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How to Stop a Receding Hairline

Vicky Davis

Medically reviewed by Vicky Davis, FNP

Written by Our Editorial Team

Last updated 12/5/2022

Have you noticed your hairline beginning to recede? Most men notice the first signs of hair loss at some point in their 20s, 30s or forties. 

In fact, research published in the journal Dermatologic Surgeryhas revealed that 16 percent of men aged from 18 to 29 and 53 percent of men in their 40s already have moderate to extensive baldness.

It’s easy to panic when you see your hairline creeping backward every year, especially when a high hairline is easily visible in the mirror or in photographs. 

Luckily, there are ways you can prevent your hairline from receding further and, in some cases, even regrow some of the hair you’ve lost.

Below, you can read how and why hair loss affects men, as well as the signs you might notice if you’re starting to develop a receding hairline. 

You’ll also find evidence-based solutions to stop your hairline from receding further and prevent other common symptoms of male pattern baldness.

TL;DR: How to Stop Your Receding Hairline

If you’re here for some quick tips to slow your receding hairline down and prevent it from getting worse, look no further. 

We’ve discussed all of these tips in more detail further down the page, but you can get the quick version here:

Use FDA-Approved Hair Loss Medications, Such as Minoxidil and Finasteride, Daily

If you’re interested in how to stop a receding hairline, you’ll usually get the best results by using FDA-approved hair loss treatments like minoxidil and finasteride.

Minoxidil works topically to stimulate hair growth, while finasteride works by stopping your body from producing dihydrotestosterone (DHT), a hormone that can attach to your hair follicles and cause them to stop growing new hairs.

You’ll need a prescription to buy finasteride, but minoxidil is sold over the counter as a foam or liquid, making it easy to add to your daily hair loss prevention routine.

Use a Hair Loss Prevention Shampoo

Shampoos with active ingredients such as saw palmetto, pyrithione zinc and ketoconazole are all linked to healthy hair growth. Try putting one, such as our Thick Fix Thickening Shampoo, in your shower to arm yourself against shedding and protect your hairline. 

Change Your Hairstyle

Not only can tight hairstyles make a receding hairline more obvious — they can also tug on your hair follicles and cause traction alopecia. Our list of hairstyles for thinning hair shares styles that are ideal for making a high hairline less obvious.

Use Small, Simple Lifestyle Changes to Reduce Stress

Stress is associated with a form of hair shedding calledtelogen effluvium, meaning experiencing frequent bouts of anxiety and worry may cause your hair to thin faster than it should.

If you feel stressed and overwhelmed, spend a little time every day doing something that makes you happy. If you need more help, consider taking part in therapy to identify the major causes of your stress and take steps to prevent them from affecting you.

Eat Meals That are Rich in Vitamins

While a poor diet won’t cause a receding hairline, it can affect your general hair health and rate of hair growth. We’ve shared some tips below to help you prioritize hair-friendly foods and have a diet that’s designed for optimal hair growth. 

Massage Your Scalp to Stimulate Growth

Although it might not seem effective at first glance, there’s some evidence that massaging your scalp can stimulate hair growth. In fact, studies have found that just a few minutes of massage per day for a few months can produce a meaningful improvement in hair thickness.

What is a Receding Hairline?

A receding hairline is exactly what it sounds like — a hairline that’s gradually (or, for some guys, rapidly) moving further up your head due to androgenetic alopecia, or male pattern baldness. 

Hairlines naturally vary in shape. Some men have a straight hairline that runs directly from one side of their forehead to the other, while others have a widow’s peak that gives their hairline an M- or V-like shape even if it’s unaffected by hair loss.

It’s common to get a receding hairline in the earliest stages of male pattern baldness. You may spot your hair thinning slightly around the temples, or notice your hairline starting to resemble a V, M or U shape when viewed from above. 

A receding hairline can develop in your 30s, 40s or later in your life. Experts in hair loss use a system called the Norwood scale to assess the severity of a receding hairline, as well as other symptoms of pattern hair loss in men. 

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What Causes a Receding Hairline in Men?

A receding hairline is a common symptom of male pattern baldness. This is a form of hair loss that develops due to a combination of your genes and the effects of a hormone called DHT, or dihydrotestosterone. 

What is DHT?

DHT is an androgen hormone, or male sex hormone. Your body naturally produces DHT as a byproduct of testosterone. Through the action of an enzyme called 5 alpha-reductase, a small percentage of your total testosterone is converted into DHT on an ongoing basis. 

During childhood and adolescence, DHT plays a key role in your development. It’s involved in the development of your male secondary sex characteristics, such as a deep, masculine voice and your facial and body hair. 

As you get older, DHT plays a less important role in your physical development. However, your body still produces a small amount of this hormone as a byproduct of testosterone.

DHT and a Balding Hairline

In some men, DHT can bind to receptors in the scalp and cause the hair follicles to miniaturize, or shrink. Over time, this process prevents the hair follicles from producing new hairs, resulting in gradual hair loss.

The hair follicles at your hairline — especially near your temples — are often the first affected by the miniaturization caused by DHT. 

If you’re prone to hair loss, you might notice that this area of your hairline has become thinner than normal, or that areas that used to have hair no longer have much coverage. 

Not everyone with a receding hairline will go completely bald. However, a receding hairline is a common early sign of hair loss, as well as a good sign that it’s time to consider taking action to protect your hair before it thins further. 

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Receding Hairline Treatments

Noticing that you have a receding hairline can be a stressful moment. However, the good news is that there are proven, evidence-based treatment options out there that can stop your hairline from receding more and help you to shield your hair follicles from further damage.

In some cases, these treatments can even stimulate new hair growth, meaning you may notice that some thin or empty areas of your hairline start to fill in with more hair.

Before getting into specific treatment options for receding hairline prevention, it’s important to make one thing clear: the sooner you start treating your receding hairline, the more hair you’ll likely keep. 

Hair loss can start gradually and then suddenly worsen. By acting as quickly as you can, you’ll be able to preserve as much of your hair as possible, and in some cases, even get some level of hair regrowth. 

With that warning out of the way, here are eight recommendations for preventing hair loss and stopping your receding hairline before it gets worse. 

We’ve listed these treatments in order of effectiveness, with the most promising treatments at the top of the list and the less proven options further down the page.

Use Finasteride to Lower Your DHT Levels

Research shows that the most effective way to prevent male pattern baldness from worsening is to block DHT using medication.

Right now, the only DHT-blocking medication that’s approved by the FDA for treating hair loss is finasteride, a prescription treatment that comes in tablet form.

You may have heard of finasteride as Propecia®. Today, it’s also available as a generic hair loss medication under a variety of brand names. 

Finasteride works by inhibiting the 5-alpha reductase enzyme, which converts testosterone into DHT within your body. This reduces your circulating DHT levels and prevents DHT from causing your hairline to recede further.

Research shows that finasteride not only stops hair loss from getting worse, but that it can also stimulate new hair growth. 

For example, a study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology found that finasteride helps to increase hair count around the hairline in balding men.

We offer finasteride online, following a consultation with a licensed healthcare provider who will determine if a prescription is appropriate for you. 

Apply Minoxidil to Stimulate Hair Growth

Minoxidil is a topical hair loss medication that’s available over the counter. It doesn’t block DHT, but it does stimulate hair growth by moving your hair follicles into the anagen (growth) phase of the hair growth cycle and stimulating blood flow to your scalp.

You may have heard of minoxidil under the brand name Rogaine®. It’s sold as a liquid or foam that needs to be applied directly to the areas of your scalp with hair loss.

Minoxidil works well on its own due to its effects on blood circulation, but it’s especially effective at protecting your hairline when it’s used with finasteride. 

In one study published in the journal Dermatologic Therapy, 94.1 percent of men with hair loss showed improvements after using minoxidil with finasteride.

It’s important to keep in mind that minoxidil, like finasteride, has a catch: if you don’t use it, you lose it. To maintain your hair growth and prevent your hairline from receding further, you’ll need to keep using minoxidil (as well as finasteride) on an ongoing basis. 

We offer minoxidil solution and minoxidil foam online, allowing you to easily add this medication to your hair loss prevention toolkit. 

For Severe Hair Loss, Consider a Hair Transplant

If you have a severely receding hairline that doesn’t seem to improve after using finasteride and minoxidil, you may want to consider undergoing a hair transplant. 

Hair transplantation is a surgical medical treatment that involves extracting actual hair follicles from the back and sides of your head, then transplanting individual hairs to areas with dormant hair follicles and noticeable hair loss.

Done by a skilled surgeon, a hair transplant can make your hairline look full, thick and identical to a natural hairline that’s unaffected by male pattern baldness.

Although hair transplant surgery is effective, it has a major downside: it ain’t cheap. If you have an obvious receding hairline and noticeable hair loss, this type of procedure could come with a minimum price tag of $4,000 or more.

You can learn more about this type of procedure, its advantages and disadvantages, different techniques and more in this guide to hair transplants.

Wash With a Hair Loss Prevention Shampoo

In addition to using finasteride and minoxidil, adding a hair loss shampoo to your routine may help ward off further hair loss and keep your hairline in good shape. 

Many hair loss shampoos contain active ingredients such as ketoconazole and saw palmetto, which may help prevent DHT buildup on the scalp.

While shampoo usually won’t have as much of an impact on a receding hairline or diffuse hair loss as medication, it can still work as a valuable part of your toolkit for treating and preventing hair loss. 

Our Thick Fix Thickening Shampoo, which is formulated with saw palmetto, is designed to give your hair additional strength while providing protection against hereditary hair loss. 

Make Small But Meaningful Changes to Your Lifestyle

Since male pattern baldness is caused by a combination of genes and DHT, your habits won’t play any major role in this type of hair loss. However, maintaining a healthy, balanced lifestyle may offer some improvements in hair growth for the hair you still have.

For stronger hair growth, try to minimize stressful events — a common trigger for hair shedding from telogen effluvium.

Other positive lifestyle changes, such as quitting smoking, may also help to reduce damage to your hair that affects its strength, growth and appearance.

Our guide to lifestyle changes for improved hair growth goes into more detail about how to stop receding hairline and keep your hair in optimal condition naturally. 

Eat a Diet That Promotes Healthy Hair Growth

Although your diet doesn’t directly cause male pattern baldness, eating a healthy, balanced diet that’s rich in essential vitamins, minerals and nutrients may help promote consistent hair growth and prevent issues such as hair breakage.

As we’ve covered in our guide to vitamins for hair growth, a diverse range of vitamins all play a part in the growth and maintenance of your hair. In addition to vitamins, essential minerals such as zinc also appear to be involved in promoting hair health.

The best way to get your vitamins and minerals is through a balanced diet. Focus on consuming nutrient-rich foods such as fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean sources of protein.

If you’re like most of us and short on time, products like our Biotin Gummy Vitamins can make it easier to reach your recommended intake of hair-friendly vitamins without so much of a need to obsess over your diet.

However, it’s important not to go overboard with vitamin supplements. A study published in the journal Dermatology Practical & Conceptual linked overconsumption of certain vitamins with an increase in hair loss.

Stimulate Growth With a Scalp Massage

Although scalp massage might be better associated with relaxation than growing a thick head of hair, some research suggests the practice may help stimulate healthy hair growth. 

For example, severalstudies, one of which featured more than 300 participants, have found that scalp massage may promote improvements in hair thickness.

You can perform a scalp massage on yourself by using your fingertips to gently apply pressure to your scalp in small, circular motions, while slowly moving your hands across your head.

You can also find scalp massage devices online and from many retailers. Some scalp massage devices are designed for use in the shower, allowing you to save time by massaging your scalp while you wash your hair.

Consider Switching to a New Hairstyle

If you’re unhappy with how your hair looks, you may want to consider changing your hairstyle to something that complements your hairline more.

Before examining specific styles, let’s make a note of one key rule you should be aware of before you make any hairstyle changes: Whatever you do, don’t try to hide your receding hairline.

Instead of hiding your receding hairline, try to choose a style that complements your hairline as tastefully as possible and makes your hairline blend in naturally with your forehead and face. 

The best haircuts for receding hairlines tend to keep your hair fairly short to reduce the level of contrast between your hair and your forehead. 

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The Bottom Line on How to Fix a Receding Hairline

There’s no such thing as a bad hairline, meaning you shouldn’t panic or feel as if your youthful good looks are on the way out if you begin to notice some signs of recession. 

However, if you’ve recently noticed your hairline creeping backward and want to do something about it, it’s important to act quickly to stop your hair loss from getting worse.

The most effective way to stop your hairline from receding is through FDA-approved medications for hair loss such as finasteride and minoxidil. 

You can learn more about your options and get started with these medications by taking part in a hair loss consultation via our telehealth platform. 

You can also learn more about keeping your hair thick and healthy in our complete guide to the best treatments for thinning hair.

13 Sources

Hims & Hers has strict sourcing guidelines to ensure our content is accurate and current. We rely on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We strive to use primary sources and refrain from using tertiary references.

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  9. Hair Transplantation and Restoration. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.plasticsurgery.org/cosmetic-procedures/hair-transplantation-and-restoration/procedure
  10. Almohanna, H.M., Ahmed, A.A., Tsatalis, J.P. & Tosti, A. (2019). The Role of Vitamins and Minerals in Hair Loss: A Review. Dermatology and Therapy. 9 (1), 51-70. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6380979/
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This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. The information contained herein is not a substitute for and should never be relied upon for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment. Learn more about our editorial standards here.