Why Do I Have a Receding Hairline?

Man with a receding hairline wearing a tie

Have you noticed your hairline receding lately? Do you know why it’s receding? There are a few different reasons to make your hairline crawl backward. A hairline might recede because of age, genetics, changes in hormones, and even some medical reasons. If a receding hairline has been passed down for generations and now it’s your turn, there is not much you can do about it now, unfortunately. However, there are exciting new advances in hair that may be helpful in the coming years.

What is a Receding Hairline?

A receding hairline is when the hair above the forehead begins to fall out and starts marching backward as time marches forward. Starting at the temples, the hairline starts creeping slowly backward, forming an M shape. This progresses for several months or years, then the hair on top of the head starts to fall out as well. The baldness meets in the middle, leaving hair growing on the sides and back of the head only. 

What Causes Receding Hairline?

The most common cause of hair loss is a hereditary condition called male-pattern baldness or female-pattern baldness, but there are several medical reasons your hairline may be receding.

Male pattern baldness

Male pattern baldness is the loss of hair on the scalp in men. This type of baldness occurs as a man’s hormone levels change over his lifetime, and typically progresses with age. Male pattern baldness is estimated to affect 50 million men in the united states and half of all men by 50 years of age.

Female pattern baldness

Women lose their hair as they age as well. Female pattern baldness does not begin at the forehead and recedes backward as it does in men. Instead, women tend to lose hair from the entire scalp. However, the good news is that women don’t usually go completely bald.

Hormonal changes and medical conditions

A variety of conditions can cause permanent or temporary hair loss including, menopause, thyroid problems as well as hormonal changes due to pregnancy and childbirth. Several medical conditions can also cause hair loss such as alopecia areata, scalp infections such as ringworm and a hair-pulling disorder called trichotillomania.

Medications and supplements

Certain drugs, such as those used for cancer, arthritis, depression, heart problems, gout, and high blood pressure may also cause hair loss.


Many people experience a general thinning of hair several months after a physical or emotional shock. This type of hair loss is temporary.

Certain hairstyles and treatments

Excessive hairstyling or hairstyles that pull your hair tight, such as pigtails or cornrows, can cause a type of hair loss called traction alopecia. Hot oil hair treatments and permanents can cause inflammation of hair follicles that leads to hair loss. If scarring occurs, hair loss could be permanent.

Treatments for Receding Hairlines

Hair loss can be slowed or, in some cases, reversed with over the counter medications such as Rogaine and Propecia. Rogaine is rubbed into the scalp and Propecia is taken in pill form. If you believe there may be medical reasons or changes in hormones, talk to a dermatologist. Your dermatologist may want to do a “pull test”: pulling out a few strands of hair to see how many came out and how easily they came out. The results of the test will let your dermatologist know what treatment is necessary. 

Your dermatologist may do a biopsy of the hairs or scalp tissue to determine if the cause of the hair loss is a scalp infection. You may also be asked to provide a blood test to see if other conditions may be contributing to the receding hair, such as thyroid disease or an immune disorder. If the blood test confirms that a medical condition is causing the hair loss, a steroid may be given to aid the immune system, thereby slowing or stopping the hair loss. 

Common treatments for receding hairlines include: 


Rogaine (minoxidil) is more helpful when you have just a small part of the scalp that needs hair regrowth and side effects include severe scalp irritation, heart palpitations, growth of unwanted facial hair, dizziness and headache, swelling in feet and hands, 


Propecia (finasteride) decreases hair loss in men and stimulates hair growth on the head. Its side effects include impotence, swelling in hands or feet, dizziness, weakness, headache and more. More serious side effects include, but are not limited to: depression, facial or lip swelling, swelling in throat or tongue, pain or lumps in your breasts, and nipple discharge. This drug is not prescribed for women or children. 

Laser Therapy 

Laser therapy may increase hair growth by using a 660 nano meters wavelength laser. Low-level laser therapy (LLLT) uses laser technology to treat thinning hair in women as well as men. Laser therapy works very well for some people, for others, not so much. The upside of laser therapy is that it has no side effects and it is easy and safe. 

Hair transplants

Hair transplants take parts of the scalp where the hair is growing and place them where the hair is not growing. This is probably the best long-term solution, however, it is probably also the most costly. Taking hair follicles from the sides of the head and placing them on top of the head are common surgeries that help some people, but as it is cosmetic, its high price tag (between $4,000-$15,000) is usually not covered by insurance.

Scalp Micropigmentation

Another hair loss solution that is sweeping the country is scalp micropigmentation. This is a non-surgical procedure and the results are natural and undetectable. Here at SMP Ink, we manually insert hair follicle replications using pigment to recreate a healthy head of hair. Our team has over 10 years of experience and has changed the lives of hundreds of clients. We can provide the most gratifying and fulfilling experience for anyone suffering from any type of hair loss.


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