Receding Hairline

What to Do if You Start Seeing a Mature Hairline

Getting a receding hairline is very common as you get older. But, it can be upsetting.. Read on to find out what you can do if you start seeing signs of hair loss.

Dr Simran Deo Medical Editor

Medically reviewed by

Dr Simran Deo

Last reviewed: 02 Apr 2020

What is a Receding Hairline?

If you get a receding hairline, you might notice that your hair thins out and stops growing on certain parts of your head. In particular the hair on your temples begins to thin and fall out. You may also notice a thinning of the hair on the crown on your head. Both men and women can suffer from hair loss and get a receding hairline but it is more common in men with 8 in 10 men over the age of 65 having a receding hairline. It can often start much earlier with some people notice a receding hairline in their twenties or even their teens. A receding hairline can be caused by a few things.

  • Age – a receding hairline or thinning hair can be a normal part of getting older.
  • Family history – if your mother’s brothers or father had a receding hairline at a younger age, you may be likely to suffer the same.
  • Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) – women who are affected by PCOS can notice hair thinning. Men who have sisters affected by PCOS may also notice a receding hairline at an early age.
  • Testosterone – it’s thought that a receding hairline in younger men is linked to having too much testosterone in the body.

Is it Just Men Who Get it, or Can Women Too?

Both men and women can experience a receding hairline. But, it’s less common in women.

If you get a receding hairline as a woman, you might notice a different pattern of hair thinning to men.

In men, thinning hair normally starts at the temples (corners of the forehead). Then, the hairline moves back over the top of the head. This is sometimes called ‘male pattern baldness’. In women, hair can become all over the head with no obvious bald patch. This is sometimes called ‘female pattern baldness’.

In women hair loss often happens after the menopause.

A receding hairline can be quite upsetting and can be due to underlying causes so it is important to see your GP to be examined and have further investigations if necessary. Hair loss may be caused by iron deficiency or an underactive thyroid, so you may want to get your levels checked with an iron blood test or a thyroid blood test.

There are treatments that you can use to slow a receding hairline down or even encourage your hair to grow back, for example Regaine for Women.

How Can You Stop a Thinning Hairline?

Unfortunately, you can’t stop a receding hairline completely. For most people, a receding hairline isn’t related to a health condition that needs to be cured. But, there are treatments that could slow a receding hairline down or even encourage some hair to grow back. You can get treatment that comes as:

  • tablets
  • lotions
  • foams

You could also get a hair transplant to replace hair loss. A hair transplant can be a more permanent solution, and can work after you’ve lost a lot of hair. Other treatments are less effective if you’ve already had a lot of hair loss.

What Treatments Are There for a Receding Hairline?

There are a few treatment options for a receding hairline.

Tablets – most men can take finasteride tablets every day for hair loss. Finasteride also comes in a branded form, called Propecia. Finasteride encourages more blood to flow to the hair follicles in your scalp. It’s effective in slowing hair loss and may even cause hair to grow back.

One of the most serious side effects of taking finasteride is depression and suicidal thoughts. It’s important to tell a doctor straight away if you notice changes in your mood after you start taking finasteride.

Lotions or foams – both men and women can take minoxidil. Minoxidil comes in a branded form called Regaine and Regaine for Women and works by encouraging new hair growth.

Minoxidil may take a long time to work but if no improvements have been seen in a year then it should be stopped.

Hair transplant surgery – when you have hair transplant surgery, hair is taken from an area not affected by hair loss and inserted into an area which has hair loss or thinning. Only the follicles are removed, and there are no scars as no skin is cut.

What Hairstyle Can Improve the Way a Receding Hairline Looks?

Treatment for a receding hairline can take a long time to work and can be expensive. Fortunately, choosing the right hairstyle could improve the way a receding hairline looks quickly.

Crew cut – a crew cut could disguise a hairline that’s shaped into a V, sometimes called a ‘widow’s peak’. Your barber could cut your fringe in a straight line across your forehead to cover areas affected by thinning hair.

Short cut – having a longer hairstyle could make your hair look even thinner than it really is. This hairstyle is a great option if you haven’t lost too much hair at the top of your head.

Buzz cut – sometimes, there might just not be enough hair to disguise a receding hairline with the right hairstyle. Going very short could make a receding hairline less obvious.

Clean shave – if you’ve tried everything to disguise a receding hairline and aren’t happy with the results, don’t be afraid to go for a clean shave. This style completely disguises a receding hairline.

Growing facial hair – even though you might be losing hair at the top of your head, your facial hair isn’t usually affected. Growing facial hair could distract from hair loss at the top of your head. Plus, facial hair can usually complement any hairstyle that you might like to try.


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Messenger, A. G. (2004). Minoxidil: mechanisms of action on hair growth. British Journal of Dermatology. Feb; 150(2): 186-94. NHS (2016). Hair transplant. [online]. Available from: [Accessed on 27th July 2019].

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