Dealing with a receding hairline is not fun, especially if you are still fairly young. Our society seems to place a lot of value on hair, and those who are starting to bald before they even hit 30 may have to deal with a bit of teasing. However, there are several different types of receding hairline treatment that can help slow or even stop this embarrassing problem.
Figuring out which of these treatments is best for you takes a little research, but it’s worth doing. Here are a few of the best receding hairline treatment options and some information on why hairlines recede.
Why Do I Have a Receding Hairline?
While we often blame our parents for things that aren’t necessarily their fault, we can lay the blame for receding hairlines squarely on them. In most cases, it’s a genetic issue caused by a hormone in men called dihydrotestosterone, or DHT. Our sensitivity to DHT appears mainly in follicles on the top, crown, and front of the scalp, creating what is often called male pattern baldness.
People often claim that baldness is inherited through the mother’s side of the family, but this isn’t true. Either parent can pass on the genes for hair loss; although some recent studies show that it’s possible the genes inherited from the maternal side of the family do play a slightly more important role in determining baldness.
How Does DHT Affect Hair?
DHT is created when the enzyme 5-alpha reductase interacts with testosterone. After it is formed, DHT begins to affect hair follicles by shortening the anagen, or growth, phase of the hair cycle. This makes the hair follicles smaller, which in turn creates shorter, finer hair. Eventually, the hair follicle ceases to produce hair altogether.
The Norwood Classification of Male Pattern Baldness
Published in 1975 by Dr. O’tar Norwood, the Norwood Classification of baldness (see image above) discusses two major male pattern baldness types, plus several less common ones. In the regular pattern, Norwood defines two areas of hair loss: the thinning crown and the bitemporal recession. These two areas slowly grow over time until the top, crown, and front of the head is completely hairless.
The main classification has seven different classes:
- Class I – adolescent hairline without any balding. The hairline is located near the upper brow crease.
- Class II – mature hairline about 1.5cm above the upper brow crease. Some temporal recession is noted, but no actual balding has occurred.
- Class III – first stage of hair loss. The temporal recession has grown.
- Class IV – further hair loss in the front and some at the vertex, but there is still hair separating the two areas.
- Class V – the balding continues to increase at both the vertex and front. The hair separating the two areas begins to disappear.
- Class VI – the hair separating the front and vertex has disappeared, creating a single large bald area. The hair on the sides, however, remains fairly dense.
- Class VII – extensive hair loss. Only a wreath of hair on the back and sides remains.
The Norwood Class A Classification
In the Class A classification, the hair loss increases from front to back only—there is no balding at the vertex. These patterns occur in less than ten percent of balding men; however, those with Class A balding often seem to have more hair loss because the loss is more dramatic in the front of the head. Even though the actual receding hairline may be minimal, it looks like it is. Many men who fall into Class A seek a good receding hairline treatment.
There are a few other types of genetic hair loss: diffuse patterned alopecia and the diffuse unpatterned alopecia classifications. In the first, the entire scalp slowly thins without going through the normal Norwood stages. In the second, the sides as well as the top and front of the scalp thin rather quickly.
Receding Hairline Treatment Options
There are a number of different treatments for receding hairlines. There are two different medications on the market for balding:Propecia (an oral medication) and Rogaine (a topical medication). There are several other medications that are commonly used for receding hairlines, although they are actually for other purposes: Avodart and Aldactone.
Some men elect to have Low-Level Laser Therapy to stimulate follicle growth or to have hair transplants. Some herbal receding hairline treatment options are also available.