Hair loss is an embarrassing and difficult situation for women to deal with, and this includes a receding hairline. While receding hairlines are commonly associated with males, they can also happen in women. In this article, we will explore more on what causes receding hairline in women and what you can do about it.
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What is a Receding Hairline?
Receding hairline refers to the thinning of hair, followed by the subsequent hair loss on the scalp, starting from the front and moving further from the face. This usually forms an M-shaped or V-shaped pattern that’s easily noticeable.
Receding hairlines occur due to miniaturization or thinning of hair follicles with eventual dormancy of the front hair follicles.
While a receding hairline is often due to age, additional factors may also play a role, such as hormonal changes, medication, and lifestyle choices.
What causes a receding hairline?
A receding hairline in women is often due to aging and hormonal changes. Generally, as women get older and get to menopause, their bodies tend to produce less estrogen. This results in a decrease in hair growth. Additionally, the natural aging process can cause hair follicles to shrink, resulting in a receding hairline.
2. Hormonal changes
In women, hormonal changes resulting from aging, pregnancy, menopause, and certain medical conditions can lead to a receding hairline.
Typically, whenever estrogen levels decrease after giving birth, hair growth tends to slow down and becomes thinner, resulting in a receding hairline.
Additionally, studies suggest that increased androgens (primarily testosterone) levels contribute to hair loss in women. This is because androgens cause the hair follicles to shrink, leading to thinner or receding hairline.
Moreover, certain medical conditions, such as Polycystic Ovary Syndrome or PCOS, can lead to a receding hairline. This is because PCOS stimulates the ovaries to produce excessive androgens. This leads to increased hair growth on the face and body while decreasing hair growth on the scalp.
3. Family history
Studies suggest that women can genetically inherit a receding hairline. Generally, if a woman’s mother, father, or other close relatives experienced a receding hairline, it could indicate that she is genetically predisposed to it.
Additionally, studies have shown that women with a family history of hair loss may be more likely to experience a receding hairline early than those without a family history of hair loss. This is because the genetic predisposition to hair loss may cause the hair follicles to be more sensitive to hormonal changes, such as those that occur during aging or pregnancy, which can trigger earlier hair loss.
4. Medications or treatments
Certain medications and treatments can cause hair loss, including receding hairlines in women.
These include chemotherapy drugs used to treat cancer, blood thinners, birth control pills, and medications used to treat autoimmune disorders such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis.
Additionally, research has shown that certain hairstyles or treatments, such as tight ponytails, can lead to traction alopecia, a type of hair loss caused by excessive pulling on the hair.
5. Lifestyle choices
Lifestyle choices such as poor nutrition, lack of exercise, and stress can lead to hair loss. Additionally, inadequate intake of essential vitamins and minerals, such as iron, zinc, and vitamin D, can cause hair loss.
A recent study published in The Harvard University Gazette suggested that high-stress levels can lead to a condition known as telogen effluvium. Usually, this condition causes hair to enter the resting phase of the hair growth cycle prematurely, leading to shedding.
Recent research also suggested that smoking and excessive alcohol consumption can contribute to hair loss. Usually, smoking affects blood flow to the scalp, making it difficult for hair to grow properly.
In fact, a study comparing balding in smokers and smokers found that more smokers had some form of hair loss compared to nonsmokers.
On the other hand, alcohol can cause stress, destabilize your hormones, and hinder nutrient absorption. All of this may result in hair loss with a receding hairline.
Additionally, too much alcohol intake can dehydrate your body, causing the hair follicles to become dry and brittle. This can increase the risk of your hair falling out and causing a receding hairline.
Still, on lifestyle, chemical hair treatments can also contribute to receding hair. Too much exposure to chemicals such as bleach, dyes, relaxers, and other treatments can penetrate your hair shafts, causing damage and hair loss.
How Can You Tell Your Hair is Receding?
While a receding hairline can be quite visible, some things can help you notice you’re headed in this direction. This can help you take the necessary steps to correct it or be emotionally prepared.
Here’s how to tell:
Take photos and compare your hairline’s status
Comparing your current pictures to those you took a while ago can help you determine changes in your hairline over time.
In order to get the most accurate results, compare photos you took under similar lighting conditions. Additionally, hair styling can affect how high or low your hairline appears. As such, compare pictures you took with similar hair styling for the best results.
Another tip is to maintain a short haircut, like a buzz cut, to ease the task of noticing the changes in your hairline that occur over time.
Hair starts to act differently
As an individual, you are the most familiar with your hair and how it behaves. Generally, you know how it parts, which direction to brush it in to make it look its best, and how it responds to different styling products.
However, over time, hair loss around your hairline can significantly alter how your hair behaves. You may also notice that your hair tends to fall in a different direction or provides less coverage when styled in a certain way. These changes in your hair’s behavior often indicate that it is thinning and receding.
Presence of thinning areas in your hair
Usually, hair loss can affect various parts of your scalp, including the hairline, temples, and the crown of the head. Overly, among the earliest signs of a receding hairline is thinning hair at the corners of your hairline. This can be easily noticed when your hair is styled or under bright lighting.
Additionally, when your hair is wet, it can be easier to spot thinning hair since it lays closer to the scalp. In order to check for this sign, examine thinning patterns on the corners of your hairline, crown, and other areas of your scalp. If you notice that a part looks thinner than usual, that could indicate a receding hairline at its early stages.
Shedding more hair than normal
In women, excessive hair shedding can signify a receding hairline. Usually, hair shedding can be caused by hormonal changes, such as those that occur during menopause, or by certain medical conditions, such as thyroid disorders.
Furthermore, when the hairline recedes, it may start to thin and change texture, becoming finer and more brittle. This can lead to more hair falling out, especially during washing, brushing, or styling.
Treatment Options for a Receding Hairline
Although there is no guaranteed remedy for a receding hairline, below are methods to control it and potentially slow its progression.
Generally, medications such as topical Minoxidil or Rogaine can be effective for individuals with immune disorders leading to hair loss.
Topical Minoxidil is an over-the-counter drug that can be used by massaging it on your scalp twice daily. Overly, this medicine works by improving blood flow to the hair follicles, thus promoting hair growth. However, Minoxidil’s effectiveness may vary from person to person. Sometimes, a prescribed version of Minoxidil (oral Minoxidil) could be necessary for the best results.
Physicians may also recommend a personalized prescription based on the severity of hair loss. A popular prescription involves combining oral Minoxidil, Spironolactone, and bimatoprost, which are more potent than the over-the-counter topical Minoxidil.
Generally, Spironolactone decreases the creation of androgen hormones, thus slowing down hair loss.
Additionally, research has reported that Spironolactone stimulates new hair growth, especially when combined with Minoxidil, which is believed to enhance blood flow to the hair follicles by dilating blood vessels.
Hair restoration surgery is a standard surgical procedure to curb a receding hairline. The surgery involves transplanting small sections of the scalp with healthy hair follicles from the back of the head to the balding areas.
This results in the transplanted hair growing normally in the new location while the original donor areas remain unchanged and continue to grow hair normally.
Hair restoration surgery is a permanent solution to hair loss and can produce a natural-looking result.
However, it is a complex and costly procedure that requires careful planning and skilled surgical execution to achieve the desired outcome.
Low-level light laser therapy is another practical method to curb a receding hairline.
Usually, the therapy involves using caps or helmets, such as the FDA-approved iRestore Laser Pro to focus the laser light on the affected areas.
The light stimulates cell growth while improving the development of hair follicles, thus leading to full hair cover in the long term.
Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy
PRP, also known as Platelet-Rich Plasma therapy, is a well-known treatment option for hair loss. Generally, the procedure involves obtaining growth factors-rich PRP by processing the patient’s blood to spur the regrowth of lost hair.
However, not all types of hair loss respond to this treatment. Hence consult a dermatologist to determine its suitability.
Incorporation of nutraceuticals
Incorporating supplements such as Viviscal and Nutrafol can be viable to tackle hair loss, especially in women. Generally, Nutrafol supplements contain a blend of stress-reducing, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and DHT-blocking components such as ashwagandha and saw palmetto.
Notably, studies have shown women who continued to use Nutrafol supplements, 85% of them experienced improved hair growth, 84% reported stronger hair, and 75% reported reduced shedding.
On the other hand, studies have shown that women who used Viviscal, made from AminoMar, a marine complex, 75% of them reported a reduction in hair loss.
That being said, these supplements may behave differently for different people. For some, it may result in nutrient toxicity and even worsen hair loss. To be safer, always consult an expert before settling for any supplement. This will allow you to make the right decision and avoid the side effects.
How to slow or prevent a receding hairline
Slowing or preventing receding hair is easier when you understand the primary cause. So first, understand what’s causing it. Is it the medications you’re taking? Talk to your doctor for an alternative. Is it your daily habits? Smoking, drinking alcohol, etc. Find a way to cut back.
Generally, here are a few things you can do to maintain your hairline
- Avoid smoking
- Keep your stress in check
- Avoid excessive hair manipulation. This can be anything from excessive shampooing to brushing or styling.
- Avoid processed foods. These lack the nutrients your hair needs to bloom. Moreover, they are highly inflammatory, which can result in additional issues that further hinder hair growth.
- Eat foods rich in antioxidants. This can help fight free radicals that may otherwise damage your hair follicles, making it difficult for hair to grow.
Best antioxidant-rich foods for receding hairline
- Berries like blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries
- Nuts like almonds, walnuts, and pistachios
- Leafy green vegetables like kale and spinach
- Legumes like pinto beans and kidney beans
Protein benefits for a receding hair
Protein is an important nutrient for building muscles and tissue repair. It can also help build the cells that make up your hair. So increasing your protein intake can go a long way in fighting weak and unhealthy hair that may eventually thin and recede.
Best protein-rich foods include:
- Legumes like lentils, beans, and peas
- Seeds like chia, hemp, flax, and pumpkin seeds
- Whole grains like quinoa
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The Bottom Line
A receding hairline is a type of loss that begins from your hairline moving backward, away from the face.
In women, a receding hairline can be caused by different factors, including age, hormonal changes, family history, and lifestyle.
Though controlling this type of hair loss can be difficult, cabbing it early is the best way, and the tips in this article can help you do that.
That being said, you may need professional help to determine the right treatment plan for unchangeable factors like age or positive family history.
For other factors like a poor diet or bad habits, eliminating them and incorporating an overall healthy lifestyle can help you grow back your hairline.
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