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How To Stop A Receding Hairline

A receding hairline is often caused by and is the beginning of male pattern baldness. 25% of men will see the beginnings of a receding hairline before 21 years old (1).

Experiencing a receding hairline that is progressing can feel like you have no way of stopping your hair loss. Furthermore, it can also affect your self-image, especially if you didn’t expect to start seeing thinning hair and hair loss so soon.

If you want to stop a receding hairline from progressing then there are a few options available to help prevent further hair loss. However, non-surgical hair loss treatments should be tested first. Surgical methods, such as a hair transplant should be performed as a last resort. Even though a hair transplant is permanent you could continue to lose your existing hair if your hair loss is not being treated.

In this article, we will break down topics such as how to stop a receding hairline, what causes a receding hairline, and the best ways to disguise a receding hairline. We’ll also look at the cost of a receding hairline transplant in 2024.

Table of Contents

What causes a receding hairline?

A receding hairline happens when hair begins to recede at the temples and the hairline. This can happen due to conditions such as male pattern hair loss.

Male pattern hair loss is most often caused by a genetic tendency to balding. As a receding hairline is a sign of male pattern baldness, it is, therefore, safe to assume that a receding hairline is caused by a genetic predisposition.

Matt Hancock receding hair line example
Matt Hancock has a receding hairline

Male genetic hair loss happens when testosterone is converted to the dihydrotestosterone (DHT) hormone in men, which then attaches to receptors in the scalp and causes hair follicles to shrink [13]. As the hair follicle shrinks, it eventually stops producing hair.

DHT is a male sex hormone and is produced by the body as a derivative of testosterone. It is responsible for the development of secondary sex characteristics earlier in life, but it is not as important regarding development later on.

It is often the hair follicles at your temples and hairline that are the first to be targeted by the DHT hormone, which is why a receding hairline is often the first sign of male pattern baldness [14].

How to stop a receding hairline

There are a few ways to stop a receding hairline, however, different methods may be more successful for different people.

It all depends on where you are on the Norwood scale, for example, someone at Norwood 2 or Norwood 3 has a better chance of seeing success when using Minoxidil to treat hair loss as compared to someone at Norwood 5. This is because the more male pattern baldness and receding hairline progresses, the more difficult it is to achieve healthy hair growth.

Medication for hairline hair loss

A bottle of Finasteride pills


Finasteride is the most common medication used to treat male pattern baldness and a receding hairline [2]. It works by blocking the conversion of testosterone to DHT (dihydrotestosterone), the hormone responsible for pattern hair loss in men [3].

One study, comprising 1879 men aged between 18-41 years with mild to moderate androgenetic alopecia, tested the efficacy of 1mg oral Finasteride on male pattern baldness, focusing on crown hair loss and frontal hair loss [4].

The part of the study which focused on frontal hair loss saw a 70% reduction in hair loss over the course of 12 months, where individuals were administered 1mg of oral Finasteride daily.

It is important to understand that though Finasteride is effective in combating hair loss, it can take time to work. When it comes to how long Finasteride takes to work, the medication actually begins reducing DHT production as soon as you take it. However, it can take around 3-4 months to see noticeable hair growth results.

A study conducted over 5 years investigated the efficacy of 1mg oral Finasteride on 126 Korean men at different stages of androgenetic alopecia [5]. 108 men showed improvement after 5 years, and most patients experiencing frontal hair loss began to see improvement between 3 months and 1 year after starting treatment.

If you want to use Finasteride to tackle a receding hairline, only a doctor or clinician can prescribe the medication. It is also important to note that Finasteride is not available on the NHS and so must be obtained via a private prescription.


A bottle of Minoxidil tablets

Minoxidil can be used for a receding hairline. However, hair growth depends on your level of hair loss. This means that those who are at more advanced stages on the Norwood scale, for example, stages 4 and up, are less likely to see success when using Minoxidil for a receding hairline, while individuals at a less advanced stage have a better chance of seeing successful results.

Minoxidil comes in the form of a tablet, liquid, or foam, with the latter forms being directly applied to the scalp.

Scientists think that Minoxidil works as a vasodilator, widening the blood vessels in the scalp allowing more oxygen and nutrients to the hair follicles which in turn will help stimulate hair growth. When applying Minoxidil, 1ml of the 2% or 5% topical Minoxidil is usually applied to the scalp twice daily [6].

One study tested the efficacy and safety of oral Minoxidil in 30 male patients who were experiencing androgenetic alopecia. The Norwood stage of the individuals ranged from Norwood 3 vertex, to Norwood 5, with the most common stage being Norwood 4.

The individuals were administered 5 mg oral Minoxidil daily for a period of 6 months. Hair count was found to be significantly higher by the 12 and 24-week marks.

The images below show a male who participated in the study; he had a receding hairline and by the 24-week mark (picture C), there was an improvement in hair density around the temples compared to the beginning of the study (picture A) [7].

Before Minoxidil (left), after 12 weeks of taking Minoxidil (center), and results after 24 weeks of taking Minoxidil (right)
Before Minoxidil (left), after 12 weeks of taking Minoxidil (center), and results after 24 weeks of taking Minoxidil (right)

Shampoos to promote hair growth

There are a few hair loss shampoos available over-the-counter, from well-known brands such as Rogaine, which contains Minoxidil, to Alpecin, which contains caffeine.

Minoxidil shampoo is designed to slow hair loss whilst also cleaning your hair. It contains 1-2% Minoxidil and is applied to the scalp when bathing. Some common Minoxidil shampoos are Rogaine and Foligain.

A bottle and box of Foligan shampoo
A bottle of Alpecin shampoo

Currently, there is not a lot of research available on the efficacy of Minoxidil shampoo, compared to Minoxidil results. However, one double-blind placebo-controlled study tested the efficacy of Minoxidil shampoo over a period of 4 months.

The study does not state the level of hair loss in the patients, however, it does state that the majority of participants were experiencing genetic hair loss.

After 4 months, there was an increase in hair growth in the Minoxidil shampoo users. However, the hair growth was not significantly superior to the placebo result [8].

It is also important to note that Minoxidil shampoo has a very limited contact time with the scalp- around 3 minutes. Research shows that for Minoxidil to take effect on the scalp, it needs at least 4 hours of exposure time [9].

DHT-blocking shampoos contain ingredients that are proven to block the DHT hormone. These ingredients include saw palmettopumpkin seed oil, caffeine, and rosemary oil.

Nizoral shampoo contains the active ingredient Ketoconazole, which is a DHT blocker, while Alpecin shampoo is a caffeine-containing shampoo that uses caffeine as a natural DHT blocker.

Natural remedies

Ingredients such as rosemary oil and pumpkin seed oil have also been deemed effective in the treatment of androgenetic alopecia.

A bottle of rosemary oil and a bottle of pumpkin seed oil supplements

A study conducted on patients with androgenetic alopecia compared the efficacy of rosemary oil with 2% Minoxidil. After 6 months, the study showed that rosemary oil was as effective as 2% Minoxidil at stimulating hair regrowth [10].

Another study tested the efficacy of pumpkin-seed oil on 76 patients with mild to moderate male androgenetic alopecia, compared to a placebo. The study took place over 24 weeks, with the results concluding that the pumpkin-seed oil group saw a 40% mean hair count increase at the end of the trial [11].

Hair transplant surgery for receding hairline

As a hair transplant is permanent, opting for a hairline transplant is an effective and lifelong solution to stop a receding hairline. A surgeon will harvest hair follicle grafts from a donor site on the scalp and transplant them into the affected area, such as the hairline. This can be performed using the FUE or FUT/Strip transplant method.

When it comes to how much a receding hairline transplant costs it depends on the level of your hair loss and how many grafts you’ll need. At Norwood 2, which is the minimum level of hair loss needed to undergo a hair transplant, you’ll usually need 500-1500 grafts which can cost around £1,625.

Informational graphic showing how many hair grafts are needed to restore lost hair
Regarding which method of transplantation is best for a receding hairline transplant, an FUE may be preferable due to the reduced amount of visible scarring on the hairline and temples and the reduced post-operative healing time [12].
Patient before and after temple hair transplantation surgery
Wimpole patient with a receding temple and hairline - before and after hair transplant

This Wimpole patient had temple hair loss due to a receding hairline. After an FUE transplant consisting of 700 grafts, the hair in the temple area has been restored and looks natural.

Patient before and after hair transplantation for a receding hairline
Wimpole patient following a 2,400 graft hairline transplant - 10 months post surgery

As you can see here, this Wimpole patient had significant hair loss around the temples and the hairline. The patient received 2400 grafts through the FUE method which restored a natural-looking hairline.

Patient before and after 500 grafts hair transplant
Wimpole patient following a 500 graft temple transplant after 8 months

It is important to remember that a cheap hair transplant will not be a good, safe hair transplant. You should ensure that the clinic and surgeon you choose are reputable, and do plenty of research beforehand in order to avoid any hair transplant regrets.

Is a receding hairline always hereditary?

A receding hairline is nearly always hereditary, with 80% of male pattern baldness cases owing to a genetic predisposition [15].

You can experience a hairline that appears to be receding. However, this may not be due to male pattern baldness, but due to other factors such as medications that cause hair loss, nutrition, lifestyle habits, and stress-related hair loss.

Factors such as these usually cause non-patterned conditions such as telogen effluvium or diffuse thinning. These conditions do not develop or progress with a pattern like androgenetic alopecia, they are usually temporary and can appear anywhere on the scalp.

trichologist can perform a panel of tests to determine the type of hair loss that you are experiencing, and the most suitable treatment.

How do I know if I have a receding hairline?

With a receding hairline, you may begin losing hair in your mid-20s, and this can happen quite quickly. This could be due to the beginnings of male pattern hair loss.

If you are genetically disposed to male pattern baldness, for example, if your father or other male members of your family experience it, and you are seeing hair loss around your temples and hairline, then there is a good chance that you have a receding hairline.

Illustrated example of Norwood Stage 2
Norwood stage 2

Norwood himself categorises the beginnings of a receding hairline as Norwood 2, and describes the stage as ‘triangular, usually symmetrical areas of recession on the frontotemporal hairline’. The good news is, that if you are at Norwood 2 and your hairline is receding, treatment is more likely to be successful as hair loss is in the early stages of progression [16].

Some men experience hair loss on one side of the head with a receding hairline. However, a doctor may deem this to be normal and you can still access treatment [17].

Often, receding hairlines are confused with mature hairlines. Fortunately, there is a difference between a receding hairline and a mature hairline. A mature hairline happens with age and moves back in a straight and even line slowly, while a receding hairline is due to a genetic predisposition to hair loss, and recedes around the temples and hairline, creating a triangular recession. This can happen quite quickly, causing a receding hairline as young as 20

examples of a receding hair line vs a mature hair line
Harry Kane (left) has a receding hairline, Jack Wilshere (right) has a mature hairline

You cannot stop a mature hairline as this is a natural progression of the hairline due to age. However, it is possible to stop or reduce the appearance of a receding hairline.

Hairstyles to disguise a receding hairline

There are a few ways to disguise a receding hairline, including male hairstyles that can disguise a receding hairline, and female receding hairline hairstyles.

One of the best ways to disguise a receding hairline is to keep your hair short, for example, a crew cut, a fade, or a ‘short back and sides’ with a long top disguises the recession and hair loss at the temples and hairline.

examples of short hairstyles that disguise a receding hairline

Long hairstyles are a great way to disguise temple and hairline recession too. For example, growing your hair out to cover the receding areas or more specific styles such as ‘long on top’, and even ’90s style (which is coming back into fashion!).

Examples of longer hairstyles that disguise temple hair loss
To completely eliminate the appearance of a receding hairline at all times without any treatment, some people prefer to rock a full, clean head shave.

Get help for a receding hairline

If you’re worried about a receding hairline there are a few options available to you, either non-surgical or surgical.

We provide services for receding hairlines such as hairline transplants and FUE hair transplants, as well as alternative treatments such as laser therapy for hair loss.

Our trichology team are on hand to answer any questions or concerns you may have and to diagnose any underlying conditions via a consultation.

Book your free consultation today to learn more about the services we provide or check out our gallery and reviews page to learn about how we can help restore your lost hair.

How To Stop A Receding Hairline, Wimpole Clinic

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