Have you noticed your hairline travelling a little further north than you’d like? While a receding hairline can be pretty distressing, it’s a very common occurrence among men. And with modern science, it's very treatable.
Hair loss affects 70 per cent of men, whether it's baldness, thinning hair, or a receding hairline. The good news is you may just be able to slow it down, stop it in its tracks and even stimulate new hair growth. These days, a number of hair loss treatments exist that do exactly this.
Here’s everything you need to know about how to stop a receding hairline, no matter what stage you're at.
What are the signs of a receding hairline?
First up, let’s define exactly what a receding hairline is. In a nutshell, it’s a gradual process whereby hair falls from the front of the hairline, or crown of your head, or possibly both. It can start at any point after puberty.
You may also hear it referred to as male pattern baldness (also known as androgenetic alopecia), which is basically progressive thinning of the hair that may or may not lead to total baldness. A receding hairline is generally the first step of male pattern hair loss.
So, how can you tell if you’re experiencing a receding hairline? There are a number of stages. Typically, hair starts falling from above the temples and continues thinning towards the back of the head.
In some cases, the receding hairline will remain straight and uniform across the head. In others, it will form a V-shape from the temples, which you may know as a widow’s peak.
Note that if you have a naturally high hairline or widow’s peak, it’s not necessarily a sign of a receding hairline. To technically have a receding hairline, you need to be continually losing pretty substantial amounts of hair and seeing your hairline move higher.
What causes a receding hairline?
Almost all of the time (that is, 95 per cent of the time), a receding hairline is caused by genetics. So if your parents have experienced a receding hairline or another type of hair loss, there’s a good chance you will, too.
You might also start losing your hair at around the same age your father did, and in a similar pattern. Take a look at some old pictures for a peek into the future.
Age is another factor that can cause a receding hairline, as hair loss is simply a knock-on effect of ageing. While some men lose their hair at a relatively young age, hair loss becomes more prevalent as men get older. By the time men reach 50, around 85 per cent of men experience hair thinning.
Other causes of hair loss include hormonal changes, stress, illness and even lifestyle choices. Both smoking and deficiencies in certain nutrients have been linked to decreased hair growth and hair loss in men too.
How to stop a receding hairline
Already noticed that your hairline is receding? You’ll be glad to know that all hope is not lost.
Here are some of the most common hair loss treatments.
Hair loss shampoo
If you use a shampoo formulated with harsh chemicals, it could be doing very little to support healthy hair growth – it might even be contributing to your hair loss.
Instead, switching to a gentle shampoo designed for hair loss may be a better idea. Hair loss shampoo protects your hair’s natural oils and boosts hair follicle and scalp health, and often contains ingredients that can help prevent hair loss in tandem with proven medication.
This is because scalp massage does wonders for your hair follicles. Firstly, it stretches the hair follicles and encourages them to grow thicker hair. Secondly, it’s believed that it can dilate the tiny blood vessels below the surface of the scalp. This increases blood flow and helps support hair growth.
You can do a gentle scalp massage with your hands, but it's even more effective when performed with a derma roller. Tiny microneedles rolled across the scalp help stimulate hair growth. And before you ask, no, it doesn't hurt.
Medical hair loss treatment
Medical hair loss treatments, like those offered by Pilot practitioners, may be a great option if your hairline has already receded quite significantly.
Medical treatment is usually most effective in the earlier stages of hair loss, but some men who have more advanced hair loss can still see great results.
Medical hair loss treatments come in the form of an oral or a topical solution. Both have been proven to be effective for preventing further hair loss and can even stimulate hair growth, especially if they’re used together.
A combination of oral and topical medication has a success rate of 83 per cent in helping men keep their hair, and a success rate of 66 per cent in regrowing it, according to recent studies.
Start your online consult with a Pilot practitioner to find your hair loss solution today.
Low-level light/laser therapy
Low-level light therapy, also known as low-level laser therapy, activates the hair follicles using very gentle lasers. It has been said to help decrease inflammation of the hair follicles and minimise hair thinning, thereby stimulating hair growth.
Low-level light therapy is generally painless and safe, but it is expensive and requires multiple sessions over several months or even your whole life – meaning the costs only continue to add up.
There's also some speculation within the medical community around its efficacy, so if you're looking to treat a receding hairline, it's best to opt for more proven methods like medication.
A hair transplant is definitely one of the more drastic measures for combating a receding hairline – but it is usually very effective.
It’s a surgical procedure that involves taking healthy hairs from the back or sides of your head and transplanting them to the parts of your scalp where hair is thinning or completely gone. After the hair transplant, many men notice increased hair thickness and a fuller hairline.
Note, though, that hair transplants are expensive and don’t come without risks. The procedure will set you back thousands of dollars (sometimes up to AU$30,000), and like any surgery, can result in adverse reactions.
How to prevent a receding hairline
Even if you haven’t yet detected any signs of hair loss, there are a few things you can do to maintain a healthy head of hair – and potentially ward off a receding hairline.
Factors like genetics and age are trickier to get around. However, implementing a few easy lifestyle changes may just be the key to preventing your hairline from receding in the first place.
Keep your stress levels in check. High stress levels over a prolonged period can contribute to hair loss
Make sure your diet is on point. A diet high in sugar, processed foods, saturated fat and other not-so-good-for-your-health nasties, and low in vital nutrients, vitamins and minerals, can trigger or exacerbate hair loss
Ditch the crash diets. Similarly, crash diets and restrictive eating may not provide your body with the energy and nourishment it needs to stay strong and healthy – especially if you lose a significant amount of weight. This can, in turn, affect your hair health and lead to hair loss
Stop smoking. As we know, there’s a clear link between smoking and hair loss. This is because smoking affects the health of your hair follicles
Avoid over-styling your hair. Tight hairstyles like ponytails and braids, as well as chemical hair dyes, can promote hair loss.
Styling out a receding hairline
Sometimes, simply changing your hairstyle or haircut can help you hide or work with a receding hairline. Here are a few hairstyles you could try:
Short sides, long top. Shaving the sides of your head and growing out the top part of your hair, then slicking it back or to the side, can make your hair appear fuller and hide a bald spot, if you have one
Long all over. If you still have thick hair over most of your head and only your hairline is receding, you could grow your hair out to hide the hair loss above your temples
Buzzcut. Cutting your hair very close to the head often works better with receding hairlines or hair thinning, as any areas of hair loss across the scalp become less obvious
Clean shave. Some men opt to embrace their hair loss by shaving their head completely. It’s certainly a bold look, but it does work for a lot of men
As a side note, if you’ve been blessed with ample facial hair, now might be the time to embrace it. A full moustache or beard can really complement a receding hairline and distract from any areas of hair loss.
Coping with a receding hairline
If you’re finding it hard to cope with the fact that your hairline is receding, know that you’re not alone.
Male pattern baldness or androgenetic alopecia affects most men at some point in their lives, whether due to genetics, as a natural part of ageing, or as a result of lifestyle factors.
But while it’s common, many men still struggle with the process on an emotional level. Remember, though, that there’s a range of treatments available to combat a receding hairline and even promote hair growth.
The first step is to seek out professional medical advice to figure out the right treatment for you.
Pilot's hair loss treatments are safe and effective, and have helped thousands of Aussie men find new confidence. Start your online consult today.
Photo Credit: Getty Images