Having a receding hairline is common, and is often a natural part of aging. Still, you may be wondering how to stop a receding hairline if you notice your tresses thinning out.
Per NYU Langone Health, a thinning hairline is a form of baldness that can occur for the following reasons:
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- Autoimmune disease
- Fungal infection
- As a side effect of treatments like chemotherapy
The most common form of hair loss, however, is androgenetic alopecia, or male and female pattern hair loss, according to NYU Langone Health. It's genetic and hormone-dependent and is especially common in people assigned male at birth (AMAB). It can start anytime after puberty.
If you're concerned about excessive hair loss, here are some tips for how to prevent or regrow a receding hairline.
A certain amount of shedding is normal — most people lose between 50 and 100 hairs daily, according to the American Academy of Dermatology.
1. Eat a Nutritious Diet
A balanced diet may help prevent a receding hairline. Eating whole foods supports overall wellbeing, and per the Cleveland Clinic, these nutrients in particular may contribute to hair health:
2. Talk to Your Doctor About Supplements
While it's best to get your nutrients through natural food sources, people who have nutrient deficiencies (including ones that lead to a receding hairline) may benefit from supplements, according to the Mayo Clinic.
For instance, a biotin deficiency can lead to a thinning hairline or even total hair loss, per the National Institutes of Health's Office of Dietary Supplements. If this is the cause of your hair loss, taking a biotin supplement can help regrow your hairline.
Similarly, a lack of iron can lead to anemia, which can cause hair loss, according to the Cleveland Clinic. Taking an iron supplement can help treat anemia and regrow your receding hairline.
Talk to your doctor before trying any supplement, as the FDA doesn't require these products to be proven safe or effective before they're sold, so there’s no guarantee that any supplement is safe, contains the ingredients it says it does or produces the effects it claims. Your doctor can also help you avoid any hair vitamin side effects.
3. Don't Overdo It With Hairstyling
If you're hard on your hair, you can experience loss, according to the Mayo Clinic. The following hair styles and treatments can pull your hair too tight or damage your tresses, all of which can lead to thinning locks:
- Tight ponytails, buns or braids
- Hot-oil treatments
- Hair extensions
- Hair weaves
Here's how to stop hair receding from over-styling: Lay off of heat treatments like hot rollers, curling irons and perms, per the Mayo Clinic. And take it easy on your tresses by using detangler and a wide-toothed comb to avoid excess tugging at your hair.
4. Try a Scalp Massage
Who doesn't love a good head scratch? And if rubbing your scalp can actually improve your hair's health, then all the better.
According to a January 2016 study in Eplasty, a regular head massage can enhance your hair by improving circulation in the scalp. This in turn may prompt hair follicles to grow, resulting in thicker, healthier hair.
5. Combat Stress
Whether you're dealing with on-the-job pressure, issues at home or financial burdens, some people experience hair loss after a stressful life event, according to the Mayo Clinic. Fortunately, this type of hair thinning is typically temporary.
The best method for how to fix a receding hairline from stress is to manage your anxiety levels. Here are some strategies that may keep stress to a minimum, per the Mayo Clinic:
6. Try Light Therapy
There's some promising news in the field of laser light therapy and hair thinning if you're wondering how to stop a receding hairline: An August 2013 review in Lasers in Surgery and Medicine found that low-level light therapy treatments appear to be safe and effective for people who have genetic hair loss.
This treatment may stimulate stem cells in hair follicles, causing them to restart a dormant growth phase.
However, because this treatment option is relatively new, more research is needed to understand it's long-term effects, according to the Mayo Clinic. These systems also can be expensive.
7. Consider an Over-the-Counter Medicine
Another potential way to stop a receding hairline is to try medicated topical foams or solutions, which may be effective in preventing hair loss and regrowing lost locks.
Take minoxidil (more widely known as Rogaine), for instance. Although there has been some skepticism about Rogaine's effectiveness for a receding hairline, recent research takes a positive view.
The proposed mechanism for minoxidil is that it increases vasodilation of the blood vessels (which is why scalp massage may also be beneficial), increasing nutrient and oxygen supply to the hair follicles.
A June 2015 study in the British Journal of Dermatology found that applying topical Rogaine foam twice daily for two months induced hair growth in both the front and crown of the head in people with a receding hairline from androgenetic alopecia.
However, Rogaine isn't a permanent solution to stop receding hairlines. It only works if you continue using the product indefinitely, per the Mayo Clinic. Once you stop applying it, your hair will start to return to its original state.
Although minoxidil is available over the counter, talk to your doctor before trying it to make sure it's right for you. People who are pregnant or breastfeeding should also avoid this treatment, per the Cleveland Clinic.
8. Ask About Prescription Medication
If you talk to your doctor about how to stop a receding hairline, they may recommend a prescription medication.
Finasteride (also known as Propecia) is one common treatment designed specifically for people AMAB that may slow hair loss and possibly even lead to new growth, according to the Mayo Clinic. There is also an oral/pill form of minoxidil.
And if your receding temples are the result of an underlying condition or autoimmune disease, treating the root cause may help combat hair loss, per the Mayo Clinic.
For instance, people with autoimmune conditions like lupus may be prescribed a corticosteroid to suppress the immune system, reduce symptoms and allow hair to regrow, according to NYU Langone Health.
9. Consider a Hair Transplant
While you can stop a receding hairline that's caused by external factors like over-styling your locks, some conditions — like hereditary hair loss — can eventually result in permanent hair loss, according to the Mayo Clinic.
In cases like this, a hair transplant may reestablish a receding hairline. During this procedure, a doctor takes hair from part of your head and grafts it onto bald spots, per the Mayo Clinic.
Unfortunately, this is very expensive and it does not cure genetic hair loss — balding is likely to continue, and it may be recommended that you undergo another transplant surgery in the future. Per the Mayo Clinic, this procedure also puts you at risk for the following side effects or complications:
- Mayo Clinic: "Hair Loss"
- American Academy of Dermatology: "Do You Have Hair Loss or Hair Shedding?"
- NYU Langone Health: "Types of Hair Loss"
- Cleveland Clinic: "The Best Vitamins, Supplements and Products for Healthier Hair"
- Mayo Clinic: "Supplements: Nutrition in a pill?"
- Office of Dietary Supplements: "Biotin"
- U.S. Food and Drug Administration: “FDA 101: Dietary Supplements”
- Eplasty: "Standardized Scalp Massage Results in Increased Hair Thickness by Inducing Stretching Forces to Dermal Papilla Cells in the Subcutaneous Tissue"
- Mayo Clinic: "Stress relievers: Tips to tame stress"
- Mayo Clinic: "Minoxidil (Oral Route)"
- NYU Langone Health: "Medication for Hair Loss"
- Lasers in Surgery and Medicine: "Low-Level Laser (Light) Therapy (LLLT) for Treatment of Hair Loss"
- British Journal of Dermatology: "Similar Response Patterns to 5%Topical Minoxidil Foam in Frontal and Vertex Scalp of Men with Androgenetic Alopecia: A Microarray Analysis"
Is this an emergency? If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, please see the National Library of Medicine’s list of signs you need emergency medical attention or call 911.