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Normal Hair Parting Width vs Thinning: Causes, Treatments and Results
Dr Meena Zareie (GMC)
Medically reviewed by
Dr Meena Zareie (GMC)
Updated on November 18, 2023

Do you ever look at your hair in the mirror and wonder if you have a normal hair parting width or the beginning of diffuse thinning? If so, you are not alone.

Even though hair loss is more common in men than in women, more than 55% of women experience hair thinning during their lifetime [1]. The widening of their midline parting is among the first signs of hair thinning [2].

But there is no one-size-fits-all all guideline as to what width a normal hair parting should be, you just need to look out for the signs of hair loss or a widening parting. A hair parting which has increased in size over the past few months or has the aspect of a Christmas tree can be a warning sign of female pattern baldness.

Keep reading this article to find out all you need to know about:

  • How to tell the difference between the normal hair parting width and a widened midline part
  • The main reasons your hair parting may be widening
  • How to regain your normal hair parting width after hair loss
  • What your best options are for covering up a widening midline part
Table of Contents

What is a normal hair parting width?

Since scalps and hair come in all shapes and sizes, it is difficult to put a number to the normal hair parting width. That is why there is no research to indicate an optimal midline part size [3].

There are hair researchers who believe that a parting spread of more than 1 cm is a clear indicator of patterned hair loss [3], but there is no wide scientific consensus about this value.

What matters most is that a normal hair parting has the following characteristics:

  • Linear – your midline part resembles a straight line and does not show outward ramifications.
  • Symmetrical – the entire length of your parting is of the same width, with no widening segments.
  • Consistent over time – you haven’t noticed any changes in the size and shape of your midline part during the past 6 months.
  • Ensures good scalp coverage – your scalp is fully covered by hair and cannot be easily seen through the strands around your parting.
normal hair parting
Normal hair part, unaffected by hair loss

What is the difference between a normal hair part and a thinning hair part?

There are specific signs that you need to look out for when examining your hair parting for signs of hair loss. Some of the most common are the following [1][2][3]:

Widening of the midline parting

Instead of your uniform, normal hair parting, you may be starting to see widening areas. Alternatively, the entire parting may become wider than it used to be.

Before and after thinning of the midline parting
Before and after thinning of the midline parting

A Christmas tree pattern

You may see small branches extending from your central parting, where the scalp is more visible. This is a classic sign of hair thinning in women.

hair thinning in women
A, Midline part in normal scalp unaffected by hair loss. B, “Christmas tree” pattern of hair loss in androgenetic alopecia as evidenced by the midline part of scalp hair. C, Midline part in woman with more extensive androgenetic alopecia [2]

Visible scalp around the parting

Even if you cannot make out a Christmas tree pattern around your midline parting, being able to see your scalp through your hair around it can be a sign of hair loss.

visible scalp through parting

More hair shedding than usual

Some hair loss is normal so you don’t need to worry if you lose between 50-100 hair strands each day. But if you notice that more hair than usual is falling out, it could be a sign of diffuse hair thinning.

example of normal daily hair shedding

Taking a photo of your parting every month can help you identify any subtle changes which take place over time.

What causes a wide hair parting?

There are several reasons why your hair parting may be widening. Here are some of the most common:

1. Androgenetic alopecia

A major cause of a widening hair parting is androgenetic alopecia, also known as male pattern baldness or, in this case, female pattern baldness. This condition affects 12% of women aged 20-29 and over 50% of women by the time they reach 80 years old [1].

Female pattern hair loss is caused by a mix of genetic and hormonal factors. The testosterone naturally present in the female body is transformed by an enzyme called 5 alpha-reductase into a different androgenetic hormone, called dihydrotestosterone (DHT). This DHT attaches itself to the androgen receptors in your hair follicles and causes them to shrink and stop producing new hair fibres.

miniaturisation leading to hair loss informational graphic

However, female pattern baldness differs in appearance from the male version – receding hairlines and temple hair loss are less pronounced, while the thinning is most visible around the crown and the central hair parting.

There are two main scales that measure the severity of female androgenetic alopecia:

  • The Ludwig Scale, which is divided into 3 stages and primarily measures the severity of hair thinning at the crown.
Ludwig scale
Ludwig Scale [2]
  • The Savin Scale, which comprises 8 stages and assesses the hair loss around the crown and central parting. This scale better illustrates the widening of the hair parting in female pattern baldness.
Savin hair density scale
Savin hair density scale [2]

2. Telogen Effluvium

Telogen effluvium is temporary hair shedding due to physical illness [1] or stress-related hair loss. While it can lead to substantial hair shedding, it will also end when the stress factor is removed.

telogen effluvium examples

3. Traction alopecia

Traction alopecia is hair loss resulting from excessive pulling on the hair, usually due to wearing tight hairstyles (ponytails, braids, top knots) or heavy hair extensions.

traction alopecia example

4. Other causes

There are many reasons why hair thinning can happen in women. If you suspect it might be due to one of the following conditions, it is best to consult a trichologist who can prescribe the best female treatment for hair loss.

Other causes of hair loss which can lead to hair parting widening [1]:
Medications that cause hair loss
Telogen gravidarum (pregnancy/postpartum hair loss)
Diffuse alopecia areata
Scarring alopecia
Radiotherapy or chemotherapy
Iron deficiency anaemia
Subnutrition or malnutrition (including restrictive dieting)
Hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism
Chronic renal or hepatic failure
Advanced cancer

How much scalp is it normal to see through hair?

There is no scientific consensus regarding the exact amount of scalp that should be visible through your hair, as it can differ from one person to another. However, if your hair is so thin you can see your scalp, you are likely experiencing hair loss.

Normally, you should only be able to see a narrow line of skin clearly on your parting and around your ears. If you start to notice patches of the scalp through your strands, especially around your crown and midline parting, you may be experiencing diffuse hair thinning.

Is a wide hair parting normal?

If your hair parting has been on the wider side ever since you were a child, this may not be a problem. However, if you have noticed a widening in your midline parting with time, especially if it came on suddenly (during the course of the past few months) and it is accompanied by more hair shedding than usual, it is likely to be an initial sign of hair thinning.

Catching hair loss in its early phases can lead to better treatment outcomes, so seeing a trichologist is the best course of action whenever you are in doubt about whether you are experiencing hair thinning.

Best ways to cover up your widening hair parting

Research shows that androgenetic alopecia has a larger psychological effect in men than it does in women [4]. So it is natural to find visible signs of hair loss distressing.

Here are some hair expert [1] recommended ways you can hide your hair thinning at the parting and feel more comfortable about your locks:

1. Switch to a side or zig-zagging part to disguise central thinning

Zig zag parting example

2. Adopt a shorter hairstyle, such as a pixie cut, to get more hair volume and lift

Pixie cut example

3. Add soft layers at the top of your hair so it looks fuller when pulled back

example of using soft layers in your hair

4. Wear a body wave with soft or tight curls, as it gives your locks more bounce and fullness

body wave hair example

5. Use camouflaging products such as hair-building fibres, scalp spray thickeners, topical shading or alopecia masking lotions.

results of using camouflage powder
Before and after camouflage powder [5]

How can you stop hair loss and regain your normal hair parting width?

Some several treatments and therapies have been proven efficient in promoting hair growth. The most common of these are:


Minoxidil works by opening up the blood vessels in the scalp and thus increasing nutrient supply to your hair follicles. Unlike Finasteride, Minoxidil for women can be used even before menopause.

Most commonly known under the brand name Rogaine (Regaine in the UK), its results are demonstrated by multiple studies [6] and illustrated by Minoxidil before and after photos.

This treatment can be used on its own or you can opt for Minoxidil combined with Finasteride. Or if you would rather add a form of scalp therapy, you might use Minoxidil and a derma roller together for enhanced hair growth.

Results of using Minoxidil
Before and after using 5% Minoxidil solution for 12 weeks


This medication is a DHT blocker, meaning that it limits the amount of testosterone which gets converted into DHT.

While Finasteride results are promising [7], it may only be suitable for postmenopausal women. That is because if premenopausal women use Finasteride, it can lead to menstrual cycle disruption, hormonal changes or foetal malformations in pregnant women.

Results of using Finasteride

Derma Rolling

Also known as micro-needling, derma rolling for hair growth is a therapy which uses many very fine needles to create microscopic holes in your scalp. This triggers a healing reaction in your body, stimulating stem cell activity and promoting hair growth [8].

Results of derma rolling
Androgenetic alopecia in a 28‐year‐old female before (A) and after (B) 6 months of derma rolling [10] .

Red light therapy for hair loss

Red light therapy for hair loss is a form of Low-Level Laser Therapy (LLLT) involving a device which sends focused red or near-infrared beams of light to your scalp. This light penetrates the skin, optimising cell functioning and increasing hair growth [8].

results of using Red Light Therapy
Before and after 24 weeks of red light therapy

Lifestyle changes

Sometimes, even small changes in your hair care routine can reduce hair loss. This is especially true when the thinning is not caused by androgenetic alopecia or one of the many common scalp problems, but by lifestyle factors.

Before you start using any hair loss medication, make sure to discuss your option with a trichologist, to make sure that you are a good candidate for it.

What if your widening hair parting cannot be treated?

If your hair parting width is large and you are also experiencing extensive hair loss, you may be in a more advanced stage of female pattern baldness, which regular treatment can no longer help. But worry not, there may still be a solution to regain your normal hair parting, alongside your once luxurious curls: a hair transplant.

results after a FUT hair transplant
Before FUT hair transplant and after 1 year

More and more women have hair transplants each year. This is due to the advancements in techniques and equipment which allow the procedure to result in a natural look, making it easier to get a hair transplant without anyone knowing. Hair transplant before and after photos speak for themselves as to this.

Female hair transplants are safe, quick and efficient if performed by experienced surgeons. While hair transplant costs can be lower at lesser known hair facilities in foreign countries, it is safer to use one of the best hair transplant clinics in the UK. The Wimpole Clinic has a 97-100% hair transplant success rate.

Unlike hair loss treatments and therapies, a hair transplant is permanent. That means you are likely to still have a good-looking hair transplant after 10 years or more since you got it.

If you are wondering if you would make a good candidate for a hair transplant, book a consultation today at the most convenient of our locations. Our world-renowned surgeons will assess your condition and walk you through every step of the procedure.

Normal Hair Parting Width vs Thinning: Causes, Treatments and Results, Wimpole Clinic

Dr Meena Zareie (GMC)
Medically reviewed by Dr Meena Zareie (GMC)Updated on November 18, 2023
The Wimpole Clinic offers FUE Hair, Beard & Eyebrow Transplants & Trichology.
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