An uneven hairline can be devastating to men and women alike. Does it really mean one is predestined to suffer from pattern baldness, or is there a possibility that the occurrence is just a natural, normal change to hair?
This post will discuss different hairlines, including the three topics below:
- The definition of an unnatural hairline, and its most common causes.
- How to tell whether an uneven hairline is natural, or whether it is an early sign of balding.
- How to fix a patchy hairline, whether it is natural or caused by progressive hair loss.
This article will help you to interpret the most likely cause of your hair loss, as well as how to go about regrowing it (if possible).
What is an Uneven Hairline and What Causes It?
An uneven hairline is asymmetrical, typically with one side having less hair than the other side. This is a common phenomenon, experienced by both men and women.
There are a few things that can contribute to this kind of hairline including traction alopecia and male-pattern baldness.
This is the term for hair loss caused by over styling, but it is a common problem for many men and women.
Even in individuals with healthy hair follicles and no family history of male-pattern baldness, hair loss can occur as a result of too much stimulation (through combing/brushing or constant wearing of hats/caps) or too much pressure. This can be seen in males and females.
It is commonly believed that male-pattern baldness is caused by a sensitivity to DHT, a by-product of the sex hormone testosterone.
Men with this form of balding experience hair loss in the tell-tale M-shaped pattern. This is because androgen receptors are located in abundance near the temples, and this is what DHT attaches to when it makes its way to the scalp (1).
Just as the majority of faces are not symmetrical, the same could be said for hairlines. If receding hairlines are a common occurrence in your family, and they are not accompanied by hair loss, then it is likely the unusual recession is simply your natural hairline.
Is It An Early Sign of Hair Loss?
If you have begun to notice a receding pattern to your hairline, you may be wondering whether this is a sign of imminent hair loss. That answer is, maybe.
Male-pattern baldness can certainly contribute to thinning and hair loss on the hairline. In some people, this balding can be asymmetrical. Here is how to know whether your hairline is natural or a symptom of something more.
First, ask yourself when the hair loss appeared.
If you have had it all your life and hair loss has never been a problem, then it is likely this is just your natural line.
It is also possible for the hairline to start receding in different places at a later point, such as during your late teens and early 20s, without it being a sign of imminent hair loss. This is because as you mature, your hairline does as well. This is a natural process and, as long as the receding stops, it is nothing to worry about.
If the unevenness of your hairline has seemed to occur almost overnight, however, then it is good to better acquaint yourself with other symptoms commonly seen in individuals in the early stages of balding.
Other Symptoms to Indicate Hair Loss
As male-pattern baldness progresses, it becomes easier for the loss to be diagnosed as such. In the beginning, however, the symptoms may be a bit more subtle.
Obvious Hair Loss in the Shower
Due to the agitation involved in shampooing and massaging your scalp and hair, the shower is a great place to keep an eye on hair fall.
While it is not possible to exactly measure the amount of hair loss seen, it is easy to tell when it is becoming more than usual.
Itchy, Flaky Scalp
If hair loss is caused by Androgenetic Alopecia (male-pattern baldness), it is likely to have a buildup of DHT on the scalp. This buildup can contribute to the itching and flaking that is commonly seen in individuals with hair loss.
Fortunately, there are natural ways to remove the buildup of DHT on the scalp.
Pattern hair loss occurs as a result of hair follicle miniaturization. In simplest terms, the sensitivity to DHT triggers the resting phase in the follicles. This leads to shorter hairs being produced until, eventually, the hair shaft is too short to penetrate the scalp.
As the hair loss progresses, you may notice thinning in the form of wispy areas of hair. This is most likely to be seen in the temples or near the forehead because this is where the most sensitive androgen receptors reside.
While having relatives with male-pattern baldness does not mean you are 100% predestined to inheriting it, it does mean you are genetically predisposed to the condition.
How to Fix Your Hairline
There are a few popular methods that can be used to fix your line of hair.
Get a Hair Transplant
There is no doubt that hair transplants are a common treatment for men and women who suffer from uneven hairlines.
The procedure involves the grafting of hair from other parts of the body (typically the back and sides of the scalp) onto the bald areas. There are a few different harvesting methods, though Follicular Unit Transplant is the most common.
In almost half of individuals who use minoxidil to treat frontal baldness, results are positive (2).
However, before you give this method a try, there are two major things to consider.
First, minoxidil only works as long as you use it. This means that, while the results may be encouraging, you will have to continue to use it your whole life if you want to continue to see them. It also takes quite a long time to work, and often involves an initial period of shedding.
Second, frontal baldness (and uneven hairlines) are typically related to male-pattern baldness, as mentioned above. The only way to truly treat the problem is to treat the underlying cause.
The underlying cause of hair loss will vary. And while DHT was believed to be the sole culprit of MPB for decades, it now seems that other causes, like scalp tension, may be equally (or more so) to blame.
Practice Scalp Massage
One of the reasons that minoxidil works so well is because it increases blood flow to the immediate area. There is a way to do this without minoxidil, though, and that’s scalp massage.
Scalp massage is the manipulation of the scalp using fingertips or a dedicated head massage device. As the scalp is massaged, the blood flow increases. This ensures the delivery of oxygen and vital nutrients to the hair follicles. It also works by reducing scalp tension which is believed to be a major contributor to hair loss in many men (3).
The best thing about scalp massage is it is easy and low cost. Here is a basic scalp massage routine:
- Place the fingertips of each hand just above the ears on either side of the head. Begin to move your hands in slow, circular motions.
- Slowly work your way up from the sides of the scalp to the crown. You can backtrack at any point to ensure you’re hitting all areas.
- Continue the circular motions at the crown, and then slowly move towards the hairline and temples. If you experience MPB, you’ll want to spend the most time focusing here. You can vary the size of your circular motions and backtrack as needed.
- Finally, move from the temples and hairline to the base of the skull. This area (the hairline, over the ears, and the base of the skull) is where much of the scalp’s tension is held.
Your massage sessions should last about 10 minutes. Consistency is key, so it is good to perform the massage once or twice per day.
To further increase blood flow and reduce scalp tension, consider performing microneedling. You can do this in addition to, or in place of, scalp massage.
Microneedling is a procedure that involves the use of tiny needles. The needles penetrate the scalp, which causes wounding. As the wounds heal, the process will encourage blood flow and stimulate hair growth (4).
A few notes for your safety:
- You should never share your microneedling device.
- You should clean and sanitize your microneedling device using rubbing alcohol or antibacterial soap after each session.
Microneedling can seem daunting, but you can easily perform microneedling with at-home devices like dermarollers and dermastamps.
To get started, use a needle length of no more than 1.0mm. You can perform microneedling once or twice per week.
Note: If you currently use minoxidil or another topical solution, you will want to avoid applying the solution immediately following the procedure. You should wait at least 12 hours before applying a topical solution to the scalp.
If you are looking to only target your hairline, then laser therapy can be a good option to consider.
Laser therapy involves the use of low-light lasers. The lasers stimulate the hair follicles, and this is believed to promote hair growth.
Lasers have been used for years in the medical field, and especially in dermatology. In terms of how lasers may be used to stimulate hair growth, here are a few possible mechanisms as supported by scientific findings (5):
- They stimulate epidermal stem cells. Stem cells are unspecialized cells which can, essentially, be “told” what to become based on the body’s needs. In the case of LLLT, the lasers stimulate the stem cells which triggers them to perform repairs.
- They promote anagen phase hair growth. The hair has three phases within its growth cycle, of which anagen is the “active” phase. By promoting anagen phase, LLLT may prolong the time hair follicles have to produce longer, healthier hair.
- They reduce inflammation. Inflammation is a hallmark of many types of hair loss, including pattern baldness and alopecia areata. LLLT may help to reduce inflammation, which can reverse miniaturization and enable hair to grow uninhibited.
One reason that many people may not consider laser therapy to be a viable option for hair growth is the price point. It can be costly and time-consuming to get laser therapy done by a medical professional. The good news on that front is that there are many at-home LLLT devices available.
The most popular LLLT devices for at-home use are laser combs and laser helmets. They are easy to set up and use, so you can perform LLLT in the comfort of your own home.
There have been human studies done in regards to LLLT and hair growth. However, further studies are required to determine true efficacy and safety.
While LLLT has yet to be approved by the FDA, laser combs have been declared safe for human use by the FDA.
A wonky hairline can be an indicator of a deeper issue, but it can also simply be a natural occurrence due to genetics.
However, there are ways to treat the issue no matter its cause. This article is just the beginning. If your patchy hairline does worry you, and you think it may be the first sign of pattern baldness, it is best to begin tackling the problem now. For example, there are diet changes and scalp massages that can help to thicken your hairline within a few months when done correctly.