receding hairline

Did you know over 50 percent of women experience balding and 85 percent of men over the age of 50 are bald?

The American Hair Loss Association has already pointed out that 25 percent of men experience hair loss due to genetic factors even before the age of 21 years. These statistics give an idea that hair loss is very common in men and it is affecting women as well at an alarming rate.

Nonetheless, there are many factors that contribute to the receding hairline most of which owe due to environmental conditions and a deliberate attempt to overuse cosmetics. A Receding hairline in men and women is the significant cause of baldness or alopecia. However, the good news is that receding hairline can be treated with medication or surgeries to get a fuller volume of hair.

In this short discussion, we will introduce you to the issue of receding hairline in men and women, its causes, and the treatment options to deal with hair loss or hair thinning.

Receding hairline in men

Studies have found that receding hairline starts hitting men at the end of their puberty and with age, the effect becomes more revealing as the hairline moves back from the temples. In most cases the patterns appear to be either of the following:

  • Uneven hairline: The hairline recedes in an uneven pattern wherein one side of the hairline is higher than the other.
  • Widow’s Peak: Also known as the M-shaped hairline where the hairline at two sides recedes and the middle part comes forward giving it an M-shaped look.
  • Horseshoe pattern: It appears like a U-shaped pattern of hairline receding near the two sides of the temples.

It has already been established that in 95 percent of men with hair loss the main causative agent is the byproduct of testosterone and dihydrotestosterone (DHT). The hereditary condition called androgenic alopecia is caused by a genetic sensitivity to DHT causing the hair follicle to shrink and eventually producing thinner hair or showing prominent hair loss. In some cases, the hairline starts receding at the top of the head or crown which is a typical case of DHT hormone sensitivity.

Receding hairline in men is not uncommon which suggests that you are not alone and there are several treatment options that help maintain regular hair to give that confidence and vibrant look.

Receding hairline in women

Though uncommon, women also experience receding hairline. Here also causes can be immunological changes or hormones. Women’s physiological activities are mostly balanced by the right amount of oestrogen and progesterone. Hence, any decline in these hormones will reduce the required nourishment and enhancement of hair follicles.

Unlike in men, testosterone is produced in lower quantities in women and hair loss, to a great extent, is not contributed by the hormone DHT. Hence, you will see a pattern of baldness that is completely different from males. In women, hair becomes noticeably thinner and hair loss occurs across the entire scalp rather than making a particular shape. The most serious condition is called androgenic alopecia – a female-pattern hair loss. In such conditions hair loss is due to miniaturised hair follicles and the damage is permanent.

However, receding hairline in women is not overseen and there are several treatment options that can reverse the condition. Most over the counter medication works wonders at the initial stages of hair loss whereas you may need guided therapy for severe cases of hair loss.

Main causes of receding hairline

A healthy hair follicle is of utmost importance for the overall health of the hair. Anything happening in your body equally affects the strength and quality of the hair. A combination of several factors plays a key role in the health of the hair irrespective of the gender of the person including:

  • Age

As discussed earlier, up to 80% of men have receding hairline by the age of 80. In men, the chances of receding hairline start after puberty due to hormonal changes.

  • Genetics

If hair loss and balding runs in your family, you are more likely to have it at some age. In some cases the pattern of baldness is also the same.

  • Hormones

DHT is an important factor that affects the hair follicle making it to shrink causing permanent loss of hair. Women also produce a fair amount of DHT but hair loss is predominant when oestrogen and progesterone is also reduced as during menopause or due to any disorder.

  • Environment

Contaminated water or air causes hair to lose faster. Heavy metals or prolonged inhalation of toxic chemicals triggers hair loss which ultimately results in damage to hair follicles.

  • Stress

A much overlooked factor for hair loss is stress caused to a person. The stress causes hair follicles to remain dormant and prevent further growth of hair. However, this hair loss is temporary and with proper treatment the hair follicles can be revived again.

  • Medications

Medication such as chemotherapy drugs or levothyroxine for thyroid causes temporary hair loss and baldness which is often resolved after the treatment is over.

  • Lifestyles

Staying away from a healthy lifestyle such as smoking, unhealthy foods, and deficiency in nutrients produces a tremendous change in the health of the hair follicle. Smoking causes faster hair loss by reducing blood flow to the scalp and damaging hair follicles.

Cause of receding hairline in women has additional factors that are mainly due to hormonal changes.

  • Menopause
  • Lowering of progesterone and oestrogen
  • Pregnancy


The cumulative effect of factors impact the severity of baldness which eventually demands different treatment methods. For an effective outcome of any curative action, it is very important to know the extent of hair loss. Hence, categorising the receding hairline based on its intensity will help in customising receding hairline treatment plans and measure the effectiveness of the treatment. The pattern of baldness differs in men and women, and the scale used for describing baldness in male is not relevant for females.

Specialists divide the intensity on female hair loss pattern as:

  • Type I is the initiation of thinning out over a particular part.
  • Type II is an increase in thinning causing widening of the part.
  • Type III is further widening of the part creating a clear see-through area.

The most widely accepted grading scale to measure the extent of male-pattern baldness is the Norwood Scale which is described in the following table.

Norwood Scale
Stages Measurement of severity and pattern of hair loss
Stage 1 No significant receding of hairline
Stage 2 Hairline recedes slightly around the temples.
Stage 3 Balding pattern starts here and starts to show the M, U, or V shape at the temples
Stage 3 (Vertex) Hairline receding is similar to stage 2 but hair loss is significant on the top of the scalp or vertex.
Stage 4 More severe hair loss than stage 2 with almost not hair on the vertex. Appearance of band between temples and vertex.
Stage 5 Further hair loss caused the band to become thinner and sparser.
Stage 6 No presence of band and the hair loss at vertex merge with hair loss at temples.
Stage 7 Experience a severe hair loss where only a band of hair at the sides is present.
Norwood Class A A classic version where there is not balding at the vertex but rather hairline receding gradually starts from temples and moves backwards.

Receding Hairline Treatment

For an effective receding hairline treatment process, it is important to know the cause of receding hairline. An expert opinion is a great way to know how to stop receding hairline. In many cases these causes can be reversed to improve the health of hair.

First of all, staying healthy and happy is important for keeping yourself healthy. The lesser the stress the more you grow including your hair. However, an extremely receding hairline in men and women requires medical intervention and a healthy lifestyle.

To a greater extent hair loss caused by hormonal changes, diet, stress, or weight loss is completely treatable. Intake of necessary vitamins through diet and prescribed medication for hormonal changes will help in a great way. However, with certain kinds of hair loss which is irreversible, proper medication can slow down the process. In most such cases, changing the hair style or adding curls to the hair will hide most of the bald area.


There are different articles and blogs that give suggestions on how to stop receding hairline. However, the diagnosis of hair loss and its severity is precisely guided by hair experts who also help in planning preventive measures and treatments accordingly. Dr. A’s Clinic is an examplanary medical treatment facility for effective hair restoration treatments providing services to people at all walks of life.


Can the receding hairline grow back?

In many cases, receding hairline can be reversed but by being consistent with the FDA approved medication and treatments. Some topical drugs such as minoxidil have shown to reverse 75% of the hair loss.

M-shaped balding or widow’s peak can signify balding if the hair recedes onto the scalp. In some cases, it can be quicker but sometimes it may take 15-25 years to go bald.

An early sign of receding hairline is when hair starts thinning at a spot that the other area. You can also check for the signs of hair thinning at the corner, crown, and other areas of the scalp.

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