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Frontal Balding: Causes, Symptoms, Treatments

Frontal balding is one of the most distressing yet common types of hair loss. 12% of healthy men under 50 are said to have moderate to extensive frontal baldness [1].

If left untreated, frontal balding can become highly noticeable, making you feel paranoid about your appearance. Like all hair loss, you will first need to know what causes frontal balding before you can treat it. In this article, you’ll discover:

  • how to spot the symptoms of front balding
  • the causes of frontal balding
  • how to treat frontal baldness.
Table of Contents

Symptoms of frontal balding

Frontal balding is characterised by hair loss along the frontal hairline and temples. Some people may see hair loss on just one side of the head.

receding hairline examples

Temple hair loss is a key symptom of male pattern baldness. However, losing hair at the temples can be a symptom of other hair loss conditions as well.

What causes frontal baldness?

There are several potential causes of frontal hair loss. Here are some of the most common.

Male pattern baldness

Male pattern baldness, also known as male androgenetic alopecia, is the most common type of hair loss in men [2]. This type of hereditary hair loss affects 30-50% of men under the age of 50. Since this type of hair loss is a progressive condition, older men are affected even more.

Here’s what front balding caused by male pattern baldness may look like:

Examples of front baldness caused by androgenic alopecia

Male pattern baldness often begins at the hairline before progressing into a bald spot on the crown.

Eventually, these two thinning areas will meet, causing widespread hair loss across the top of the head.

This pattern of progression is shown in the Norwood Scale, which is used to measure and assess male pattern hair loss:

Norwood Scale used to diagnose pattern hair loss
The Norwood Scale

Frontal fibrosing alopecia (FFA)

Frontal fibrosing alopecia is a type of scarring alopecia. It affects women as well as men. In men, it’s sometimes misdiagnosed as male pattern baldness, as both are characterised by a receding hairline.

In addition to scalp hair loss, individuals suffering from FFA may also lose facial hair. For example, eyebrow hair loss is common in people with Frontal Fibrosing Alopecia, so this can help distinguish between the conditions [3].

Here’s what front balding caused by FFA can look like:

Receding hairline examples in Frontal Fibrosing Alopecia patients

Traction alopecia

Traction alopecia is a hair loss condition caused by excessive pulling or trauma to the hair follicles. It’s usually temporary, but can become permanent if you don’t take steps to reverse the effects.

Traction alopecia is typically caused by wearing your hair in certain hairstyles, such as:

This patient has significant frontal hair loss due to traction alopecia:

Example of front balding caused by a hair loss condition called traction alopecia

In cases like these, hair loss occurs when individuals consistently wear hairstyles that tug on the hair follicles at the front of the hair for long periods of time. Styles such as tight ponytails, are more likely to cause frontal baldness.

Myotonic dystrophy

Myotonic dystrophy is a condition that causes progressive muscle loss. This condition is relatively rare, affecting just 0.01-0.05% of the population [4-5]. One study suggests it may be underdiagnosed and more prevalent than previously thought [5].

Frontal baldness is a symptom of myotonic dystrophy type 1 [4, 6]. This image shows a male patient experiencing myotonic dystrophy-related frontal alopecia:

Example of Myotonic Dystrophy Frontal balding

Myotonic dystrophy is a very rare cause of frontal baldness. If you have other symptoms, such as facial weakness, drooping eyelids, muscle atrophy, or cataracts, it’s important to get a diagnosis from your doctor.

Mature hairline

Not all frontal baldness is due to a medical condition or poor haircare. Sometimes it’s a simple matter of getting older. Most men will find that their hairline matures as they age. This is usually a very slow process and you probably won’t even notice it.

Find out the difference between a mature vs receding hairline.

How to stop frontal balding

When you know what’s causing your hair loss, you can find the right treatment. Here are some of the most commonly prescribed medical treatments for front balding.

Minoxidil for frontal balding

Minoxidil is effective for frontal hair loss caused by male pattern hair loss, with oral Minoxidil in particular showing good results [7-8]. Topical Minoxidil works best for crown and mid-scalp regrowth. It may also help stimulate hair growth in those with temporary hair loss conditions like traction alopecia.

Learn more about whether Minoxidil works for a receding hairline.

Finasteride for frontal balding

Finasteride is a popular treatment for male pattern baldness. 70% of men treated with Finasteride prevented further hair loss after a year of use [9].

Find out more about Finasteride in our series:

Other medications

Treating Frontal Fibrosing Alopecia can be difficult. Steroids and antimalarials are sometimes prescribed to reduce inflammation, while immunosuppressants can minimise the body’s response from the immune system.

Hairline transplant for frontal balding

A hairline transplant is often the most reliable way to reverse frontal baldness. It’s not suitable for everyone; those with FFA, temporary hair loss, or hair loss related to myotonic dystrophy are unlikely to be eligible. However, most people with frontal baldness are good hair transplant candidates, so you can get a permanent fix for your hair loss.

Find out more about the cost of a receding hairline transplant, and decide whether FUT or FUE hair transplantation is right for you.

Frontal balding FAQs

Find out more about tackling your frontal balding in these FAQs.

Will frontal hair loss grow back?

It depends on the reasons for your hair thinning. But generally, it’s rare for any type of hair loss to grow back without intervention or early treatment. At the very least, you need to remove the triggers that cause hair loss in the first place. In some cases such as with genetic hair loss conditions like male or female pattern baldness, treatments like Minoxidil, Finasteride, or hair transplantation are required to restore hair.

What’s the best haircut for frontal baldness?

For men, the best haircut to hide thinning hair at the front of your head is to grow the top of your hair long and sweep it forward over your forehead:

examples of hair cuts that cover up front balding

Avoid pompadour and other slicked-back hairstyles, as these can emphasize your frontal balding. These styles are better for hiding crown or mid-scalp hair loss, including balding around a double crown.

What causes frontal balding in women?

FFA and traction alopecia are the most common causes of frontal hair loss in women. Female pattern hair loss is rarely a cause, as this is more likely to manifest as diffuse thinning (thinning hair) across the scalp.

Where can I get a hair transplant for frontal balding?

The Wimpole Clinic provides impartial advice for anyone considering a hair transplant. Book your consultation to speak to our trichology team about your frontal hair loss, and get the right diagnosis and treatment plan.

Frontal Balding: Causes, Symptoms, Treatments, Wimpole Clinic

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