further hair loss is likely due to a receding hairline. By this point, we suggest contacting a specialist to start exploring possible treatments to prevent hair loss and restore hair where it has receded.

Get in touch

If you think you suffer from a receding hairline or other types of hair loss, please get in touch with one of our professionals to see how we can help you. 

We offer a range of male hair loss treatments and procedures that can help reverse the effects of male pattern baldness and ultimately restore your confidence. For more information, please visit our contact page to book an appointment.

Authored by

Hair Transplant Surgeon Dr Roshan Vara

Dr Roshan Vara

Full Medical Member of the British Association of Hair Restoration Surgery

GMC Registered - 7458409

Reviewed by

Hair Transplant Surgeon Dr Dilan Fernando

Dr Dilan Fernando

Royal College of Surgeons

Executive Committee Member & Treasurer of the British Association of Hair Restoration Surgery

GMC Registered - 7458157

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