Uneven Hairline: Why It Happens and Treatments

If you’ve ever looked closely at your hairline in a photograph or the mirror, you may have noticed that one side is slightly higher, thinner or just different than the other.

This is called an uneven — or asymmetrical — hairline, and it’s a common issue that can affect both men and women. 

If you have an uneven hairline, it doesn’t always mean that you’re losing your hair. Almost every face has a mild degree of asymmetry, meaning things like one slightly higher eyebrow or a small difference in the two sides of your hairline usually aren’t worth worrying about.

However, in some cases an uneven hairline could be a signal of the early stages of male pattern baldness. 

Below, we’ve explained what an uneven hairline is, as well as how and why you might develop a hairline that’s slightly uneven. We’ve also listed the treatments that you can use if you’re starting to lose your hair, whether on one or both sides of your hairline. 

What Is an Uneven Hairline?

An uneven hairline is a hairline that’s noticeably different on one side than it is on the other. For example, a person may have a hairline that’s more heavily receded on the left side than on the right, or simply have thicker-looking hair on one side of their hairline than the other.

Uneven hairlines are common. In fact, facial and bodily asymmetry in general is a common occurrence. Research generally shows that minor asymmetries can develop as the body grows, including in the face.

Some research has even shown that people generally prefer the look of the left side of the face.

Uneven hairlines can be very mild, with only a small difference between the left and right sides of your hairline. If you only have a very mildly uneven hairline, you might be the only person to see the difference. 

In other cases, uneven hairlines are perceived rather than real. For example, if your hair falls in one direction naturally, it might make one side of your hairline look taller and more receded than the other, even if the two sides are close to symmetrical.

For some people, an uneven hairline is both real and noticeable. It may appear as a difference in the height of the hairline, or as thinning caused by male pattern baldness or another type of hair loss that only affects one temple and not the other.

What Causes an Uneven Hairline?

Several factors may contribute to an uneven hairline, from genetics to male pattern baldness or hair loss caused by damage to the hair follicles. We’ve listed these potential causes below, with information on how each may cause an uneven hairline.

Genetics

No face is perfectly symmetrical — a fact that extends all the way to your hairline. Just like you inherit your eye color and other traits from your parents, certain aspects of your hairline shape appear to be inherited traits.

For example, a widow’s peak — a common hair feature — is believed to be passed on from one parent to their child via one or several dominant alleles, or variant forms of genes.

If other people in your family have an uneven hairline, it’s possible that this could be a genetic trait that you’ve inherited from your parents. In this case, it’s your natural hairline developing in an asymmetrical pattern.

Traction Alopecia

Traction alopecia is a type of hair loss that’s caused by tension on the roots of the hair. It tends to be caused by tight braids, dreadlocks and other hairstyles that pull on the hair roots, causing them to enter the catagen (regression) and telogen (resting) phases of the growth cycle early.

Although traction alopecia is much more common in women than in men, it may contribute to an uneven hairline in certain circumstances. Simple things like excessive brushing or pulling on the hair can cause certain parts of the scalp to thin, creating an asymmetrical look.

Traction alopecia isn’t a type of male pattern baldness, meaning any hair that falls out is likely to  grow back eventually. However, it can be a serious annoyance, especially if it develops in an obvious, highly visible location such as around your hairline.

Male Pattern Baldness

Male pattern baldness is a genetic and hormonal condition that causes you to permanently lose hair. Although many people associate male pattern baldness with thinning around the crown of the scalp, it can and often does begin at the hairline. 

Hair loss caused by male pattern baldness can often start at the temples — a common area for the signs of an uneven hairline to become apparent. Research shows that many men affected by male pattern baldness lose hair around the hairline in an asymmetrical pattern.

Male pattern baldness is very common, affecting around 16 percent of men aged 18 to 29 years old, and 53 percent of men in their forties. It’s also generally treatable — a topic we’ve discussed in more detail further down the page.

Although male pattern baldness can cause an uneven hairline, not all uneven hairlines are due to male pattern baldness. Common signs that you’re beginning to lose your hair, including from near your hairline, include: 

  • A visible change in your hairline over time. If your hairline is noticeably receding on one side over time, there’s a good chance that it’s due to male pattern baldness.

    Since you look at yourself in the mirror every day, it’s easy to miss small, gradual changes to your hairline. Try taking a photo every month, then comparing your hairline over time.

  • Finding extra hairs in the shower or on your hairbrush. While it’s normal for some of your hairs to fall out throughout the day (up to 100 per day is typical), losing a significant amount of hair each day is a common sign of male pattern baldness.

Our guide to the early signs of balding goes into more detail about these symptoms, as well as what you can do to reverse them. 

Treatments 

Because an uneven hairline can have several potential causes, there’s no single treatment that works best for everyone. 

If your uneven hairline is caused by traction alopecia, treating it might be as simple as changing your hairstyle, avoiding certain styling products or making other changes to the way you care for your hair.

If the areas of your hairline affected are irritated or painful, your healthcare provider might give you topical medication to apply to the area.

If your uneven hairline is caused by male pattern baldness, several different treatment options are available. These include medications such as minoxidil and finasteride, as well as surgical treatments such as hair transplantation. 

Medications

Several medications are currently approved by the FDA to treat and reverse hair loss caused by male pattern baldness. These include:

Hair Transplant Surgery

A hair transplant is a surgical procedure that involves extracting hair follicles from the sides and back of the scalp (areas unaffected by male pattern baldness), then transplanting them to areas with a significant amount of hair loss.

If you have an uneven hairline, a hair transplant can help to fill in the specific areas affected by hair loss. For example, you can even out temples that are uneven or add hair to whichever side of your hairline shows the most significant thinning.

If you don’t have male pattern baldness, a hair transplant can also even out an uneven hairline caused by your genetics. 

Hair transplant surgery isn’t cheap, and as the procedure is cosmetic, it generally isn’t covered by insurance. However, it’s an option that’s worth considering if you have a significantly uneven hairline and want to take action to fix it.

You can learn more about the hair transplant process, as well as the numerous techniques that are currently used for harvesting donor hair follicles, possible complications and more in our full guide to hair transplants

In Conclusion

There are several potential causes of an uneven hairline. Sometimes, it’s a simple quirk of your genetics that you’ve inherited from one parent or the other. In other cases, it may be caused by damage to your hair or an early symptom of male pattern baldness.

If you’ve noticed your hairline receding on one side, it’s best to talk to a healthcare professional about your treatment options. Medications such as minoxidil and finasteride can slow down and even reverse hair loss, potentially bringing your hairline back to normal.

If your hairline is naturally uneven and you’d like to even it out, you may want to consider talking to a surgeon that specializes in hair transplant surgery.

Learn More About Treating Hair Loss

Hair loss is an extremely common problem for men, with male pattern baldness and other forms of hair loss affecting tens of millions of American men every year. Luckily, a range of options are available to help you bring hair loss to an end and maintain your natural hairline. 

Our guide to what you can do if you’re experiencing hair loss covers all of the treatment options that are currently available, as well as the steps that you can take if you’ve noticed your hairline changing or receding over time. 

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.