A receding hairline is often a dreaded sign for men. It usually is one of the first signs that permanent hair loss is occurring and baldness may be in your future. This is especially true for men who have relatives with male pattern baldness as well. Often, the dreaded receding hairline is met with a habitual observation of the hairline. Let’s talk about how to identify a receding hairline and what to do about it.
What is a receding hairline?
A receding hairline occurs when the hair following your face begins to retract toward the crown of your head. A receding hairline is often a sign of androgenic alopecia, which is a genetic condition of hair loss. The gradual waning if the hairline can occur in a few different patterns in males: it can look like a V or an M or may develop into a horseshoe shape. Men are the most likely group to be affected by a receding hairline. However, women may also experience this form of hair loss. A receding hairline in a woman usually appears with hair thinning above the temples and a widening part.
Several factors can contribute to a receding hairline. One of the more compelling theories is that a receding hairline is due to genetics. This can ring true for many people with receding hairlines because they often occur in families. For example, if you have male relatives with receding hairlines, the odds are more likely that you may also experience this form of hair loss.
Although there is strong evidence for a genetic link, many other factors that may cause a receding hairline, including:
- Poor Diet
- Hormone changes
- Harsh hairstyling methods and treatments
Is there a way to prevent a receding hairline?
In some cases, there is little a person can do to prevent a complete recession of the hairline. However, most cases of a receding hairline can be effectively managed if it is detected early. Indeed, early intervention can help preserve your original hairline. If you are concerned about a receding hairline or you have family members with this condition, it is important to monitor for changes along your hairline frequently.
How to identify a receding hairline
We know early detection and intervention is key. Here are five tips on how to identify a receding hairline:
Check your hairline frequently. A receding hairline can start as early as your teens and twenties, so it is never too early to start checking for hair loss. Try to check it the first of every month so that you are consistent in checking for changes.
Take pictures. When you see your hairline every day in the mirror, it can be hard to see changes, especially if they are subtle. Take photos when you examine your hairline the first of each month so that you can compare photos over a few months. Try to get a photo from each side of your head, your face, and the top of your head.
Look for an uneven hairline. If your hairline starts to look patchy or uneven, it is often a sign that you are losing hair.
Check for an M or V-shaped pattern. Hairloss in men often takes the shape of an M or V. This usually occurs once the receding hairline has progressed beyond the uneven stage,
Watch for thinning hair on the top of your head or part line. Men may simultaneously lose hair on their hairlines and crown of their heads. Early signs of hair loss in women usually manifest as a thinning or widening part line.
How to stop a receding hairline in its tracks
If you notice that your hairline is beginning to look uneven and you think it may be receding, it is crucial to figure out what may be behind the hair loss, so you know how to treat it.
Start by making lifestyle changes at the first sign of possible hair loss. For example, eat a diet high in protein and vitamins to help support hair growth. Reducing stress can also help decrease cortisol levels and direct surplus energy toward hair growth and maintenance. Multiple studies have found that people who smoke struggle are at greater risk for hair loss. Smoking cessation will increase circulation and bring more oxygen to your hair follicles.
If you have a medical condition that causes hair loss, it is important to treat that condition. For example, people with low thyroid hormone (called hypothyroidism) can struggle with hair thinning. People with hypothyroidism can reverse hair thinning by taking the right amount of thyroid hormone replacement medication. If you have recently started a new medication and are noticing hair loss, talk with your doctor to see if there are other medication options to manage your condition without the side effect of hair loss. Sometimes, changing medications may compromise your health, so you may need to try other medications to restore your hair.
Over 50 million men and 30 million women in the United States have androgenic alopecia. Indeed, androgenic alopecia accounts for the highest percentage of hair loss. While there is not much you can do about your DNA, some treatment options can stop and even reverse the symptoms of a receding hairline.
Since the 1950s, people have been using the well-known product minoxidil (brand name Rogaine). This product can be found at most drug stores and supermarkets. It has been proven to work when used consistently. However, once you stop using this product, you will start losing hair once again. For people seeking long term results, this is sometimes not the best option. Finasteride is a prescription medication used to treat androgenic alopecia in men only. Initially prescribed as a medication for high blood pressure, finasteride was also found to stop receding hairlines. Like minoxidil, finasteride does not lead to permanent hair re-growth, so you must continue to take this medication. However, it does have some side effects that may be unpleasant, including decreased libido and erectile dysfunction.
Technology has advanced since the discovery of finasteride and minoxidil as solutions to hair loss. Newer formulations like nanoxidil 5% are better suited to regrow your hair faster while improving the health and look of your existing hair. Nanoxidil works by prolonging the anagen (or growing) phase of the hair cycle so that your hair stays on your head for longer. It also encourages follicles to begin growing again by suppressing the effects of DHT (dihydrotestosterone) at the follicle.
Nanoxidil does not require a prescription and can be found online. DS Laboratories offers products that not only have nanoxidil 5%, but other ingredients that block chronic inflammation prevent follicular fibrosis and increases endothelial growth factors. Look for products in the Spectral.DNC-N (for men) and Spectral.CSF (for women) lines that effectively fight receding hairlines caused by androgenic alopecia. Other ingredients in these products that stimulate hair growth include caffeine, retinol, azelaic acid, and adenosine.
When products do not work, and receding hairlines become quite severe, it is helpful to consult a medical doctor who specializes in hair loss. There have been many advancements in hair transplant operations that can help you re-grow hair that you have lost.