Many men first notice they’re losing their hair when it starts receding at the temples. A receding hairline is one of the first signs of male pattern baldness, the most common type of hair loss worldwide. Male pattern hair loss affects up to 85% of men by the age of 50, so hair loss at the temples is a very common problem .
But temple hair loss isn’t exclusive to men. Women can also lose hair along the hairline (though this usually happens as a result of non-genetic causes). In this article, you’ll learn:
- what causes hair loss around the temples in men and women
- why the temples are often most affected by hair loss
- how to hide and/or treat your receding hairline.
Causes of temple hair loss
Androgenetic alopecia is the scientific name for male pattern baldness, and it’s the most common cause of temple hair loss in men. It has a characteristic progressive pattern, as shown in the Norwood Scale:
Even at the early stages of the Norwood Scale, your hairline starts to recede. If left untreated, this often progresses into an M-shaped hairline. (While a widow’s peak can look similar, this type of hairline usually develops in adolescence and doesn’t always indicate you’ll develop a receding hairline.)
Left: Harry Styles’s M-shaped hairline, which is characteristic of early male pattern baldness. Right: Actress Stephanie Davis’s high natural hairline.
Androgenetic alopecia is caused by a combination of your genes, and a hormone known as dihydrotestosterone (DHT). The follicles at your temples are more sensitive to DHT than those elsewhere on the scalp, with one study suggesting there are 1.5 times more androgen receptors here than at the back of the head . That’s why hairline recession is one of the first signs of male pattern baldness.
Androgenetic alopecia can also affect women. This doesn’t usually cause hair loss at the temples, although it has been seen in rare cases [3-5]. Women with female pattern hair loss usually see hair loss all over the scalp.
In women, temple hair loss is more likely to occur due to traction alopecia. Traction alopecia is a type of temporary hair loss caused by tight hairstyles. High or tight ponytails can cause hair loss, as can dreadlocks, top knots, braids, hair extensions, and chemical relaxers. Research suggests traction alopecia may affect up to a third of women of African descent .
Early traction alopecia is more likely to cause hair loss at the sides of your forehead rather than along the fringe . But it can progress into irreversible scarring alopecia if you continue to wear your hair in tight styles.
Left: Ariana Grande revealed she wears her hair in a ponytail to hide traction alopecia at her temples. Right: Naomi Campbell has also experienced traction alopecia. Read more about female celebrities with hair loss.
Frontal fibrosing alopecia
Frontal fibrosing alopecia (FFA) is a type of scarring alopecia that affects the temples. A receding hairline is the most common symptom of FFA, so it can be confused with pattern baldness, particularly in men.
Patients with receding hairlines caused by frontal fibrosing alopecia (FFA).
FFA is most common in postmenopausal women. So it could be the cause of receding hairlines in women who don’t typically wear their hair in tight styles . Eyebrow hair loss is also a key indicator of FFA.
Why are the temples most affected by hair loss?
Follicles at the temple are most sensitive to the hormones that cause male pattern baldness, so they’re the first to be affected if you have this condition . But the hair at your temples is also generally much less dense than the hair elsewhere on your scalp . So when hair loss occurs, it’s much more noticeable.
Even if you have a maturing hairline, rather than a condition like traction alopecia or FFA, hair loss is often more visible at the temples than on the rest of your head.
How to hide temple hair loss
Unfortunately, because your hair is thinner at the temples, it’s also tricky to hide hair loss here. But there are some things you can do to mask it.
Try a new hairstyle
In the early stages of a receding hairline, you can usually find a style that hides it.
For men, grow the top of your hair long and style it forward over your forehead to disguise your thinning temples.
For women, try wearing your hair down or naturally to cover patchiness or thinning. This also gives your follicles time to recover from overstyling or trauma.
Use hair thickening spray instead of hair extensions
Hair extensions may give you the appearance of thicker hair, but they can seriously damage your real hair. Try to cut down your use to special occasions only. Instead, try hair thickening spray to create the illusion of full hair.
If you normally shave your head, but you still want to disguise how much hair you’ve lost along your temples, scalp micropigmentation is a great option. This technique creates a new hairline using tiny tattooed dots across your scalp. To the untrained eye, your buzzcut will look full and totally natural.
How to treat hair loss at your temples
If hiding your temple hair loss isn’t enough, there are ways to treat and restore your hair. Here are some of the most popular temple hair loss treatments.
Minoxidil is a widely used hair loss solution that’s applied to the scalp twice a day. It has excellent success rates for both preventing further hair loss and helping hair regrow, especially for those in the early stages of hair loss.
ISHRS researchers found Minoxidil to be moderately to very effective in 84% of people with male pattern baldness . Check out these Minoxidil before and after photos to see the results.
Finasteride and Dutasteride are commonly prescribed for treating male pattern baldness. They work by preventing your body from converting testosterone into DHT, reducing the impact on your hair follicles.
DHT blockers are usually only suitable for men with pattern baldness. So if you have FFA or traction alopecia, these won’t help. Find out which is better for hair loss, Finasteride vs Dutasteride.
Treatments for frontal fibrosing alopecia
There are several treatments available for FFA. Steroids and antimalarial drugs can reduce follicle inflammation, while immunosuppressants can inhibit the body’s immune response that causes follicle scarring.
Hair transplants are a permanent way to address your hair loss. Healthy hair follicles are taken from the back or side of your head and implanted in your temples where the hairline has receded. After a few months the hair starts to grow, giving you a full, natural-looking hairline.
There are 2 types of hair transplant: FUE and FUT. Find out more about the difference between FUE and FUT surgery.
What to do if your hairline is receding at the temples
If you’ve noticed your hairline receding at the temples and you’re not sure what’s causing it, book a free consultation at the Wimpole Clinic. We’ll help you diagnose why your hair is falling out and find the best course of treatment to restore your hairline.
- Male Androgenetic Alopecia
- Assessment of the usefulness of dihydrotestosterone in the diagnostics of patients with androgenetic alopecia
- Female Pattern Hair Loss and Androgen Excess: A Report From the Multidisciplinary Androgen Excess and PCOS Committee
- Female pattern hair loss: Current treatment concepts
- Interventions for female pattern hair loss
- Traction alopecia: the root of the problem
- Evaluation of Hair Density and Hair Diameter in the Adult Thai Population Using Quantitative Trichoscopic Analysis
- Effectiveness of 5% Minoxidil in treating male-pattern hair loss
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