Receding Hairline In Men: Treatment Options And Causes

receding hairline

Let’s be honest. For most men, hair loss can be pretty devastating to face.

If you are just in your early twenties, this can be pretty hard to take.

Hair adds to an essential aspect of an individual’s personality, and it can be depressing to see hair falling off your head at a young age.

Research done by the American Hair Loss Association has shown that 

Although it is commonly accepted that men lose hair as they age, it can also start anywhere between 17 to 28.

What is a receding hairline?

In the simple sense, your hairline can be described as the edge of your hair—the area where the forehead becomes the scalp.

A receding hairline is when your hair begins to thin and lose its original appearance.

In some instances, hair can also fall out from the crown portion or both.

What are the signs of a receding hairline?

Here are some of the notable signs of a receding hairline in men:

  • Slow hair and nail growth.
  • Significant changes in the shape of your hairline.
  • Loose strands of hair on your shampoo or brush.
  • Excessive hair loss after combing or shampooing.

Also read our article on “Early warning signs of a receding hairline in men

What are the stages of a receding hairline?

Hair loss can appear in three different stages:

1. Thinning all over

2. Thinning of the crown portion (0 shaped receding hairline)

3. M shaped receding hairline

The following are the stages in which hair loss happens in adult men.

Stage 1- This is the initial stage that is barely noticeable. Here, hair loss begins at the top portion of the head.

Stage 2– Receding hairline starts to be more visible around the temple region.

Stage 3- Hair loss at the temple regions gains more visibility.

Stage 4- You could notice a significant reduction in the hairline at this stage. Hair at the vertex region will grow thin and slowly disappear. The middle part of the hair separates both areas of hair loss.

Stage 5- In this stage, you can see that receding hairlines have progressed much further. Hair at the middle portion of the scalp gets even narrower, making it hard to treat. 

Stage 6- There is extensive hair loss at this stage. Both sides are experiencing hair loss. However, the middle region that is used to separate the area is not entirely bare.

Stage 7- This is the final stage in which hair loss can be considered to be complete.

What are the causes of receding hairline in men?

There is not one, but innumerable causes contribute to receding hairline in men. Here are some of them.

1. Changes In hormones

This is one of the important causes of receding hairline in men. In addition, research has revealed that a hormone known as DHT directly impacts hair loss in men.

DHT causes the hair follicles to shrink in a way that they no longer produce new hair.

2. Age

The age of a man undeniably has an impact on receding hairline.

Research done by the Journal of Investigative Dermatology has provided clear cut evidence that by the time European men reach 80, almost 80% of them have a receding hairline.

On a healthy scalp, there are several thousand hair follicles. As each hair falls out, new follicles replace them.

As a man starts to age, the ability of the follicles to grow new hair rapidly diminishes.

3. Reaction of certain medications

A typical example of this is chemotherapy used for the treatment of cancer. This treatment is used to rapidly destroy the cancer cells that cause a person’s hair to fall out.

Specific health problems such as depression, high blood pressure, thyroid disorder, anaemia and malignancy also result in hair thinning.

4. Diet lacking essential nutrients

If you consume a diet that is not rich in essential nutrients such as minerals, vitamins, and proteins, hair loss can occur as a body responds to malnutrition.

Thus it is vital to ensure that your hair gets an adequate amount of oxygenated and nutrient-rich blood.

5. Smoking

Have you been smoking too much lately and noticed that you are losing more hair?

This is because toxins present in cigarette smoke shrinks the blood vessels carrying nutrient-rich blood to the head, depriving them of essential nutrients to grow healthy hair.

6. Genetic Factors

If your ancestral line has premature hair loss, it could be the genes you inherited causing your hair loss.

In adult men, genetic factors play a critical role in the growth of healthy hair. For example, hereditary male pattern baldness is a condition that occurs due to a specific combination of genes.

Photo by Braňo on Unsplash

7. Strong chemicals and products

Certain hair care products such as conditioners and shampoos can sometimes contain strong chemicals that can harm your scalp.

If you notice too much hair loss after trying out a new hair care product, then that product might be the culprit.

Stop using that, and you will see that your hair grows back to normal.

8. Dandruff

Dandruff is a specific skin condition that causes flaky skin on the scalp region. As a result of this, the skin falls out, leaving white flakes on your shoulders.

This does not directly cause hair loss. However, dandruff can lead to intense itching in the head, causing a person to scratch frequently on the scalp damaging hair follicles.

If the flakes are caused due to an infection from fungus, hair loss is inevitable, and intense treatment is required with medicated shampoos.

Check out habits that will help slow your receding hairline

How is it diagnosed?

Since there are several possible causes of hair loss in men, to zero in on the exact cause, you will have to seek the help of a certified dermatologist.

Your medical professional will review your family, personal and medical history to determine the real reason behind your receding hairline.

He might also perform a pull test, where he physically pulls out a few of your hair to check how many of them fall out easily.

Dermatologists often ask people to perform a blood test to check if they have a nutritional deficiency, thyroid problem or any hormonal imbalances.

If you are not keen on visiting a dermatologist, a visit to the family medical professional will help to clear out any confusion.

Receding hairline treatment in men

1. Anthralin- Helps to grow new hair 

2. Minoxidil- FDA approved drug for treating hair loss.

3. Corticosteroids- Reduce inflammation around the scalp and help to grow new hair

4. Scalp massage- Help to improve blood circulation in the scalp area and grow new hair strands.

5. Finasteride and Dutasteride- Slow down the rate at which testosterone is converted into DHT, thereby reducing hair loss and promoting new hair growth. 

6. Natural products- Shampoos and hai care products including natural ingredients like Saw Palmetto, Caffeine, Argan,etc help in promoting hair growth. 

7. Edible Biotin tablets- Provide essential proteins to the hair follicles for growth. 

8. Laser therapy- Using a 600 nm laser to induce new hair growth.

Speak to our team of medical professionals online to find a suitable treatment for male pattern baldness here.


S Ranganathan and T Mukhopadhyay(5 April 2020)DANDRUFF: THE MOST COMMERCIALLY EXPLOITED SKIN DISEASE, Available at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2887514/ [Accessed 19 Sep 2021]

F Hedon(15 April 2003)Anxiety and erectile dysfunction: a global approach to ED enhances results and quality of life, Available at https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12825100/ [Accessed 19 Sep 2021]

Ralph M Trüeb(3 Mar 2003)Association between smoking and hair loss: another opportunity for health education against smoking?, Available at https://www.karger.com/Article/Abstract/68894 [Accessed 19 Sep 2021]

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