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Can You Reverse a Receding Hairline?

By WebMD Connect to Care Staff
Medically Reviewed by Jennifer T. Haley, MD, FAAD on November 18, 2020
Find out some receding hairline causes and learn how to reverse a receding hairline.

If you have a receding hairline, it’s normal to wonder why it’s happening and what you can do to reverse it. Here are some causes of a receding hairline, and treatments that could help your hairline make a comeback. 

What Causes A Receding Hairline?

Your genes play a big role in whether you get androgenic alopecia, also called male- or female-pattern baldness. Genetics, by far, are the main cause of hair loss in both men and women,” Jennifer Krejci, MD, a board-certified dermatologist and medical director of the Limmer Hair Transplant Center in San Antonio, TX, tells WebMD Connect to Care.

Certain hairstyles can also take a toll on your hairline. These include: 

  • Tight braids 
  • Ponytails
  • Cornrows
  • Dreadlocks
  • Extensions

Another cause of hairline recession is “a rare but growing epidemic called frontal fibrosing alopecia,” Krejci says. “It affects women more than men and is a scarring form of hair loss, which means that once the hair has been attacked, it will not come back with any medication. We don't know the exact cause, but sunscreens or benzophenones found in various skin/hair care products are suspected to play a role.”

Is a Receding Hairline Reversible?

Yes. In many cases, receding hairline is indeed reversible. The right treatment for you depends on the cause. 

“For androgenic alopecia, minoxidil (Rogaine) is the only FDA-approved medical treatment for both men and women,” Krejci says. It’s a liquid or foam that you put on your scalp. Krejci says it can “help slow down or reverse hair loss in 75% of patients.” 

Another option for some is a medication you take by mouth called finasteride (Propecia). Krejci says it’s FDA-approved for men, but some dermatologists use it off-label for post-menopausal women. 

Consistency is key if you use either of these medications, says Waqas Ahmad, MD, a family physician. You have to use them exactly as directed for 6 to 9 months to see results. And if you stop taking the medication, you’ll eventually lose the new hair you’ve grown. Ahmad also says that in general, the sooner you start treatment after you first notice hair loss, the better the results you’re likely to get.

Other treatments that can be helpful for pattern baldness that affects your hairline are, according to Krejci: 

  • Spironolactone, a drug you take by mouth
  • Low-level laser devices, which treat your scalp
  • Platelet-rich plasma (PRP), a shot your doctor gives you
  • Hair transplants

If you think a tight hairstyle may be taking a toll on your hairline, just wear your hair more loosely, or change the style within a couple of months. It’s okay to wear your hair pulled tightly once in a while—just try not to do it every day.

And if you’re diagnosed with frontal fibrosing alopecia, talk to a dermatologist about your treatment options. They may recommend a medication that fights the inflammation linked to the condition, among other therapies, according to the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences.

Get Help Now

Don’t wait. The sooner you address the symptoms of hair loss, the more likely you are to prevent irreversible damage. Speak to a medical professional today to begin your journey to a fuller head of hair.