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Ageing is a natural part of life, bringing many physical changes that show our maturity. As you age, you may notice a few extra hairs on your pillow in the morning, which isn’t automatically a cause for panic as we all naturally develop a thinner hairline as we age.

However, while some hair loss is one of the signs of getting older, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you are developing a ‘mature hairline’. There are a variety of other reasons why you may be losing hair, including the possibility of creating a receding hairline. But how can you know whether your hair is receding or you are simply going through the motions and outgrowing your current hairline?

At KSL Clinic, we’re here to highlight the difference between a receding and mature hairline and help you identify your own!

What is a mature hairline?

As we age, our bodies go through a range of physical changes, and one of these changes is our hairlines. Over time, your hairline will change shape, thickness, and even colour as it matures. A ‘mature hairline’ simply refers to a hairline that has reached maturity, which usually occurs at around age 30.[1]

During this time, you may notice that your hairline has become slightly thinner, and that the distance between your eyebrows and hairline has increased. This is a natural process that affects almost all men and women as we get older, with partial hair loss being caused by hair follicles gradually becoming smaller over time.

In many cases, your hairline will begin to take the shape of either a soft “M” or “V” (known as a ‘widow’s peak’). Once your hairline is mature, it will not undergo any drastic changes in shape.

minoxidil after hair transplantWhat is a receding hairline?

A ‘receding hairline’ is a common symptom of pattern baldness, a hereditary condition that causes premature hair loss in pattern-like patches across the scalp. But what does a receding hairline look like? A hairline is considered receding if there is progressive hair loss, often starting at the temples and forehead, which eventually causes the signature “M” or “U” shaped hairline.

Unlike a mature hairline, a receding hairline is caused by continuous hair thinning that can occur at any point, regardless of age. This hair loss can be caused by a range of factors, including the presence of DHT (dihydrotestosterone) — a hormone that is a byproduct of testosterone and bonds to hair follicles, causing them to shrink and leading to hairs falling out.[2]

A receding hairline can be pretty distressing to discover and, over time, may lead to a loss of confidence as Dr Matee suggests:

KSL hair transplantHair loss is not only a physical issue for my clients, but also very much a mental health issue too.

A person’s hair is one of the first things you see, so losing your hair for whatever the reason might be, can actually be very distressing.

So many of my patients tell me just how much a procedure has improved their mental health and how they feel about themselves.

 

Thankfully, a wide variety of modern treatments are available to help encourage new hair growth — including surgical routes, such as an FUE (follicular unit extraction) hair transplant, and non-surgical options, like Low-Level Laser Therapy (LLLT).

Key differences between a mature and receding hairline

Although a mature and receding hairline may initially cause alarm, they are two very different things — with only a receding hairline being a cause for concern. Some of the key differences between the two are as follows:

Feature Receding Hairline Mature Hairline
Definition Progressive hair loss as a result of male or female pattern baldness. A natural change in the hairline.
Cause Genetics, hormones (such as DHT), or external factors — including stress and a poor diet. Part of the body’s ageing process.
Typical Appearance Thinning hair around the temples and forehead, forming a harsh “M” or “U” shape. A gradual upward shift in the hairline, with an increased distance between the hairline and eyebrows.
Link to Hair Loss Directly linked to pattern baldness. Not linked with hair loss or pattern baldness.
Treatment A wide variety of treatment options are available, including medications (Minoxidil, Finasteride), red light laser therapy, FUE hair transplant, and use of caffeinated shampoos. No treatment is required as this is a natural part of ageing.

How to tell if your hairline is mature or receding

Although a receding hairline and a mature hairline are fundamentally different, the early stages of the former can look similar to a hairline that has reached maturity, making it more challenging to identify whether your hair loss is a cause for concern.

However, there are three main areas to help you identify whether your hairline is changing with age or whether you could benefit from speaking with a hair loss specialist. These are:

1. Age

The first factor to consider when determining whether your hair is receding is age. While a receding and mature hairline can start at a young age, you are much more likely to notice the effects of a receding hairline in your late teens and mid-twenties. In contrast, your hairline isn’t expected to change significantly due to maturity until you’re in your thirties, so if you’re slightly older and notice any changes, it could be a sign of ageing.

2. Appearance

A receding hairline is typically quite dramatic in appearance. Any changes over 2cm from its original position should be considered a receding hairline. Whereas a mature hairline moves very gradually as you age and mature, meaning you likely won’t immediately notice any significant changes.

3. Family history

Finally, it’s essential to consider whether your family has any history of pattern baldness (androgenic alopecia). Sadly, this type of hair loss is hereditary, meaning that you are far more likely to be experiencing a receding hairline if others in your family also began to lose their hair prematurely.

Understanding the Norwood Scale for hair loss

One of the most common ways to diagnose pattern balding in men is to use a measurement system called the Norwood Scale. This system analyses the extent of your hair loss and examines factors contributing to your condition.

Within the Norwood Scale, there are seven critical stages of hair loss:

  • Stage One — Hair loss is insignificant, and the hairline has not receded.
  • Stage Two — Slight hair loss around the temples, referred to as a ‘mature hairline’ and not currently a cause for concern.
  • Stage Three — Hair loss at this stage is significant, and balding becomes obvious. Your hairline starts to recede severely around your temples, causing the hairline to become a letter “M”, “U”, or “V”. Hair may be either thin or bald in these areas, and you may also start to notice hair loss across the crown of your head.
  • Stage Four — There is little to no hair across the top and middle sections of your head (the vertex), and the hair loss around your temples and crown has increased. There is still a tiny, thin band of hair separating the two areas, and hair is a standard thickness on the sides of the head.
  • Stage Five — The band of hair that separates the temples and the crown of your head is much smaller, and the hair has thinned significantly.
  • Stage Six — A band of hair no longer separates the areas. All hair on top of the head is either extremely thin or gone entirely.
  • Stage Seven — At this stage, the only remaining hair on your head is a thin band around your head’s sides and back.

Understanding the Norwood Scale for hair loss

Can your hairline change?

While we tend to be aware of the changes that occur with age, alterations to our hairline are often overlooked — which can cause quite a shock when we suddenly notice that our hairline has moved further backwards. As we age, our hairlines can change in shape and position, moving slightly further away from the eyebrows.

This largely depends on your genes, and the amount a hairline can change varies from person to person. Sometimes, you may not notice any changes in your hairline as you age.

What should I do if my hairline is maturing?

If — after reading through the information so far — you have concluded that your hairline is maturing, you may now wonder, ‘What can I do about it?’. The good news is that, for most people, there is no need to do anything to your hairline if it’s maturing. Many men feel that a mature hairline makes them look distinguished and may even report experiencing a boost in their confidence.

However, if your new hairline has caused you to lose some of your confidence, there are ways to delay your hair loss, including medication, laser regrowth therapy, and other treatments. It’s also essential to take care of your hair’s health as it ages, which can be done quickly with the following:

Staying active

Exercise is vital to maintaining health as we age, not only in our bodies but also our minds. Keeping active can have many benefits, including helping your hair remain healthy and lustrous. Exercising is also an excellent way to reduce stress levels, another important factor in encouraging hair health.

Eating well

A nutritious diet is also vital for healthy hair as we age, including lots of fruits and vegetables alongside lean proteins to assist in keeping your hair keratin-rich. It’s also crucial to stay hydrated, drink plenty of water, and limit alcohol intake.

Keeping your hair clean

Our hair comes into contact with a range of pollutants on a daily basis, which can harm both the health and shine of your hair. Practising good hygiene and keeping your hair clean will help to prevent pollution and dirt from impacting your hair follicles.

Managing your stress levels

High levels of stress are harmful to our health in a range of ways, but you might be surprised to know that there is a direct correlation between stress levels and hair loss. A 2021 clinical trial involving mice found that the adrenal gland — responsible for producing cortisol, also known as the ‘stress hormone’ — is responsible for delayed or stalled hair growth.[3] Finding ways to keep your stress levels at a minimum is a great way to ensure that your hair remains in optimal health.

What do I do if my hairline recedes?

If — after reading this article so far — you’ve determined that your hairline is receding, there’s no need to panic. There are a range of hairstyles you can try that can mask the appearance of a receding hairline, but if you’re finding it challenging to stay confident with your hair loss, there are also a variety of treatment options that are available to help.

One of the easiest ways to determine the most effective course of action is to visit a hair loss specialist for a consultation. During this appointment, your hair will be assessed, and an expert will conclude on the best treatment method to deliver natural-looking results.

If you have only just started to lose your hair, medical treatments can slow down the hair loss and help your scalp recover. Minoxidil and Finasteride are two commonly prescribed medications to help improve a receding hairline’s appearance.

A popular surgical option for treating a receding hairline that has already advanced quite far is a hair transplant, which takes healthy hair follicles from a donor area and transplants them into the area that requires more growth. These procedures have rapidly gained popularity in recent years, with over 700,000 hair transplants being performed globally in 2021.[4]

patient-2-hair-transplant-before-and-after

Related reading: Can a hair transplant fix my receding hairline? 

Restore your hairline with KSL Clinic

At KSL Clinic, we recognise that your hair is integral to your identity and that a receding hairline can sometimes feel like the end of the world. Thankfully, hair restoration treatments have come a long way, and there are a range of ways in which we can help you restore not only your hairline but also your confidence.

Our treatments are carried out by surgeons fully licensed by the General Medical Council, whether you’re seeking a FUE hair transplant or a non-surgical approach. Our state-of-the-art hair loss clinics in Manchester and Kent have been registered with the Care Quality Commission, and we’re proud to be providers of great-quality hair transplants for clients nationwide.

So, if you’re ready to start your hair restoration journey, contact us today to schedule your free consultation with one of our specialists.

Sources

  1. Receding Hairline Vs. Maturing Hairline – Time for Caution?
  2. DHT (Dihydrotestosterone)
  3. How stress causes hair loss
  4. International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery: 2022 Practice Census Results
Michelle

Social Media Marketing Manager here at KSL Clinic.