Root Hair Institute


It is normal to shed some hair every day. The average person loses between 50 and 100 strands of hair a day.

Significant hair loss–that can cause a receding hairline, thinning of the crown, or even total baldness–may be more prevalent than you might think. About 50 million men and 30 million women in the United States suffer from some level of androgenetic alopecia, the most common type of hair loss. There are many other types of hair loss and factors that can contribute to hair loss, so it is important to be evaluated by a doctor specializing in hair loss to get an appropriate diagnosis and work up (if needed) for the cause and type of your hair loss.

The good news is that, if you are experiencing a receding hairline, the most common cause is androgenetic alopecia. There are numerous treatments for androgenetic alopecia to help keep it from progressing and even reverse it. This article covers those methods, including some of the pros and cons of each, as well as some other information about hair loss. Keep reading to learn more about which treatment option may be right for you. Always consult with your doctor, prior to starting any treatment and schedule a consultation with a doctor specializing in hair loss to get a diagnosis, work up if needed, and to discuss what treatment options may be appropriate in your case.

What Is a Receding Hairline?

In general, a receding hairline is when the edge of your hairline begins to move backward. This can happen across the front, sides, and/or or corners of the hairline. It often involves the sides of the front of the hair line and corners which can result in depeening of the corners (with the corner where the front meets the side of the hairline moving further and further back). This can create a “V” shape in the center of the forehead which can appear like a widow’s peak in someone who previouslly did not have a natural widow’s peak.

A receding hairline is a common presentation of male pattern baldness, or androgenetic alopecia. It is often caused by a combination of genetics, hormonal, and other factors.

What Are the Main Causes of a Receding Hairline?

Many biological factors from within and from outside of the body can cause a receding hairline. Here are a few of the main ones.


Genetics is one of the main contributors to patterned balding (also called pattern hair loss or androgenetic alopecia). There are multiple genes at play in patterned hair loss, so there is not a straight forward predictable pattern of inheritence.  If someone’s parents, grandparents, siblings, uncles/aunts, or other close family members had a receding hairline, then that person is more likely to experience it themselves. Note though that, even if someone is genetically prone to hair loss, it is often accompanied (and exacerbated) by other factors.

receding hairline

Hormone Factors

The hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT) drives patterned hair loss and a receeding hair line in many cases. It is produced in the body and plays an important role in the formation of male genitalia and characteristics in utero and then during puberty. Throughout life, about 10 percent of testosterone produced by men is then converted to DHT by the enzyme 5 alpha reductase.

However, in adults, DHT can have unwanted effects such as prostate enlargement and patterned hair loss. In follicles sensitive to DHT, it can lead to many downstream effects including shrinking down of the hair follicle (also called miniaturization) and eventually by hair loss.

In those with genetic predisposition to patterned hair loss, the hair follicles in certain areas (such as the hair line, top of the head, and crown) have been shown to be more sensitive to downstream effects of DHT leading to hair loss compared to the sides and backs of the scalp that tend to be less sensitive to DHT effects and less prone to hair loss. This explains the patterned distribution of hair loss in androgenetic alopecia/male pattern hair loss.

Other Factors

Nutrient deficiencies, thyroid problems, and other internal conditions can also contribute to hair loss. These internal conditions usually causes shedding (called telogen effluvium) or other forms of hair loss but in some cases may contribute to patterned hair loss as well. It is important to discuss any other symptoms that you may be having such as fatigue, joint pain, mouth ulcers, and any others with your doctor. They may recommend laboratory testing depending on your case.

Stress is another factor that contributes to many forms of hair loss. Stress and anxiety can impact digestion and sleep, which can disrupt hair regrowth cycles. Specifically, this may happen because stress hormones may impair hair follicle stem cells.

It is also important to discuss with your doctor if any of your medications could be contributing to your hair loss. Never change or stop your medications without first consulting with your doctor.

Receding Hairline Diagnosis

The first step in treating a receding hairline or any other presentation of hair loss is obtaining a proper diagnosis. There are dozens of types of hair loss. To address the hair loss problem, you must first understand what type of hair loss you have and what factors may be contributing in your case. This is why it is important to see a doctor who specializes in hair loss before starting to try to treat it on your own without an idea of what type of hair loss you have.

This is often why those generic hair-loss treatments you see advertised do not work. They may be effective if you happen to have the issue that it is designed to treat. Otherwise, you may end up wasting money, time, and effort on products that address a problem you may not have.

A more holistic and comprehensive approach is often a better way to go. Identifying potential problems and formulating solutions to them is an important first step before moving to medical or over-the-counter interventions.

Also, you should think of treatment as an ongoing process, not an end goal. It is important to not just try to restore hair in areas with thinning or balding but also help decrease further hair loss and thicken the existing hair as much as possible. A good hair loss medical provider will learn from how your body reacts to different therapies and adjust the treatment regimen accordingly as needed over time. Thus it is important to establish care with and follow up as advised with a doctor or medical provider experienced in diagnosing and treating hair loss.

Receding Hairline Treatment

Just as there are many different causes of receding hairlines, there are a variety of treatments available. Many of these can be combined to achieve the best results. Here are some of the potential treatment options.

Both surgical and non-surgical therapies will be discussed. Non-surgical therapies include medications, red light therapy, injections, and microneedling, among others. It is important to note that non-surgical therapies are generally ongoing to maintain the effect. Meaning if these therapies are effective and tolerated well without side effects, then they are usually continued long term to continue to maintain their positive effects on the hair.

It is important to note that generally non-surgical therapies work best in areas with more existing hair that they can work to support and thicken. These therapies are generally more limited in their results in areas with little to no existing hair. In areas with little to no existing hair, hair restoration surgery is often one of the most effective options. Hair transplant can also be considered in areas with existing hair if the desired improvement in hair density has not been achieved after starting non-surgical therapies. It is important to combine hair transplant with non-surgical therapies when possible and appropriate to help strengthen the existing hair and prevent further hair loss.

receding hairline


There are different medication options for patterned hair loss (which is the most common cause of a receeding hairline). The two U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved treatment options for male pattern hair loss are topical over-the-counter minoxidil and finasteride by mouth. However, there are other medication options that are off-label including low-dose oral minoxidil, higher concentration topical minoxidil, topical finasteride, and oral dutasteride. It is important to discuss the risks, benefits, and alternatives of each with a doctor experienced in treating hair loss if this is something that you are considering. Finasteride and dutasteride block the 5-alpha reductase enzyme that converts testosterone to DHT.

You should discuss the likelihood of effectiveness for your case with your doctor as well as any potential side effects, so that you can make an informed decision on which of these may be the best for you (if any).

Scalp Injections

Scalp injections are another potential treatment option for hair loss. These often involve injecting growth factors obtained from the patient’s own blood under the skin into areas of thinning on the scalp. This may help strengthen existing hair.

For hair loss types driven by inflammation (such as frontal fibrosing alopecia which can cause a receeding hair line for example), steroid injections may be an appropriate option.

As you can see, there are many options depending on the type of hair loss that you have, so it is important to see a provider specializing in hair loss to first get a diagnosis and then discuss potential treatment options in your case.

Scalp Microneedling

Scalp microneedling is a therapy aimed at trying to restore the hair by making tiny punctures in the skin to activate regenerative pathways. It is often also combined with topical agents, such as growth factors or medications, to allow them to better penetrate the skin.

It is common to have redness and discomfort in the week after this treatment. Local anesthetic is often used to minimize discomfort during the procedure itself. It is important to discuss this option with a hair loss specialist to further explore the risks, benefits, and alternatives.

Low-Level Light Therapy

Low-level light therapy uses red visible light to cause photobiomodulation. These are a number of downstream effects at the level of the cell including increased blood flow, decreased oxidative stress, increased growth factors, and decreased inflammation. These effects have been studied for hair restoration, and many of these red light devices have been cleared by the FDA for patterned hair loss in Fitzpatrick skin types I-IV.

These devices are usually used at home, and this type of therapy is generally well tolerated. There are potential side effects that you should familiarize yourself with for each device prior to purchasing it such as scalp irritation, increased shedding, headaches, etc. Discuss the risks, benefits, and alternatives of red light therapy with a hair loss doctor or provider prior to starting to see if this may be right for your individual case.

Hair Transplant Surgery

Hair transplant surgery involves taking your own hair follicles from another area of the scalp, where hair growth is robust, and moving it to a thinning or balding area. This is a more invasive measure, usually reserved for instances where other treatment methods have failed or where there is little to no existing hair for non-surgical therapies to work on. The procedure compared to other forms of cosmetic surgery is relatively safe with a short recovery period in most cases.

The transplanted hairs after hair transplant are long-lasting in the majority of cases. Hair transplant tends to provide natural-looking results now a days as the follicular units are transplanted one by one. It is important to have the procedure performed with a surgeon and team who focuses on and is experienced in hair transplants to get the best and most natural looking results possible. If this is something you are interested in, schedule a consultation with a hair restoration surgen to help determine if this treatment option could be right for you.

It is important to note that hair restoration surgery (hair transplant) does not prevent further loss, thicken existing hair, or grow more hair. It moves existing hair from one area to another. Thus, it is important to discuss combining surgery with non-surgical therapies such as those listed above for the best long-term outcomes.

Find Receding Hairline Treatment Near You

Now that you understand some of the potential treatment options for a receding hairline, you may be considering which method might best fit your lifestyle. If you are interested in taking next steps, then it is important to schedule a consultation with a doctor who specializes in hair loss and restoration to obtain a diagnosis and discuss what treatment options may be appropriate in your case and the risks, benefits, and alternatives of each.

Root Hair Institute was founded by trained and experienced hair restoration surgeons who rely on evidence-based solutions and take the time to educate and counsel their patients on their options. We combine medical expertise with the knowledge of how emotional and isolating hair loss can be. Sign up for a consultation with one of our doctors today to learn more.