How To Tell If Your Hairline Is Receding? 5 Signs to Look Out For!

Medically reviewedby Dr. Amy Revene M.B.B.S.
WrittenbyLuat Duong
Last updated

It's an ordinary reality for many men to experience hair loss, especially a receding hairline. Studies show that a significant percentage of men will have moderate to extensive male pattern hair loss, with the likelihood increasing as they age.

Ignoring early signs of hair loss and attributing them to natural features like a widow's peak can be a mistake.

Recognizing and addressing hair loss early may help manage its progression.

To help you identify the most prominent signs of a receding hairline, we have outlined the differences between a normal and receding hairline and listed a few warning signs to look out for.

Additionally, we have provided information on available treatment options, such as medication and hair transplantation, to help you combat male pattern baldness.

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Normal hairline vs receding hairline

Before discussing the signs of a receding hairline, it's crucial to dispel some misconceptions about how a man's hairline should look. There is no such phenomenon as a "normal" hairline, as they come in various shapes and patterns

Some are almost perfectly straight and rectangular, while others are more bell-shaped or round. Hairlines can also be high, showing off much of the forehead, or lower, sitting closer to the eyebrows.

Therefore, having a relatively high or V-shaped hairline does not necessarily indicate hair loss. Instead, a receding hairline refers to the movement of the hairline. 

If you are experiencing ongoing hair loss and your hairline is moving higher, it's considered receding.

While a receding hairline does not necessarily lead to full baldness, it's often one of the first signs of male pattern baldness.

One of the seven stages used to gauge the severity of the condition, known as the Norwood scale, distinguishes the first two stages of male pattern baldness by the progression of a receding hairline. 

It's essential to take a receding hairline seriously if you have one and be proactive in treating it, as it could potentially lead to more severe hair loss in the future.

How to tell if your hairline is receding?

It can be challenging to detect a receding hairline since it's a gradual process that happens over time. Seeing yourself in the mirror every day can make it harder to spot changes in your hairline.

Here are the easiest ways to tell if your hairline is receding:

  • Compare Photos: Look at current and old photos to see changes in your hairline.
  • Observe Thinning: Check for thinning hair at temples or forehead.
  • Increased Hair Shedding: Pay attention to more hair loss than usual.
  • 'M' Shape Formation: Notice if hairline forms an 'M' shape.

hair receding, hair loss treatment

1. You look different in your current photographs

Take a moment to compare your current photographs with those from a few years ago.

Focus on any changes in your hairline. This is a subtle yet effective way to spot differences.

For better accuracy, ensure the photos are in similar lighting and angles.

Regular photo sessions of your hairline, every few months, can help you track these changes over time.

2. You observe thinning patches in your hair

Keep an eye out for areas where your hair seems thinner, especially around the temples or the crown.

Thinning hair can be an early indicator of a receding hairline. It's often more noticeable when your hair is wet or in bright light.

If you find some parts of your scalp looking sparser, it's worth paying attention to.

3. You are experiencing more hair shedding than usual

Notice if there's more hair on your brush or pillow.

While losing 50 to 100 hairs a day is normal, excessive shedding can signal the onset of male pattern baldness.

Consider this especially if you're also observing other signs of hair loss.

4. Your hairline is receding unevenly

Observe the pattern of your receding hairline. A receding hairline often takes an 'M' shape due to more hair loss at the temples than at the center.

This is a key sign of male-pattern baldness.

A uniformly receding hairline might just be maturing, but if it's receding significantly, especially at the temples, it's likely more than just maturing.

5. Your hair starts acting unusually

Pay attention to how your hair behaves. If it's not styling as usual or providing less coverage, especially around the hairline, this could indicate thinning or receding.

Changes in the way your hair looks and feels can be telling, as you're most familiar with how your hair usually behaves.

How to treat a receding hairline?

Losing hair or experiencing thinning can be emotionally distressing, regardless of age. However, numerous hair loss treatments can prevent you from continuing to lose hair or even promote hair growth in areas with sparse hair or bald spots.

Scandinavian Biolabs Hair Growth Routine

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If you've noticed signs of a receding hairline, the Scandinavian Biolabs Hair Growth Routine offers a natural and effective way to help fight it.

This 3-step system, backed by clinical studies and positive reviews, is designed to help reduce hair loss and assist in stimulating hair growth.

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Embark on your journey to a fuller hairline today. Experience the transformative power of Scandinavian Biolabs - a drug-free choice for those facing a receding hairline..

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The FDA has approved minoxidil as a topical treatment that is accessible over-the-counter. It can help slow down hair loss and even reverse it in some cases, particularly in people with male baldness.

However, it may not prevent frontal fibrosing alopecia from progressing unless used with other medications. 

The treatment works best when used early on small areas of hair loss, and a clinical trial has shown that 5% topical minoxidil is particularly effective for hair regrowth. 

Recent research suggests that 2% and 5% minoxidil treatments are equally effective.

While oral minoxidil is not FDA-approved for treating hair loss, studies have shown that it may be more effective than topical options.


Finasteride is an oral medication that can aid in promoting hair growth by blocking dihydrotestosterone (DHT) levels.

Elevated levels of DHT are associated with preventing hair growth in both men and women who have pattern hair loss. 

This medication is also prescribed to help individuals with frontal fibrosing alopecia to prevent hair loss in the future. However, oral finasteride can cause a reduction in libido and sexual dysfunction in some individuals.

Finasteride is also used in combination with minoxidil in topical hair loss treatments. In a small study conducted in India, 50 men found that combining topical 0.1% finasteride with 5% minoxidil helped improve hair density. 

Another study from China in 2015 found that combining 1 mg of finasteride with 5% topical minoxidil effectively improved hair regrowth.

Platelet-rich plasma therapy

The process of platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy for hair loss entails injecting platelets obtained from a person’s blood into the scalp.

The injection helps regulate hair follicle growth and improve hair density.

In a small study conducted in 2020 on 69 men with male pattern hair loss, it was observed that individuals who underwent PRP therapy experienced increased hair follicle cells and improved hair growth. 

The study also revealed that the best results were seen in those who received a combination of PRP and minoxidil compared to those with only PRP or minoxidil.

Hair transplant

how to tell if your hairline is receding

Hair transplant, also called "hair plugs," is a surgical procedure moving hair follicles from the sides or back of the head to areas that are balding.

This procedure effectively treats receding hair lines associated with male pattern hair loss. Typically, the transplanted hair falls out after surgery but eventually grows back.


    A receding hairline is primarily caused by genetic factors and aging, such as male pattern hair loss and frontal fibrosing alopecia. Factors like stress and hormonal changes can also contribute to hair loss. 

    To prevent a receding hairline, avoid hairstyles that damage or pull out hair, and consider changing your hairstyle.

    Although frontal fibrosing alopecia and male pattern hair loss cannot be prevented or cured, early detection and consultation with a dermatologist can help prevent future hair loss and potentially promote hair regrowth. 

    Treatment options typically involve a combination of minoxidil, finasteride, light therapy, PRP therapy, and hair transplant surgery.

    In addition to these methods, incorporating the Scandinavian Biolabs Hair Growth Routine, which includes plant-powered products designed to help stimulate hair growth and strengthen follicles, can also potentially aid in the management of a receding hairline.


    What causes a receding hairline? 

    A receding hairline is usually caused by genetics and ageing related to male pattern hair loss or frontal fibrosing alopecia. Stress and hormonal changes can also cause hair loss.

    Can a receding hairline be prevented? 

    Both frontal fibrosing alopecia and male pattern baldness are conditions that cannot be prevented or treated in any way. Nevertheless, notice a receding hairline early and seek treatment from a board-certified dermatologist. In that case, you will have a better chance of preventing additional hair loss and, in some cases, growing back the lost hair. Avoiding hairstyles that damage and pull out hair could also help prevent a receding hairline.

    Can hair loss from a receding hairline be reversed?

     While hair loss from frontal fibrosing alopecia and male pattern hair loss is generally irreversible, catching a receding hairline early and treating it with minoxidil, finasteride, light therapy, PRP therapy, or hair transplant surgery can potentially slow or stop future hair loss and help regrow hair.

    Is it normal to have a receding hairline at a young age? 

    It is not uncommon for young men to have a receding hairline due to maturing hairlines, which is a natural process. However, if a receding hairline is accompanied by significant hair loss, it may be a sign of male pattern hair loss or frontal fibrosing alopecia, which a dermatologist should evaluate.

    Are there any lifestyle changes that can prevent a receding hairline?

    Maintaining a healthy lifestyle with a balanced diet, regular exercise, and stress management can improve overall hair health, but it is not guaranteed to prevent a receding hairline. Avoiding hairstyles that damage and pull out hair could also help prevent a receding hairline.

    What is the difference between a maturing hairline and a receding hairline?

    A maturing hairline is a natural process that occurs as a man ages, usually during late adolescence or early adulthood. It typically involves a slight recession of the hairline, usually around 1-2 cm. A receding hairline, on the other hand, indicates a progression of hair loss beyond this natural maturation process, often presenting as a more noticeable M-shaped or V-shaped pattern, particularly around the temples.

    Can certain hairstyles or hair care habits lead to a receding hairline?

    Yes, certain hairstyles like tight ponytails, braids, or man buns can cause a condition known as traction alopecia, which occurs when the hair is pulled tight regularly, causing tension on the hair follicles. Over time, this can lead to a receding hairline. Similarly, overuse of harsh hair care products or heat styling tools can damage the hair and contribute to hair loss. It is recommended to use gentle hair care products and avoid hairstyles that put tension on the hair.


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    Luat Duong

    Luat Duong is a Copenhagen-based writer and content strategist specializing in hair loss and health. His work has been featured in MyHealthGuide, The Right Hairstyles, and Woman's Era. He is a graduate of Vaasa University. You can connect with him on LinkedIn.