Root Hair Institute


Hairline recession is a common concern among people of all genders that can have psychosocial impacts. If you are someone with a receding hairline and you are self-conscious about it, you may be wondering if anything can be done about it. This article will go through some potential treatments for hair loss including a receding hairline.

The hairline is one of the most common places where people notice their hair loss. It is important to note that people often have to lose a significant amount of hair before they even start to notice their hair loss. So by the time many people are noticing their hairline receding, they have often lost a lot of hair. Luckily, there are many different treatments available to help thicken the existing hair, decrease further loss, and restore lost hair.

We will cover many different treatment options in our guide on hairline restoration, so keep reading on to learn more information!

Hair Loss Types

Before diving into the hairline restoration process, it is helpful to know about different types of hair loss. Alopecia, or hair loss, is largely broken into two categories:

  1. Nonscarring alopecia
  2. Scarring alopecia

Around 73% of alopecia cases are nonscarring and can be reversed in some instances. Within nonscarring alopecia presentations, there are several subcategories – here are some of the primary ones:

  • Androgenic alopecia
  • Alopecia areata
  • Telogen effluvium
  • Anagen effluvium
  • Traction alopecia (early stages)

The one on the list that has gained popularity amongst individuals looking for surgical hair transplants is androgen alopecia or hereditary hair loss. Unlike many misconceptions, hereditary hair loss can affect females too. Androgenic alopecia is the most common cause of hair loss and usually presents as gradual thinning of hair thickness, balding on the crown, and/or receding hairline.

Other forms of hair loss that commonly present at the hairline and can cause a receeding hairline including frontal fibrosing alopecia (FFA) which is a form of scarring hair loss and traction alopecia which is caused by longstanding tension on the hair usually from hairstyles that pull on the hair. There are also other forms of hair loss (such as those on the list above and more) that can affect the hairline, so it is important to be seen by a medical provider who specializes in hair loss prior to trying to blindly treat your hair loss.

hairline restoration

How Does Hairline Restoration Work?

Hairline restoration often refers to surgical hair replacement techniques (also called a hair transplant) targeting thicker hair along your scalp and transplanting it to areas experiencing hair loss, balding, or recession. Two techniques often used for hairline restoration are:

  1. Follicular Unit Transplant (FUT)
  2. Follicular Unit Excision/Extraction (FUE)

It is essential that you find a clinic specialized in these two hair transplant techniques since each holds its own advantages and disadvantages. Both strategies involve five primary steps: harvesting the grafts, microdissecting and counting the grafts, making sites (holes) in the thinning areas for the hair to go into, placing grafts into the sites, and finally post-operative care and instructions.


In an FUT procedure, a thin strip of scalp is taken usually from the sides and back of the head. The area is then sutured together to optimize healing. The strip is then taken and dissected into individual follicular units (grafts) under the microscope.

In an FUE procedure, each follicular unit is taken one by one with a handheld motorized device leaving behind small pinpoint holes that then heal in and create pinpoint white/hypopigmented scars throughout the donor area.

Both procedures make individual follicular units/grafts and the subsequent portions of the procedure (making sites and placing grafts into sites) are the same between the two types of procedures.

FUE has increased in popularity as it is less invasive and does not leave a linear scar. It is important to note that both FUE and FUE can be well-tolerated procedures with good results and each has its own pros and cons. FUE often requires shaving more of the hair especially for larger cases while FUT only requires shaving a small strip of scalp that can be easily covered by the long hair above the strip. Thus, FUT is often preferred by those with longer hair. It has also been shown that you get a higher number of total grafts over someone’s lifetime by starting with FUT and then switching to subsequent FUE procedures. Thus FUT is often preferred by those with aggressive hair loss who plan to have multiple procedures over their lifetime. FUE is often preferred by those who want to avoid a linear scar, may want to shave their head in the future (and want to avoid a linear scar) or who wear short hair styles (that may show a linear scar from an FUT) such as a fade.

Lastly, both procedures take several months before you start seeing results and nearly 12 to 15 months before you see the full effect of the hair restoration procedure

Are Surgical Hair Transplants Permanent?

Surgical hair restoration is not always a guarantee. The hairs are taken from one area (the donor) and moved to another (the recipient). Generally hair is taken from an area with hair that is the most likely to be thick permanent hair. However, in cases of aggressive or diffuse hair loss or if another type of hair loss (such as autoimmune hair loss) develops, it is possible that the transplanted hair could also be affected. This is rare, but important to understand.

In most cases, the transplanted hair does tend to grow long term, and hair transplant is one of the most effective ways to grow hair that is lasting especially in areas with little to no existing hair. It can also help improve hair density in thinner areas.

However, it is important to note that hair transplant does not prevent further loss or thicken the existing hair. It is moving hair from one area to another. So, it is important to also discuss maintenance therapy options (such as medications, red light, injections, etc) to help decrease further progression of hair loss and thicken the existing hair. Another thing to consider (especially if the donor hair for transplant is limited) is scalp micropigmentation (SMP) which can improve the appearance of hair density especially in combination with hair transplant.

The non-surgical options that you can also potentially use or combine with surgical hair restoration services including the following:

  • Scalp injections
  • Scalp microneedling
  • Low-level light therapy
  • Scalp micropigmentation
  • Medications (topical or oral)

Before shedding light on some of the pros and cons of these other treatments, it is also essential to remember hairlines are obvious areas of thinning or baldness. Some techniques might not fully restore receding hairlines. Consulting with a professional will help you determine the best approach based on your case, goals, and budget.

hairline restoration

Scalp Injections and Microneedling

While scalp injections and microneedling both use needles, they are entirely different approaches. Scalp injections usually use growth factors or steroids.

Often, the injection of the scalp with steroids can be used for individuals whose hair loss is from inflammatory conditions or scarring. Growth factor injections are the more commonly used tool for types of hair loss like androgenetic alopecia which can help stimulate hair growth by providing growth factors to the scalp and hair follicles.

Growth factor injections often involve drawing blood, spinning it into a centrifuge, obtaining the growth factor rich portion, and then injecting that into areas that are thining.

Scalp microneedling uses tiny needles that create small punctures along your scalp which can trigger regenerative pathways.  You can use microneedling in combination with growth factor injections or other treatments such as topical therapies. If combined with topical therapies, the microneedling can allow deeper penetration of the topical medication to the hair follicle. It is important to see someone experienced to discuss these treatment options with you including their risks, benefits, and alternatives.

What Is Low-Level Light Therapy?

Hair loss can also be treated through completely non-invasive approaches such as low-level light therapy (LLLT). This technique uses visible red light that stimulates blood flow and can alter hair follicles at the cellular level.

Further studies are still needed to understand the best parameters for LLLT; however, there are a number of known downstream effects of red light therapy on cells, termed photobiomodulation. There are a number of devices that are FDA-cleared for male or female pattern hair loss in Fitzpatrick skin types I-IV.

Pros of this therapy include ability to use at home, relatively well-tolerated, and non-invasive. Cons of this therapy include that it requires regular use and compliance is often a barrier.  Always check the instructions and contraindications of any device before starting to use it. Additionally, if you are experiencing hair loss, it is best to see a medical professional to determine the cause of your hair loss and discuss what treatment options may be best for you based on your diagnosis and case.

Scalp Micropigmentation and Hairline Restoration

Another non-surgical and long-lasting technique for hairline restoration is scalp micropigmentation (SMP). As the name hints, it places pigment into the scalp in areas of hair loss to reduce scalp visibility and give the appearance of increased hair density. This treatment does not prevent or stop further hair loss or make more hair.

SMP can provide natural-looking results in those who shave their head as it can mimic stubble. In those with longer hair, it should be used in combination with other therapies such as hair transplant in areas with little to no existing hair or be used in areas with hair to improve the appearance of the hair density there. In those with long hair, it may also be important to do other treatments to help decrease further hair loss to keep the hair loss from progressing.

The device places tiny dots matched to the color of your hair that essentially “fills in” areas of hair thinning on the scalp and mimics the appearance of increased density. It can be a great option in those who are using topical powders or fibers, as this treatment does not require daily application and tends to last 1-3 years in many cases (this can depend on a number of variables including sun exposure, swimming, hair washing, skin type, etc).

Medical Therapy & Holistic Approaches for Hair Loss

The most common cause of a receding hairline, is androgenetic alopecia (also called patterned hair loss/balding) which is often driven by genetics and sensitivity of certain areas of the scalp to hormones like dihydrotestosterone. In these cases, medications such as topical minoxidil, oral finasteride, and others may be recommended by your medical provider. If you are interested in these, make sure to make an appointment with a medical provider specializing in hair loss to discuss the risks, benefits, and alternatives.

It is important to notes that there are other factors that can contribute such as diet, lifestyle, and stress. Efforts to minimize and manage stress can be helpful for overall health and hair loss in some cases. Additionally, a healthy diet with whole foods not promoting inflammation and rich in anti-oxidants and lean protein can be helpful. Studies found certain diets, such as the Mediterranean Diet, that promote anti-inflammatory effects can potentially prevent hair loss.

Needless to say, an all-encompassing approach is critical to long-term success. Women who have entered menopause or have plans to become pregnant may be at a higher risk for hormonal changes that can affect hair loss and/or growth.

Other conditions that can trigger shedding hair loss (telogen effluvium) and/or worsen receding or thinning hairlines are:

  • Thyroid conditions
  • Low vitamin levels
  • Certain medications
  • Increased stress

It is important to see a medical professional to be evaluated for your hair loss and determine the diagnosis and any contributing factors. They can then help you determine what treatment options may be right for your case and counsel you on the risks, benefits, and alternatives of various treatment options.

How Can You Start the Hairline Restoration Process?

There are many options when it comes to hairline restoration. It is important to see someone to determine what type of hair loss is affecting your hairline.  Once this is determined, a medical professional can discuss your options with you based on your individual case, goals, lifestyle factors, and preferences.

If you are wanting to explore surgical and non-surgical hair treatment options, we have you covered. Visit us at Root Hair today to schedule a consultation and start the process of reversing your hair loss.