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Hairline Lowering Surgery: Everything You Need To Know
Dr Barry Abdelrahimsai (GMC)
Medically reviewed by
Dr Barry Abdelrahimsai (GMC)
Updated on May 24, 2024

Many people feel self-conscious about their high hairline. This comes as no surprise, considering our forehead’s important role in our overall appearance. In classical aesthetics, a well-balanced and attractive face is split into equal thirds, with the forehead making up one-third [1]. 

If you are curious about hairline lowering surgery, there are several solutions to consider. In this article, we’ll explore: 

  • What hairline lowering surgery is 
  • Who can benefit from it
  • What the hairline transplant procedure entails
  • What’s involved in the forehead reduction procedure
  • Which type of surgery may be right for you
  • How to choose the right surgeon and clinic
Table of Contents

What is hairline lowering surgery? 

Hairline lowering surgery aims to move your hairline further down your face, resulting in more proportionate features. People with a receding hairline or large forehead due to genetics or ageing often seek this type of surgery. 

There are two main types of hairline lowering surgery: forehead reduction and a hair transplant to lower your hairline. Forehead reduction surgery involves removing some of the skin from your head, while a hairline transplant relocates hair follicles to alter the hairline’s position. We will discuss these two procedures in more detail later on. 

Who can benefit from hairline lowering surgery?

People with a high hairline due to genetics, ageing, or previous surgical procedures may benefit from surgery to lower it. People of African ethnicity [2] are more prone to genetically large foreheads and tend to have mobile scalps that respond well to forehead reduction surgery, making it popular in this patient group [2].

According to research, the ideal patient for hairline-lowering surgery is usually a woman with a long congenital forehead and a high hairline with no history of progressive hair loss [3].

Woman self-conscious about her forehead size

Candidates for hairline-lowering surgery may include:

  • People with a naturally high hairline — Some people are born with a naturally high hairline due to genetics [1], which can cause self-consciousness.
  • Female or male pattern baldness (androgenetic alopecia) — People with this type of hair loss make excellent candidates for a hairline transplant. However, forehead reduction surgery is not generally recommended for patients with active androgenetic alopecia [4].
  • People with a receding hairline: Hairline recession is common as we age, more so in men than women [5]. However, women can also experience hairline recession [5], and both groups may wish to restore a more youthful appearance surgically.  
  • Transgender women — Transgender women may desire a lower hairline and seek this procedure as gender-affirming surgery [6] because hairlines are typically lower in women than men. Transgender hair restoration is also sought by people with male pattern baldness who were assigned male at birth but wish to look more feminine.
  • People with traction alopeciaTraction alopecia is hair loss caused by prolonged pulling on the hair follicles. This tension can be caused by hairstyles and accessories such as tight braids, ponytails, weaves, or hair extensions [7]. Over time, this persistent pulling can damage the hair follicles, leading to hair breakage, thinning, and eventually hair loss around the temples and hairline. A hairline transplant can restore a lower hairline for some people with hair loss from ponytails and other styles [7]. However, in many cases, hair loss from traction alopecia will grow back on its own.
  • People with forehead asymmetry — Some people may have asymmetrical hairlines or irregularities in their forehead shape, which can make them feel self-conscious. These can be corrected through hairline lowering surgery to fix a messed up hairline
Hairline transplant for a receding hairline

The hairline transplant procedure 

A hairline transplant is one of two surgical methods to make your forehead appear smaller. Here, we’ll go through each step of this procedure. 

  1. Consultation and planning — The process starts with an initial consultation with a qualified hair transplant surgeon. During this appointment, the surgeon will assess you for any signs of hair thinning or balding, examine you for common scalp problems, and check your overall suitability for the procedure [8]. They will also discuss your goals and expectations and create a personalised treatment plan.
  2. Hairline design — Before transplantation, your surgeon will work with you to plan your new hairline in accordance with your facial features, gender, age, and preferences [9]. They will design factors such as hairline shape, density, and natural hair growth patterns to create a customised hairline that looks natural and complements your face. 
  3. Anaesthesia — You will receive some type of anaesthesia before your hairline transplant begins. Hair transplantation can be performed with any level of anaesthesia but is usually performed from start to finish using local anaesthetic with sedation [10]. This means you will be awake but relaxed and unable to feel pain. However, general anaesthesia (which makes you completely unconscious) may be used in rare cases for apprehensive patients or those who are allergic to local anaesthetics [11]. Local anaesthesia is preferred, and alternative types of local anaesthesia may be used for patients who are allergic.
Before and after hairline transplant at Wimpole Clinic
Before and 10 months after a hairline transplant at the Wimpole Clinic
  1. Donor hair harvesting — Next, donor hair follicles are harvested from an area of healthy hair growth (usually the back or sides of the scalp [12]). This is usually done using two main techniques: Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) or Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT). In FUE, individual follicular units are extracted from the donor area using a small punch tool, leaving tiny puncture wounds that heal quickly and with minimal scarring. In FUT, a strip of scalp containing hair follicles is surgically removed from the donor area and then separated into individual grafts for transplantation.
  2. Graft placement — Once the donor hair follicles have been harvested and prepared, the surgeon begins the graft placement process. Using expert techniques, they implant the grafts into tiny recipient sites along the new hairline area. The angle, direction, and density of the transplanted hairs are carefully planned to achieve a natural-looking hair transplant [13]. 
  3. Post-operative care — You will be provided with detailed hair transplant aftercare instructions to encourage maximum healing and the best result possible. These may include guidelines for scalp care, medication use, and activity restrictions for the first few days or weeks after surgery. You will return to the clinic for scheduled follow-up appointments to monitor your hair transplant recovery and address concerns.
Preoperative planning for forehead reduction surgery
Preoperative planning for forehead reduction surgery [3]

The forehead reduction procedure

Forehead reduction is the second type of surgery offered to reduce the size of your forehead by lowering your hairline. Here are the steps involved in this procedure: 

  1. Initial consultation — As with a hairline transplant, you start with an initial consultation. You should meet with a surgeon specialising in forehead reduction procedures to discuss your reasons for seeking surgery, your expectations and your desired result. To develop a treatment plan, the surgeon will evaluate your forehead shape, hairline position, and overall facial proportions.
  2. Preoperative planning —  Before surgery, your surgeon will carefully plan the extent of forehead reduction and placement of incisions based on your facial features and desired outcome. Imaging such as computerised tomography (CT) scans or three-dimensional (3D) simulations may help with surgical planning.
  3. Anaesthesia — Forehead reduction is usually performed using a special type of local anaesthesia called twilight anaesthesia, which makes you relaxed and sleepy and you may have no memory of the procedure [14]. However, general anaesthesia is also used in some cases [15] because forehead reduction is quite an invasive procedure. 
Results immediately after forehead reduction surgery
Results immediately after forehead reduction surgery [3]
  1. During surgery — Your surgeon makes incisions along the planned new hairline. The excess forehead skin and tissue underneath are carefully removed, taking care to avoid damage to the nerves and blood vessels. Hair transplant procedures are sometimes performed alongside forehead reduction surgery to achieve the best outcome [4]. After surgery, the incisions are closed with stitches or staples and a dressing is applied to protect the surgical site. 
  2. Postoperative care — After surgery, you’ll receive detailed instructions to ensure your wound heals as well as possible. Your surgeon may discuss wound care, pain management, and activity restrictions during the initial recovery period. You’ll have follow-up appointments scheduled at specific points in your recovery timeline. 

Which procedure is right for me?

Each procedure has unique benefits and downsides. Ultimately, your choice of procedure will depend on the cause of your high hairline, your desired outcome, and your surgeon’s recommendations. Here, we’ll compare the pros and cons of a hairline transplant versus forehead reduction surgery so you can start to think about which procedure is right for you.

Hairline TransplantForehead Reduction

Natural results: Redistributing hair follicles can create a more youthful and balanced hairline.

Minimal Scarring: Techniques like FUE leave minimal hair transplant scars [16], making it suitable for people with shorter hairstyles.

Customisable: Hairline shape, density, and placement can be precisely customised to complement facial features.

Versatile: Hairline transplant can address various types of hair shedding, including receding hairlines, widow’s peaks, an M-shaped hairline, and temple hair loss [17].

Permanent solution: Transplanted hair follicles continue to grow naturally, meaning a hair transplant is permanent [18].

Faster recovery: Hairline transplant is less invasive than forehead reduction, so swelling, bruising, and discomfort usually ease quickly. FUE hair transplants, in particular, are minimally invasive [19].

Dramatic Results: This surgery can dramatically reduce the height of your forehead. As it is not limited by donor hair supply, more drastic forehead height changes can be made. The hairline can move by up to 3 cm in a single procedure, although the mean reduction is 1.6cm [22]. Greater changes are possible over multiple procedures, but larger changes require good scalp laxity.

Permanent Solution: Surgical results are permanent, providing a long-lasting solution to a large forehead.

Versatile: The procedure can address various forehead shape and size issues, including high hairlines, forehead asymmetry, and an overly prominent forehead.

Customisable: Your surgeon can tailor the procedure to achieve the best forehead height and hairline position.

Instant results: Unlike hairline transplant, forehead reduction surgery provides instant results with no growing-out period [3].


Growing-out period: A hairline transplant requires a growing-out period before results can be seen. It may take 10-12 months to see the final results from surgery [20].

Risk of complications: As with all types of surgery, hair transplants for a big forehead have risks. These include pain, infection, and further hair loss [21].

Scarring: Forehead reduction surgery may result in visible scarring along the hairline or scalp [22]. This may be permanent and require camouflage techniques or hair transplantation to hide it.

Risk of complications: As with any surgical procedure, forehead reduction surgery carries risks such as permanent hair loss, nerve damage, and severe bruising [22].

Longer recovery time: Recovery from forehead reduction surgery may involve a longer downtime compared to a hairline transplant, with temporary swelling, bruising, and discomfort expected for two or three weeks.

Hairline may change: While forehead reduction surgery can lower the hairline, it may not address progressive hair loss [3], such as male or female pattern baldness. If this is present, you may require a hair transplant later down the line.

Initial consultation with a hair transplant surgeon

Choosing the right surgeon and clinic

Take great care when selecting a surgeon and clinic for your hairline-lowering surgery. Any reputable clinic should encourage a thorough initial consultation process and give you time to think about the surgery after that first discussion. 

For high-quality care and expertise, consider one of the best hair transplant surgeons in the UK. Surgeons at the Wimpole Clinic are at the top of their field and licensed by the General Medical Council. 

They use the latest FUE and FUT hair restoration techniques to create effective, natural-looking hair transplants. Results are so seamless that it’s possible to get a hair transplant without anyone knowing.

If your high hairline is caused by hair loss, you will receive a thorough assessment from one of our hair doctors. This may include diagnostic trichology tests, blood tests for hair loss, a hair pull test, and other investigations as needed. Book a consultation today to learn more about hairline-lowering surgery and meet our world-class surgical team.

Hairline Lowering Surgery: Everything You Need To Know, Wimpole Clinic

Dr Barry Abdelrahimsai (GMC)
Medically reviewed by Dr Barry Abdelrahimsai (GMC)Updated on May 24, 2024
The Wimpole Clinic offers FUE Hair, Beard & Eyebrow Transplants & Trichology.
Talk to a specialist ☎ 020 7935 1861.

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