So, your hairline is receding and you want to know exactly why this is happening and if you will have a chance to stop any further recession and even regrow it?
This article contains simple steps and advice that have been proven to cause hairline regrowth in men.
But first, here is a closer look at the phenomenon of the male receding hairline.
What Is A Receding Hairline?
A hairline is a line of hair follicles that rests in the temporofrontal region of the scalp. This is along the forehead and the temples, and it is the natural hairline for the vast majority of individuals.
A receding hairline, however, occurs when hair loss begins near this region.
This is known as frontal baldness. It occurs when the hair follicles on the front line begin to produce less hair due to hair follicle miniaturization and, eventually, shut down entirely.
In the case of women, the hairline recedes in a slightly different pattern and looks more like thinning than having a very distinct line.
A receding hairline can be an early sign of balding, or it can be a natural progression caused by maturation.
How To Tell If You Have A Receding Hairline Or Just A Mature Hairline
As mentioned, there are two types of hairlines that involve recession. A receding hairline is the permanent type, and this occurs as a result of male-pattern baldness. A maturing hairline, however, is temporary and results in a hairline that is pushed a bit further back than the original hairline due to maturation. This is seen in the late teens through early 20s, and it’s a natural process as boys turn into men.
Here is how to tell the difference between a receding hairline and a maturing hairline.
There are a few indications that your hairline is actually receding – not just maturing – due to male-pattern baldness. The biggest indicator is the manner in which your hairline moves back.
In a maturing hairline, the line will typically move back evenly. This creates a more distinct look – doing away with the rounded edges of boyhood – and will stop once it has reached its peak of maturation. A receding hairline, on the other hand, will move back unevenly. You will typically see more recession in the temples, leading to the horseshoe pattern commonly seen in those with male-pattern baldness.
(Do you have a widow’s peak? Learn what this means in terms of hairline recession here.)
Why Does Male Pattern Baldness Start With A Receding Hairline?
Male Pattern Baldness, also known as Androgenetic Alopecia, is the most common cause of hair loss among men throughout the world. The reason it occurs is not quite so straightforward, and there are many factors believed to play a role.
Lifestyle, genetics, and environmental factors are thought to play a significant part.
Perhaps the most commonly accepted theory is that men and women with AGA suffer from a sensitivity to the androgen hormone, DHT. And while there is certainly evidence to back these claims, another possible cause for AGA that is only recently coming to light is scalp tension.
If you are interested in the scalp tension theory, please take a look at our Growband article.
While the true cause is up for debate, the majority of proposed theories all have one thing in common: inflammation.
The hair follicles are organs that require continuous blood flow to receive oxygen and nutrients. However, inflammation which may be caused by injury, illness, or an overactive immune response, can slow this blood flow and eventually cut it off for good.
Over time, this leads to chronic hair follicle miniaturization.
When this occurs, the hair produced from the affected follicles becomes shorter and thinner. This is due to the shortening of the anagen phase of hair growth (the active growing phase) and, soon, the follicle is no longer able to do its job.
To answer the question of why male-pattern baldness starts with a receding hairline, here is a look at androgen receptor locations on the scalp.
Sawaya et. al. performed a study that looked at androgen receptor location, as well as 5-alpha-reductase levels in the frontal hair follicles of both men and women. 5-alpha-reductase is the enzyme responsible for converting testosterone to DHT, so high levels indicate such DHT-producing activity.
In the study, it was shown that men had 40% higher numbers of androgen receptors in their frontal hair follicles than women. In addition, the studied men also had up to 3.5 times more 5-alpha-reductase present in their frontal hair follicles than women.
The results of this study explain two things. First, it explains why hairline recession is the first sign of male-pattern baldness typically seen in men. Second, it explains the difference between pattern hair loss as experienced by men and women.
Women, unlike men, typically begin to experience loss at the top of their scalp. This is due to the increased presence of both androgen receptors and 5-alpha-reductase in the female occipital region.
Then there is also scalp tension – one of the most important factors that determine if and where hair loss takes place.
A 2015 study showed that areas of the scalp that had the highest tension points (and therefore the lowest blood flow) corresponded with those areas that go bald first.
As you can see, the light blue-green areas show the highest tension points, and they are where are hairlines first start to recede.
How Quickly Will My Hairline Continue To Recede If I Don’t Do Anything?
The truth is, male-pattern baldness and the rate your hair loss will progress is highly unpredictable. This is because a number of factors – including hormone levels, stress, illness, and medications – play a role in hair loss progression, and each factor differs from person to person.
While you may not be able to predict the speed your hair loss will occur, you can determine the stage of hair loss you are currently at.
The stages of hair loss are typically determined using a scale, called the Norwood scale of hair loss:
On the Norwood scale, hair loss is classified as pictured above.
There are seven major stages of hair loss, ranging from little to no recession (what some may classify as a mature hairline) to complete loss of hair on the front and top parts of the scalp.
If you do nothing, your hair loss will progress through the above stages. You may not be able to put an exact timeline on your loss, but with male-pattern baldness, further hair loss is only a matter of time.
5 Ways To Stop & Prevent Any Further Hairline Recession
One of the worst feelings in the world is knowing that every day your hairline thins and recedes a bit further. That the ‘M-shaped’ pattern of male pattern baldness is developing, and that you are on the path to baldness.
Fortunately, it is possible to prevent any further hairline recession when you take a multi-pronged approach to treatment. Here are just a few steps you can begin with.
1: Stop Drinking Tap Water
A simple change to get you started is to stop drinking tap water. Tap water contains fluoride, among other chemicals that interfere with the natural processes of the body.
In this case, fluoride is added to prevent the growth of bacteria, keeping the water ‘clean’ and it has also shown to prevent tooth decay.
Unfortunately, however, our body was never designed to ingest fluoride on such a large or regular basis. What happens is that the fluoride actually starts harming our own (healthy) bacteria inside our body.
With the fluoride harming our healthy bacteria it opens the body up to autoimmune problems and one of the results of this is sensitivity to DHT. A better option is to use a high quality filter, bottled water, or ideally a natural source of mineral water.
2: Perform an Elimination Diet
There are many foods we eat on a daily basis that may not seem to have an ill effect on our health, but that can be wreaking havoc internally. These are often referred to as sensitivities (as opposed to allergies) and they can lead to body-wide inflammation.
If there is one thing we know about inflammation, it is how bad it is for the hair follicles.
The foods most likely to trigger a sensitivity are those that are heavily processed, like grains, dairy, and red meats.
An elimination diet removes all possible sensitivities from your diet which are then reintroduced one by one back over a period of time.
By performing an elimination diet early in your hair loss journey, you can gain an understanding of the foods that are most likely causing harm. You can then remove these foods permanently and slow down the inflammation so often associated with hair fall.
3: Stop Overstyling
Gels, pomades, and serums are often used to style the hair, and they may even be used to cover up already-present hairline thinning. But these products and other techniques associated with overstyling (such as straightening and curling) can have a negative effect on the hair follicles.
The hair contains an amino acid called collagen which is responsible for elasticity. While the hair can stretch just enough to survive everyday environmental conditions, overstyling may be too much for it to handle.
When the hair is pulled past its limit, it begins to affect the hair follicles. This can lead to hair loss known as traction alopecia, and it can even cause irreversible damage to the follicles if allowed to continue for too long.
The answer is to reduce your use of styling products and heated hair tools and go for a more natural look. This will reduce pulling on the hair strands, which will decrease hair follicle traction and may even slow hair fall.
4: Stop Having Really Hot Showers
Using really hot water on your hair every day is unnatural. The skin never evolved to deal with such hot water on a daily basis. The result is that the hair and scalp get stripped of many of the natural oils that protect them from damage.
Cold showers boost circulation in the scalp and leave the hair follicles with all of their natural oils still there.
If your scalp is excessively greasy, you will need to look closely at your diet as a cause. Stop using hot water on your hair, and your hairline will thank you over time.
5: Stop With The Bad Posture
It may sound rather silly to start with and of course, the connection is not quite that simple, but there is data to show that sedentary lifestyles increase the chances of hair loss.
The main reason that bad posture aggravates hair loss is that it tightens the skin from the shoulders to the neck and into the scalp. This tightness then decreases blood flow to the scalp. As you will learn later, blood flow is very important when it comes to hairline regrowth.
Most of us are sitting down each day, but an upright position would help relax the muscles and skin through the shoulders, neck, and scalp, enabling greater blood flow.
6 Ways To Regrow Your Hairline If It Has Already Receded
Regrowing your hairline is harder than stopping any further recession, but it is possible.
An important point to remember is that before regrowing your receded hairline, you must first stop the causes of hair loss in the first place. If you do not fix these first, you will be fighting a losing battle.
So, once you have got those sorted, it is time to promote active hair growth. Here is how.
1: Prescription and Over-the-Counter Treatments
The regrowth methods most often recommended to hair loss sufferers are minoxidil and finasteride, and for good reason!
Both drugs have been approved for the treatment of hair loss by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA), and they have also been proven time and again to provide positive results to users.
Minoxidil is a topical formulation best known by the brand name Rogaine. It was initially developed as an oral medication for the treatment of high blood pressure, but the unexpected side effect of hair growth soon made it a popular drug for off-label use.
Its exact mechanism is unknown, though there are a few strong theories. The first suggests that, as a potassium channel opener, minoxidil is able to widen the blood vessels and increase blood flow to the follicles. The second hypothesizes that the drug’s upregulation of certain growth hormones, specifically vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), plays a major role.
However it works, there is one thing for certain – many hair loss sufferers have seen significant regrowth with its use.
As stated by researchers from the first study (and later reiterated in the second):
Topical minoxidil appears to be effective in helping to maintain nonvellus hair growth in men with androgenetic alopecia.
As such, minoxidil is a drug that is seriously worth considering.
Finasteride is another popular drug used for hair loss but, unlike minoxidil, it is taken orally.
The drug was originally developed to treat prostate enlargement which is triggered by an excess of DHT within the prostate. As such, the drug works by inhibiting 5-alpha-reductase, the precursor to DHT. Finasteride works similarly in treating hair loss.
How effective is it in treating hair loss? In terms of reducing scalp DHT levels, finasteride can do so from between 60 to 75 percent.
A study performed in 2001 found that the drug resulted in a net improvement in the anagen to telogen ratio of 47 percent. This means it increases the number of follicles in anagen phase so as to induce hair growth.
Unfortunately, there are some side effects associated with finasteride use. After all, DHT is a hormone that plays a variety of roles throughout the body. The majority of these are sexual in nature, and this is why many hair loss sufferers opt for minoxidil or a non-drug solution altogether.
2: Daily Scalp Massages and Exercises
If medications are not of interest to you, or if you would like to combine them with another technique, then consider scalp massages and exercises as the next step.
Hair loss, at its most fundamental level, is a blood flow problem. Blood flow is one reason why minxodil works. It is also why similar blood flow-promoting substances, such as peppermint oil, work.
If you touch your scalp around the hairline where the hair has receded, you will notice the skin here is thinner and less pliable than at the back of your scalp where the hair is thick.
Calcification and fibrosis have set in, reducing blood flow and killing the follicles. So, to regrow your hairline, you will need to massively increase the blood flow to these receded parts of your scalp.
The quickest and most effective way to do this is with scalp massages and exercises.
Scalp massage can reduce tension in the scalp while also increasing blood flow.
To perform a basic massage technique, take both hands and place them on either side of your head, using your five fingers to press against the scalp. Place the fingers above the ear and close to the temple, or along the hairline.
Gently push against the scalp and move your hands around in small circles, so that the scalp moves too. You should feel your entire scalp move. The more movement the better.
Now, while you are doing that, raise your eyebrows as far up as your can and hold for two seconds before relaxing again for two seconds, and back and forth, whilst still massaging with your hands.
Try to do this for 5 minutes each day, at least.
This is the most basic massage and exercise combination and there are many more to learn that boost circulation significantly more.
3: Overhaul Your Diet
In most cases, hair loss is not caused by nutrient deficiencies. However, for hairline regrowth to take place your body needs the raw building blocks for the hair follicle. These include iron, niacin, biotin, calcium, and so much more.
While nutritional supplements can be helpful in balancing out your nutrient intake, the best approach is through an improved diet.
A varied diet – one that focuses on whole foods such as meats, produce, nuts and seeds, and whole grains – will provide you with all of the vitamins and nutrients your body needs. These benefits will extend throughout the body, including to the hair follicles.
Bone broth is a great source of nutrients and minerals and, most importantly, collagen. This amino acid plays a role in skin elasticity, as well as cell maintenance and renewal.
Other foods to consider are greens (e.g. spirulina, spinach, kale), healthy fats (nuts, seeds, oils such as olive and coconut), lean proteins (chicken, turkey, white-fleshed fish, greek yogurt), and whole grains (oats, barley, quinoa, rye).
These foods will provide support to the systems throughout your body and, as a result, support healthy hair growth.
4: Use a Dermaroller
Minoxidil and scalp massages are great ways to increase blood flow to the scalp, but there is another device with a similar outcome. That device is the dermaroller.
The dermaroller is a small roller (often made of plastic) with metal pins attached. The roller is then attached to a handle that enables the device to be rolled over the scalp, face, or other areas on the body.
The tiny metal pins penetrates into the dermal layer stimulating the production of collagen, reducing fibrosis and calcification, and increasing blood circulation in the scalp.
Scientists conducted a study to find out the effectiveness of the dermaroller.
They organised people into two groups with all participants suffering from various degrees of hair loss. In the first group they used only minoxidil. In the second group they used minoxidil and a dermaroller.
As you can see from the graphs below, the dermaroller group (known technically as microneedling) achieved much better hair regrowth after 12 weeks.
The mean hair count of the dermaroller group went from 226 up to 317 (an increase of 91) while the mean hair count of the minoxidil group went from 201 up to 218 (an increase of just 17).
When using the dermaroller, you will want to create an even coverage across the thinning hairline by rolling in different directions. First horizontal, then vertical, and finally diagonal.
Begin by using the dermaroller only once per week. If you find that using it once per week is okay, you can always increase the rate to twice per week.
What size dermaroller you use is up to you. You may want to start on the low end (0.5mm), but you can increase to 1.0mm or 1.5mm (the same size in the study above) over time.
It is very important that you wash the dermaroller thoroughly after using it. If the spikes are dirty you will be introducing germs to the wounded skin causing extra irritation, making it take longer to heal, and increasing the risk of infection.
Clean the spikes thoroughly, firstly with alcohol and then with boiling hot water.
Using natural methods to regrow your receding hairline is possible, but it will take time and effort.
It is not as easy as simply taking a pill every day, but in the long term it is a much more effective, sustainable, and overall healthy option.