Millions of men and women suffer from hair loss throughout the United States, and the most common first sign is a receding hairline. Learn more about how you can identify and fix a receding hairline and support new hair growth below.
Is My Hairline Receding and Why?
A receding hairline is symptomatic of androgenetic alopecia, better known as male or female pattern baldness, but it’s important to know what it actually looks like. Receding hair can occur at any point in a man’s life after puberty, but it most often occurs in the late 30s. This usually starts at the temples and gradually moves up over the top of the head. This commonly results in a ring of hair forming around the scalp with a bare or thin patch of hair on the crown. This may eventually progress to a horseshoe shape of hair around the back and sides of your head with no hair at the crown. In other cases, hair in the front and center of the head will stay in place while hair at the temples recedes, resulting in a more pronounced widow’s peak.1
While women can still experience receding hairlines, they are generally more likely to experience overall hair thinning. In women who do experience receding hairlines, hair at the sides and back of the head are left unaffected as the hair part widens, creating a more significant bald spot on top of the head.1 This shape or pattern of baldness in women is described as a Christmas tree distribution of hair loss.
In both men and women, receding hair can eventually give way to more prominent hair loss.
What Causes Receding Hair?
A receding hairline can be caused by any number of factors, but it is most often a result of genetics and your hormones, particularly DHT. Normal levels of DHT promotes the production of facial, axillary, pubic, and body hair whereas excessive levels of DHT can contribute to baldness and prostate problems in men and female pattern hair loss in women.21
DHT is similar in structure to testosterone, attaching to the same receptors but easier and for longer periods of time. While DHT is necessary for general health, too much of this hormone has been linked to female and male pattern baldness. Excess DHT weakens and shrinks hair follicles, making it impossible for healthy hair to grow or thrive. In men, high levels of DHT has also been linked to a condition known as benign prostatic hyperplasia, or an enlarged prostate, as well as prostate cancer.2
Hormonal changes can also contribute to hair loss by causing an imbalance of DHT levels. In women, a decrease in female hormones gives an edge to DHT and other androgen hormones, resulting in hair loss. This is why pregnancy, childbirth, menopause, and other factors that affect women’s hormones can result in hair thinning or loss.4
Contrary to popular belief, you do not entirely inherit androgenetic alopecia from your mother’s side of the family. While the main baldness gene exists on the X chromosome, you still inherit genes from your father, and research shows that men who have bald fathers are more likely to develop male pattern baldness than those who do not.5
This is also where genetics come into play. Male and female pattern baldness are known to be hereditary. Based on your genes, you may have a naturally inherited sensitivity to DHT, resulting in the weakening of hair follicles that results in a receding hairline, thinning hair, and eventually hair loss.6
Anything that increases DHT levels may contribute to a receding hair line and hair loss, including:
- Anabolic steroids
- Testosterone replacement therapy
- Creatine supplements6
Other factors that can contribute to receding hair include:
- Smoking – Cigarette smoke may cause hair loss through a wide range of factors. Smoking can prevent proper blood flow to hair follicles, cutting off nutrients and oxygen. Smoking also causes imbalances in the protein systems that control the tissue formation during hair growth phases. Toxins in smoking can also cause damage to DNA in the hair follicle and create hormonal imbalances resulting in higher DHT levels.7
- Medication – Certain prescription drugs can interfere with the natural hair growth cycle. Studies suggest that this may happen from either stopping proper growth of hair cells or by forcing hair follicles into a premature rest phase (telogen). Drugs that may cause hair loss include anticoagulants, retinol, and cholesterol medications. However, this form of hair loss is separate from androgenetic alopecia and is usually reversible following cessation and treatment.8
- Stress – In mice studies, stress was found to inhibit hair growth by modulating follicles. The stress response involves the release of cortisol, a steroid hormone similar in structure to testosterone and DHT. Cortisol inhibits hair growth and may also contribute to androgenetic alopecia by affecting DHT levels.9
How to Stop a Receding Hairline, Regrow Hair, and Prevent Further Hair Loss
With the right treatments and lifestyle changes, you may be able to stop a receding hairline and promote proper hair growth.
As DHT is the main culprit of male and female pattern baldness, the best way to control hair loss is to regulate and reduce your DHT levels. There are a wide range of natural ingredients that act as DHT blockers, including:
- Saw palmetto
- Stinging nettle
- Pumpkin seed oil
- Green tea
These ingredients mainly work by directly inhibiting or reducing an enzyme known as 5-alpha reductase. This enzyme is known to turn testosterone into DHT. About 10 percent of testosterone is converted to DHT by 5-alpha reductase.2 By stopping this enzyme, you actively keep your DHT levels in check, thus preventing a buildup of DHT and inhibiting hair loss.
Use Essential Oils
Essential oils can act in a variety of ways to prevent hair loss and promote healthy growth. Effective essential oils for hair include:
- Lavender oil
- Jojoba oil
- Moroccan argan oil
- Peppermint oil
- Rosemary oil
- Tea tree oil
While some of these, like lavender oil, work by blocking DHT, others help to fight bacteria, fungi, and other microbes responsible for dandruff. Jojoba oil and argan oil are powerful moisturizers, allowing you to provide your hair and scalp with plenty of nourishment to fight off hair loss caused by dryness or irritation.
Take Vitamins That Increase Hair Growth
Vitamins play an integral role in your overall health, and they can help to prevent hair loss and promote hair growth. Some vitamins to incorporate for healthy hair include:
- Vitamin A – All cells need vitamin A to build new cellular material and grow. Vitamin A has also been found to play a role in the production of sebum. Sebum is an oily substance produced and secreted in skin glands. Sebum may help to moisturize and protect the hair and scalp.10 Some rat studies also suggest that vitamin A deficiency may result in alopecia as a symptom of anemia.11
- Biotin – Biotin is a B vitamin that is responsible for proper metabolism and converting nutrients into energy. Biotin is best known for contributing to hair growth, along with healthy skin and nails. Research shows that biotin improves the natural infrastructure of keratin, a protein that makes up your hair, skin, and nails.12 Studies have linked biotin deficiency to hair loss.13
- Vitamin C – Vitamin C is commonly known as an immune system booster, but it may also help promote healthy hair growth. Vitamin C is naturally a powerful antioxidant, meaning that it can protect against oxidative stress and neutralize free radical damage to your hair and scalp.14 Vitamin C is also an essential component in the process of creating collagen, a basic protein that in connective tissues throughout your body, including your skin, muscles, and hair.15
- Vitamin D – Some studies have linked vitamin D deficiency to alopecia.16 Research also suggests that vitamin D may help your scalp generate new hair follicles, which can add to hair’s overall volume and thickness while preventing existing hair from falling out.17
- Vitamin E – Much like vitamin C, vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that can help to prevent and regulate oxidative stress. One study found that participants with alopecia who took tocotrienol supplements experienced a 34.5 percent increase in hair growth. Tocotrienol is a chemical in the vitamin E family. The effect suggests that vitamin E may reduce lipid peroxidation and oxidative stress present in the scalp.18
Chronic stress is known to have a serious and significant impact on your health. Stress can cause a form of hair loss known as telogen effluvium, wherein a large number of hair follicles are forced to stay in the resting phase of the hair cycle. Affected hairs may begin to fall out.
Find a healthy, constructive means of controlling your stress, like meditation, breathing exercises, working out, and supplements for your mood.
Hairstyles for a Receding Hairline
Changing your hairstyle can help to draw attention away from your receding hairline and boost your self-confidence.
The comb over is a popular style that has unfortunately been misused as a style involving covering a bald crown with hair combed over from the side of the head. In reality, a comb over is a clean look that involves using your receding hairline as the lowest point of your natural part, creating a sense of weight and shape to your hair.
Undercuts comprise cutting the sides and back of the hair short while leaving the top of the hair long. Along with providing an illusion of volume, the hair can be grown out and slicked back to make the hair look thicker while covering up bald spots.20
DrFormulas® offers a variety of products that may help to promote hair growth using natural ingredients, including DrFormulas® HairOmega® DHT Blocker Shampoo and Conditioner. Take a look through our store today.