A receding hairline can be a sign of hair loss. For some individuals, a receding hairline can affect their self-esteem, confidence, and even relationships. One thing to decide is if your receding hairline and potential hair loss is something that bothers you and that you want to address. If you decide you do want to address it or get your options, do know that there are several solutions available for many people including both medical and surgical depending on your case.
If you are experiencing hair loss, we always recommend starting by getting checked out by your doctor. Until you are able to see them, there are some simple steps you can take in the meantime.
How do you know if your hairline is receding?
Typically a receding hairline is characterized by a hairline that is moving farther back over time. A receding hairline doesn’t always follow the same pattern. Additionally, often people lose a significant amount of hair before it becomes noticeable to them. That’s why many people overlook the signs of a receding hairline until it is already late in the process. Many treatments work better the earlier you start them. Thus, it is important to be aware of signs of a receding hairline or hair loss, so that you can get checked out by a doctor as early as possible.
Signs can be hair that appears thinner, increased hair loss, and the hairline moving back over time among others. If you are unsure, sometimes it can be helpful to look back at old photos to determine if your hairline has receded over time.
What Accelerates a Receding Hairline?
These factors are said to potentially accelerate a receding hairline:
- Hormonal changes
- Underlying illness
- Nutritionally poor diet
- Chemical treatments of hair
- Tying back hair tightly in a way that pulls on or increases tension on the hair
Can a receding hairline grow back?
In many cases, a receding hairline can be reversible with the proper treatment. Root Hair Institute in Greater Seattle helps clients with problems concerning hair loss and restoration.
Immediately ask for assistance when signs of receding hairline are showing. In many cases, the earlier you start treatments, the more likely you are to respond to treatment.
What are the causes of a receding hairline?
There are a number of factors that can contribute to a receding hairline. The most common cause of a receding hairline is androgenetic alopecia which is also known as pattern hair loss or patterned balding. Genetics and hormonal factors play a role often in androgenetic alopecia. However, there are also other factors and types of hair loss that can contribute to a receding hairline. Some causes and factors of a receding hairline are discussed below:
Hairline receding and hair loss appear to be influenced by family history. A family history of baldness may increase the likelihood of hair loss. There are multiple genes involved, so there is not a predictable pattern of inheritance as there is with some other conditions.
Hair loss may also result from some medical procedures or treatments. A prominent illustration is a chemotherapy, which frequently results in hair loss in patients. Other medications include those for arthritis, gout, heart issues, high blood pressure, or depression. Always discuss your medications and if they could be contributing to your hair loss with your doctor. Always discuss any potential changes to your medications with your doctor first before making any adjustments.
A stressful incident may induce hair loss. However, if the hair loss is only from stress, this is usually temporary. Stress may also trigger or worsen other forms of hair loss.
Like stress, illness can also trigger hair loss. Telogen effluvium is the medical term for this abrupt hair loss. It is important to get checked out by a doctor if you are experiencing increased shedding so that testing can be done for any internal conditions that may be contributing.
Both men and women may have hair loss due to hormonal problems like thyroid issues, menopause, and pregnancy. In addition, male pattern baldness may be related to the hormone DHT, which shrinks down hair follicles to the point that they appear thinner and eventually to a point that they can no longer produce hair.
Aging can affect the quality and quantity of hair. Over time, hair throughout the scalp may be thinner than it once was due to the aging of the scalp and hair follicles. This is termed senescent alopecia by some individuals.
There can be a connection between certain lifestyle choices and hair loss. For example, persons who do not consume enough protein or other nutrients in their diets may experience more significant hair loss than those who do.
Certain medical conditions can either indirectly cause hair loss by stressing the body or directly affect the hair follicle or scalp causing hair loss such as infections or tumors of the scalp or autoimmune hair loss such as alopecia areata.
How a Receding Hairline is Diagnosed
Diagnosing a receding hairline can be done through several steps and processes at your hair loss doctor. First, a thorough medical, surgical, medication, and family history will allow determination if there are any medical conditions, surgeries, medications, or genetic components contributing among other factors. Additionally, a thorough physical examination often including a dermatoscopic exam (a device that uses magnification and polarization to get a good look at the scalp and hair follicles) and a “pull test” will be often performed to try to make a clinical diagnosis.
If the diagnosis is not clear on examination, then a scalp biopsy may be performed to aid in the diagnosis. This allows a small piece of the scalp and follicles to be sent to a pathologist so that they can look at the scalp and hair follicle under the microscope to better characterize what is going on.
If there is a concern for an internal condition contributing, then blood tests may be recommended such as to check nutrient levels or for hormonal imbalances such as thyroid levels among other internal conditions.
Receding hairline treatment options
If you have a receding hairline, the first step is to see a hair loss doctor to get a diagnosis. Based on your diagnosis, you may have various treatment options including the following. However, keep in mind, only your doctor can discuss what treatment options may be appropriate for you based on your type of hair loss, degree of hair loss, goals, other medical conditions, and other factors.
Here are some potential treatment options that may be options depending on your case:
There are both topical and oral medications available including the following.
Finasteride or Dutasteride
Both finasteride and dutasteride are 5-alpha-reductase inhibitors. Finasteride is FDA-approved for androgenetic alopecia in males at a dose of 1 mg per day by mouth. It works by decreasing dihydrotestosterone (DHT) production which is known to drive male pattern hair loss. If this is a treatment you are potentially interested in, it is important to discuss the risks, benefits, and alternatives with your doctor, so you can make a decision that is right for you.
The American Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the over-the-counter scalp medication minoxidil (such as the brand Rogaine) for androgenetic alopecia in both males and females. This requires continued topical use.
Depending on your case, there may be other medication treatments including both topical and oral medications. You should discuss the options that may be appropriate for your case with your hair loss doctor to decide what is right for you.
Low-Level Light Therapy
Low-level light therapy can be used in some cases instead of or in addition to treatments such as medications, injections, and/or surgery. The effects of light therapy are termed photobiomodulation and are shown to cause a number of changes in treated tissue including promoting increased blood flow, decreasing inflammation, and increasing growth factors.
There are a number of FDA-cleared devices for androgenetic alopecia or patterned hair loss in males and females in Fitzpatrick skin types I-IV. If you are considering starting low-level light therapy, discuss if this is an appropriate treatment for you with your hair loss doctor.
Depending on your case, there may be options for medications that can be injected into the scalp or growth factors that can be injected into the scalp. If this is something that you are potentially interested in, make sure to discuss this with your hair loss doctor to determine if this is appropriate in your case and what the risks, benefits, and alternatives are.
Fortunately, in many cases, skilled surgeons can restore a natural-appearing hairline with a hair transplant operation. For many individuals, a hair transplant procedure can provide a long-lasting natural-appearing result for concerns such as hair loss, temple thinning, and receding hairline.
The first step is to determine if you are a good candidate for a hair restoration procedure (also called hair restoration surgery or a hair transplant) by meeting with a hair restoration surgeon for a consultation and to go over the risks, benefits, and alternatives. You’ll want to start finding the best hair surgeon and center in your area or where you are willing to travel to, like Root Hair Institute, in the Greater Seattle Area.
What you can do at home for a receding hairline
The best thing you can do for a receding hairline is to see a hair loss doctor to get a diagnosis and discuss the treatment options that are right for you. In the meantime, what can you do at home to avoid worsening a receding hairline with anything that you are doing at home and to help conceal the receding hairline until you are able to address the problem with your doctor? Here are some things to consider:
Hairstyles and scalp camouflage
One of the simplest ways to make your receding hairline less noticeable at least initially is hairstyling. A person with a receding hairline may be able to conceal it by altering how they style their hair.
Find a style that helps conceal bald areas and makes the hair appear thicker, or go for traditional haircuts that flatter those with thinning hair, including a clean shave, a medium crew cut, a close buzz cut, or longer hair parted in a way to cover thin areas.
In addition, there are powders or fibers that can be used to help decrease the visibility of the scalp and make the hair appear fuller. Similarly, there is a procedure that provides longer-lasting scalp camouflage called scalp micropigmentation (SMP). We offer SMP procedures as part of a comprehensive approach to hair restoration at Root Hair Institute.
Reduce stress levels
Engage in healthy habits that help reduce stress and promote a healthier lifestyle. Reduce stress in your life as much as possible and when it is not possible to eliminate sources of stress then find ways to manage it such as meditation, journaling, spending time outdoors, exercising regularly, spending time doing hobbies or activities you enjoy, and prioritizing self-care.
Taking care of one’s hair can help in maintaining its fullness. Using more natural hair products and avoiding harsh chemicals and heat can be a step towards rejuvenating the hair. This can help avoid any breakage. It also helps to avoid vigorous brushing or pulling the hair too much including with tight hairstyles.
Massage your scalp daily
A regular scalp massage may promote the growth of thicker, healthier hair as it stimulates hair follicles due to increased blood flow to the follicles and reduced muscular tension of the scalp. Try giving the scalp a physical massage for at least 4 minutes daily.
Eating a healthy diet
Ensure that you are eating a healthy diet made mostly of whole foods with adequate protein, iron, selenium, and zinc. If you are unsure of your nutritional needs, discuss this with your doctor, nutritionist, or dietitian.
Use an appropriate shampoo
Generally, overwashing and using harsh or drying shampoos can leave the scalp and hair dry which many people are aware is not good for their hair. In addition, the scalp and hair being too oily are also not good for the hair. Find a balance with the frequency of washing and products that you use where your scalp and hair are not dry and also not oily.
You can also consider adding shampoos formulated to make the hair look and feel thicker. However, before spending money on these types of often expensive shampoos, consider getting checked out by a hair loss doctor to determine what is causing your hair loss.
When to visit a doctor for your receding hairline
Consider getting checked out by a hair loss doctor if you experience any of the following:
Your hair is falling out in clumps
It can be normal to lose up to 150 hairs per day. However, any increase in the amount of hair you are losing or the hair falling out in clumps is not expected or normal and should be evaluated.
You have a visible bald spot on your scalp
If you have any visible areas of thinning or bald spots, then this would be a sign that you should get checked out.
You’re concerned about the way your hair looks
For many conditions and treatments, the earlier the underlying cause is addressed and/or treatment is started the better. If you are noticing it and it is bothering you or affecting your confidence, it is time to get checked out. Untreated hair loss can have effects on everything from social and emotional health, and self-confidence, to professional performance in some individuals. It can affect many aspects of life, so it is important to get it checked out.
If you are in the Seattle area or willing to travel there to be seen, consider scheduling a consultation at Root Hair Institute.
A receding hairline can affect the lives of those experiencing it, but with all the emerging medical procedures and therapies available, there is hope. No need to hide, feel ashamed, or hopeless.
Root Hair Institute in Seattle is made up of a team of the best hair restoration surgeons who provide clients with proper treatments to restore their hair and give them back hope and confidence in the process.