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How to Stop a Receding Hairline

Have you noticed your hairline beginning to recede? Most men notice the first signs of hair loss at some point in their 20's, 30's or 40's, with two thirds of all American men showing visible signs of hair loss by age 35.

It’s easy to panic when you see your hairline creeping backward every year. Luckily, there are ways you can stop your hairline from receding further, ranging from oral medicine to serums and shampoos designed to keep your hair healthy, thick and full.

There are also visual ways to stop your receding hairline, ranging from hairstyles that make your hair loss less obvious to products you can apply to thicken your hair and create the illusion of a perfect hairline.

Obviously, these solutions are less effective over the long term than the first, but when used right, they can still be of value.

Below, you’ll find our top recommendations for preventing hair loss and stopping your receding hairline before it gets worse. We’ve listed our treatments in order of effectiveness, with the most effective medical treatments first and temporary options further down the page.

Lower Your DHT Levels

Male pattern baldness is caused by a combination of hormones and genetics. The main culprit is DHT, or dihydrotestosterone -- an androgenic hormone created as a byproduct of the primary male sex hormone testosterone.

DHT binds to receptors in the scalp, causing hair follicles to shrink and eventually stop growing at all. Not everyone is equally sensitive to DHT -- most of the time, people that are sensitive to DHT lose their hair the fastest and go bald at a relatively early age.

If you’ve noticed your hairline beginning to recede, the easiest and most effective way to stop it receding further is to block DHT at its source and at the scalp using a combination of medicines designed specifically to fight back against DHT.

Finasteride

The first of these medicines is finasteride, which is an FDA approved hair loss treatment that prevents testosterone from converting into DHT in the first place.

Finasteride 1mg is available as a daily pill, which prevents the 5α-reductase enzyme from converting testosterone into DHT. This blocks further hair loss in about 86% of men, and can even cause a small amount of regrowth.

Minoxidil

The second is minoxidil, which is an FDA approved topical spray or foam designed to provide more oxygen and nutrients to your hair follicles.

While finasteride blocks DHT to combat hair loss, minoxidil is designed to create an optimal growth environment for your hair. Think of finasteride as a shield against further hair loss, and minoxidil as a fertilizer to speed up and encourage the growth of the hair you already have.

Topical DHT Blockers and Shampoos

The third is a topical DHT treatment, which can be a shampoo or spray. These are less proven than finasteride and minoxidil but may work by preventing any remaining DHT from binding to receptors in the scalp and causing hair loss.

Topical DHT blockers are likely to only have fairly mild effects. Think of this part of the protocol as a small extra boost designed to block as much DHT as possible, not as the main ingredient. If you use a DHT blocking shampoo daily, you're covered.

Learn More About Blocking DHT

You can learn more about DHT and its effects on hair loss in our Guide to DHT and Male Hair Loss. If you’d like to start treating your DHT-related hair loss, you can also talk to our expert hair loss doctors through an online consultation.

If you’re interested in stopping your receding hairline long term, blocking DHT always needs to be part of your strategy. Without stopping DHT, every other tactic to stop your receding hairline is only going to be temporary.

Change Your Lifestyle

In some cases, hair loss can be caused by stress. If you’ve been working long hours or dealing with stress in your personal life, there’s a chance it could be the cause of your receding hairline.

It’s important to point out that it’s very rare to develop a receding hairline from stress. Most of the time, stress-related hair loss is either diffuse thinning (thinning across your entire head) or clumps of hair that fall out at once due to high levels of stress hormones.

If you’re stressed, the best solution is to see a doctor. You can also reduce stress by changing your lifestyle to eliminate things like demanding or overly taxing work, personal problems and other sources of stress and frustration.

Use Hair Growth Vitamins

While vitamins and minerals won’t stop male pattern baldness, they play an important role in helping you grow thick, healthy hair.

For optimal hair health, it’s best to eat a diet that’s rich in vitamin A, C, D and E. Most hair loss experts also recommend consuming the recommended intake of biotin, which is important for promoting faster and healthier hair growth.

The best way to get most of these vitamins is through your diet. If you’re deficient in any of the vitamins listed above, adding a specific or multi-vitamin supplement can be a good idea.

As a general rule, vitamins aren’t going to have much of an effect on your hair growth unless you have an existing deficiency. Our Essential Vitamins for a Healthy Head of Hair guide explains more about the vitamins you should consume for optimal hair growth.

Change Your Hairstyle

Although it won’t stop your receding hairline from getting worse, changing your hairstyle is an easy way to draw attention away from your hairline.

Before we get into specific styles, let’s cover the one key rule you need to know before making any changes to your hairstyle:

Don’t try to hide your receding hairline! Instead, own the fact that it’s receding.

Combovers, long fringes and other hairstyles that are designed to cover up bald patches often end up doing the exact opposite by drawing more attention to your thinning spots. Plus, no one looks good with an obvious combover.

Instead of trying to hide your hairline, the best haircuts for receding hairlines tend to keep your hair short to reduce the level of contrast between your hair and your forehead:

  • If you normally keep your hair short, switching to a buzz cut is an easy way to your hairline less obvious, without looking like you’re trying to hide it.
  • If you have a widow’s peak hairline with hair loss around the temples, you can make it less obvious with a French crop hairstyle.
  • If you have quite a lot of hair loss around your temples, you can lower the visual impact by keeping the hair on the sides of your head cut short with a longer cut on the top.
  • Another way to deal with hair loss around the temples is to style your hair in a faux hawk, which draws people’s attention to the center of your hairline.
  • For a more dressy look, you can style your hair into a regulation cut, which uses a side part to draw attention away from your hairline and onto the top of your head.

Talk to a Hair Loss Doctor

Do you want to take real action to stop your receding hairline? If you’re worried about hair loss and want to protect your hair and bring an end to further recession, the best solution is to speak with one of our expert hair loss doctors.

We believe in a scientific approach to hair loss, which is why we can help you bring a conclusive end to your receding hairline using proven, effective treatments.

Not sure if you’re ready to speak to a doctor about hair loss? If you’re not quite sure if it’s time to take action yet, our Do You Need a Hair Loss Doctor guide covers the key things you should look for before talking to an expert about your hair loss.

This article was reviewed by Brendan Levy, MD.