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A Guide to Widow’s Peaks: Meaning, Causes & Myths

As much as we may try, it’s often difficult to have complete control over our hairlines. Whether your hairline is receding, or in a widow’s peak hairline shape, it can lead to feelings of insecurity and negative body image.

Having a widow’s peak is a common hairline that appears as a downward V-shape at the centre of your forehead. For some people, it can be very obvious, and for others very subtle.

Read on to learn more about widow’s peaks, the myths associated with widow’s peaks, and what causes these unique hairlines.

Table of Contents

What is a widow’s peak?

A widow’s peak is a V-shaped hairline that most commonly runs in families. It’s a genetic trait that gets passed down in the same way as naturally curly hair would. Some individuals have a more prominent widow’s peak than others with a peak V-shaped formation forming at the center of the forehead.

Normally, if someone in your family has a widow’s peak, there’s a high chance that it can be passed on through the generations. However, there isn’t a lot of research that can pin down a specific gene that causes this type of hairline.

A guide as to how the widow's peak develops

What are the myths associated with widow’s peaks?

The name ‘widow’s peak’ is thought to have come from old 18th-century English traditions where women were expected to wear a black triangle hat or hood after their husbands died. As a result, women who naturally had this type of V-shaped were considered to be omens of early widowhood.

Examples of widow's peak mourning caps

Later in the 20th century, a widow’s peak became a favoured film and television look for villains such as the vampire Dracula and Batman villain, the Joker.

A Guide to Widow’s Peaks: Meaning, Causes & Myths, Wimpole Clinic
Examples of widow's peaks in villains in 20th century media

What causes a widow’s peak?

Unlike male pattern baldness, which is thought to affect up to 80% of men during their lifetime, a widow’s peak is much less common and the cause of this v-shaped hairline all lies in genetics.

A widow’s peak is known as a morphogenetic trait [1] and in one study, the v0shaped hairline was found to be apparent in 29.6% of women and 32.8% of men [2] among a group of 456 healthy Japanese subjects.

However, the prevalence of widow’s peaks can vary greatly depending on the study. For example, in some studies, widow’s peak prevalence has been as high as 81% [3]. Similarly, in a study in India, widow’s peaks were found in 46.15% of male and 49.35% of female individuals, suggesting there is no significant gender bias [4]. This outcome was also recreated in a study of young adults in Nigeria where 15.45% of men and 16.36% of women had widow’s peaks [5].

Genetic conditions associated with a widow’s peak

A widow’s peak is thought to be caused by multiple genes, so it can be hard to predict for certain when someone will or won’t develop this type of hairline.

However, a widow’s peak can also be associated with several genetic conditions, like:

How to get rid of your widow’s peak

If you’re particularly bothered about your widow’s peak and would like a straight hairline, it is quite easy to get rid of using different hair removal products.

Although you may not be able to prevent hair growth completely, hair loss treatments can provide an efficient solution – but it is something that you will have to continue using when hair grows back.

Here are some of your options:

  • Waxing: Whether you want to use an at-home waxing kit, or go to a specialist beauty salon to avoid a crooked hairline, waxing will remove all of the hair but will grow back in a couple of weeks.
  • Tweezing: If you’ve only got a slight widow’s peak, it will be easy to pluck out the individual hairs quickly.
  • Depilatories: These are creams that you can apply to your widow’s peak to remove any unwanted hair.
  • Laser hair removal: This is a slightly longer-term solution but can also be the most expensive.

Is a widow’s peak the same as a receding hairline?

Although a receding hair line is an indication that you’re suffering from male or female pattern baldness, you don’t need to be as concerned if you have a widow’s peak as the two things are not related.

A receding hairline can sometimes take the appearance of a widow’s peak, however, having one of these hairlines itself is not a sign that you will be going bald any time soon. Even children have widow’s peak so there’s no need to worry about going bald.

However, if you weren’t born with a widow’s peak and you’re noticing that this shape is starting to appear as your hairline recedes, it could be a sign that you’re starting to lose hair through male pattern baldness.

What can I do if I am going bald?

If you’re worried about your widow’s peak continuing into baldness, there are plenty of options that are open to you.

Women with hair loss often benefit from getting a detailed diagnosis, due to the myriad possible underlying causes. Getting diagnosed can then help you find the best hair loss treatment for women.

For men, oral tablets such as Finasteride and Dutasteride and topical treatments such as Minoxidil can help with hair loss. There’s a lot of research that suggests that these male hair loss treatments are effective for a large proportion of people.

If you want to take it one step further and invest in a long-lasting treatment for hair loss, you may want to consider getting a hair transplant for your widow’s peak.

The two most popular options when it comes to hair transplants, which we also offer at Wimpole Clinic, are FUE (Follicular Unit Extraction) transplants and FUT (Follicular Unit Transplantations).

If you’re thinking about whether a hair transplant could be for you, we’d love to talk you through the whole process and answer any questions that you may have. Contact us today at our no-pressure consultation to learn more about what we can do for you.

A Guide to Widow’s Peaks: Meaning, Causes & Myths, Wimpole Clinic

The Wimpole Clinic offers FUE Hair, Beard & Eyebrow Transplants & Trichology.
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