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How to Stop a Receding Hairline: 11 Expert-Backed Tips

Knox Beasley, MD

Reviewed by Knox Beasley, MD

Written by Steph Coelho

Published 09/17/2017

Updated 04/26/2024

Have you noticed your hairline beginning to recede? It’s one of the first signs of hair loss, which affects many men at some point in their lives.

If you’re here, you’re probably wondering how to stop a receding hairline from progressing. 

Luckily, there are a few ways to prevent further hair loss and even regrow hair around your hairline.

Read on to find out why your hairline is receding and how to fix a receding hairline.

A receding hairline is exactly what it sounds like — a hairline that’s gradually (or, for some guys, rapidly) moving further up your head due to androgenetic alopecia, also called androgenic alopecia or male pattern baldness

It’s common to see your hairline receding when you’re in the earliest stages of male pattern baldness. You may spot your hair thinning slightly near the temples or notice your hairline starting to resemble a V, M or U shape when viewed from above. 

Receding hairlines can develop at any point in your life, but most guys first notice some hair recession in their 20s, 30s or 40s. 

There are a few types of hair loss, all of which have different causes. However, with a receding hairline, the culprit is almost always male pattern baldness, caused by a hormone called dihydrotestosterone, or DHT.

What is DHT?

DHT is an androgen hormone, or male sex hormone. Your body naturally produces DHT as a byproduct of testosterone. An enzyme called 5-alpha reductase converts a small percentage of testosterone into DHT on an ongoing basis.

During childhood and adolescence, DHT plays a key role in the development of your male secondary sex characteristics, like a deep, masculine voice and your facial and body hair.

As you get older, DHT becomes less critical to your development, but your body still produces it in small amounts. 

DHT and a Thinning Hairline

In some men, DHT can bind to receptors in the scalp and cause hair follicles to miniaturize, or shrink. Over time, this process stops the hair follicles from producing new hairs, resulting in increased hair fall and gradual hair loss.

The hair follicles at your hairline — especially near your temples — are often the first affected by DHT-related miniaturization. 

DHT sensitivity can vary between men. If you’re sensitive to DHT, you might be more likely to notice that your hairline looks thinner or more of the skin around your temples is showing. 

Not everyone with a receding hairline will go completely bald. But a receding hairline is a common early sign of hair loss, so it’s also a sign to protect your hair before it thins further. 

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Most of the time, you can identify a receding hairline yourself by looking at your frontal hairline in the mirror. If the corners of your hairline have moved up on your scalp, or if your hairline is starting to develop a V or M-like shape, there’s a good chance it’s receding. 

Most healthcare professionals, including dermatologists, diagnose male pattern baldness the same way you would — by looking at your scalp.

Sometimes, a receding hairline might develop at the same time as other male pattern baldness symptoms, such as:

  • A bald patch around your crown

  • Diffuse thinning on the top of your scalp

  • An increased amount of daily hair shedding

Seeing your hairline start to creep up your scalp can be a stressful experience. Luckily, plenty of proven treatments are available to help stop your hairline from receding further.

Sometimes, these treatments can even stimulate new hair growth and help fill in sparse areas on your scalp.

Before getting into specific treatment options for receding hairline, it’s important to make one thing clear: The sooner you start treating your receding hairline, the more hair you’ll keep in the long run.

Use Finasteride to Lower Your DHT Levels

Research shows that the best way to stop male pattern baldness from getting worse is to block DHT using medication. 

Right now, the most effective medication for reducing DHT levels is finasteride (also sold under the brand name Propecia®). This prescription drug blocks 5-alpha reductase, reducing your DHT levels and limiting the damage DHT can cause to your hair follicles.

Research shows that finasteride prevents DHT-related hair loss from getting worse and can stimulate new hair growth

For example, a study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology found that finasteride helps to increase hair count in balding men. 

Currently, finasteride is available as an oral and topical medication — but the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has only approved the oral version as a treatment for hair loss. While the topical version isn’t yet FDA-approved, studies have shown it’s effective in treating hair loss and has few side effects. 

We offer finasteride online, following a consultation with a licensed healthcare provider who will determine if a prescription is right for you. 

Apply Minoxidil to Stimulate Hair Growth

Minoxidil is an over-the-counter (OTC) hair loss medication. Experts believe it can stimulate the hair growth cycle by moving your hair follicles into active growth and promoting blood flow to your scalp.

Currently, topical minoxidil (also known as Rogaine®) is FDA-approved as a liquid and foam. In some cases, healthcare professionals also prescribe the oral form off-label as a treatment for hair loss.

Minoxidil works well on its own due to its effects on blood flow, but it’s especially effective at protecting your hairline when used with finasteride.

In one small study published in the journal Dermatologic Therapy, 94.1 percent of men with hair loss showed improvements after using minoxidil with finasteride.

It’s important to remember that minoxidil, like finasteride, has a catch: If you don’t use it, you lose it — lose your hair, that is.

You'll need to regularly use minoxidil (and finasteride) to maintain hair health and prevent your hairline from receding further.

We offer minoxidil solution and minoxidil foam online, allowing you to add this medication to your hair loss prevention toolkit easily. 

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Before/after images shared by customers who have purchased varying products, including prescription based products. Prescription products require an online consultation with a healthcare provider who will determine if a prescription is appropriate. These customers’ results have not been independently verified. Individual results will vary. Customers were given free product.

Wash With a Hair Loss Prevention Shampoo

Can your shampoo save your hairline all on its own? Probably not. But using the right hair products may help.

Many hair loss shampoos contain active ingredients like ketoconazole and saw palmetto, which may help stop DHT’s negative effects on your scalp.

Shampoo won’t have as much of an impact on a balding hairline or diffuse hair loss as medications do, but it can still be a valuable part of your hair treatment and prevention toolkit. 

Don’t Forget Conditioner

Lack of moisture can make thinning hair look even thinner, so it’s important not to skip this vital hair care step. 

A good conditioner should hydrate without weighing down your strands, which can help hair appear thicker and fuller.

Eat a Diet That Promotes Healthy Hair Growth

There’s no miracle diet for preventing male pattern baldness, but eating a healthy diet rich in essential vitamins, minerals and nutrients may promote consistent hair growth and stop hair-related issues like hair breakage and shedding.

There’s a link between many nutritional deficiencies and excess hair shedding, including iron, zinc and protein deficiencies. A blood test can help identify whether you’re deficient in a specific nutrient.

The good news? You don’t need to follow a strict diet to maintain a healthy head of hair. In fact, many foods rich in hair-friendly nutrients are probably already part of your diet.

But if you’re looking to step up your hair care diet even more, our guide to what to eat for hair growth lists more than 15 foods that will help ensure your hair follicles get the nutrients they need for healthy growth.

Massage Your Scalp

Finasteride and minoxidil do most of the heavy lifting when it comes to stopping and reversing a receding hairline.

But adding other techniques like scalp massage to your research-backed medications can help keep your hair follicles in tip-top shape. 

It sounds strange, but it’s true! 

Massaging your scalp might help stimulate blood flow and improve hair growth. In a 2019 study, researchers found that participants who practiced scalp massage daily saw improvements in hair growth.

Change Up Your Hairstyle

Are you partial to a man bun, ponytail, cornrows or any other style that pulls on your hair? If so, it could be contributing to a receding hairline.

This type of hair loss is called traction alopecia, and luckily, it has a simple solution: Switch to styles that don’t put stress on your hair. But if you do want to pull your hair back, make sure your style isn’t too tight, especially on your hairline.

Get Stress Levels Under Control

Stress is a common cause of telogen effluvium — a form of temporary hair thinning that can affect your entire scalp, including your hairline. 

You can try to reduce stress by avoiding common triggers and using relaxation techniques whenever you feel anxious.

Quit Smoking

Some research suggests that smoking may contribute to hair loss by constricting the blood vessels that supply your scalp and harming your hair follicles.

If you smoke, quitting might benefit your hairline, in addition to all the other health benefits you’ll get.

Try a Biotin Supplement 

Biotin deficiency is a rare health issue that can cause excess hair shedding.

While most of us get an adequate amount of this nutrient, adding a biotin supplement to your daily routine could reduce your risk of becoming deficient and promote healthy hair. 

Related Articles

For Severe Hair Loss, Consider a Hair Transplant

Hair transplantation is a surgical hair loss treatment that involves extracting hair follicles from the sides and back of your head and transplanting them to areas with bald spots and thin hair.

When done by a skilled surgeon, a hair transplant can make your hairline look identical to a natural hairline unaffected by male pattern hair loss.

Although hair transplant surgery is effective, its cost can be a major downside. If you have an obvious receding hairline and noticeable hair loss, this hair restoration procedure can cost several thousand dollars at a minimum. 

You can learn more about this type of procedure, its advantages and disadvantages, different techniques and more in our guide to hair transplants.

And if you’re wondering about other medical treatments for hair loss, like platelet-rich plasma (PRP), you can check out our guide to PRP for hair loss.

Hair loss treatments, delivered

There’s no such thing as a bad hairline.

But if you’ve recently noticed your hairline creeping backward and want to do something about it, it’s important to act quickly to prevent your hair loss from getting worse.

You can do this by:

  • Using FDA-approved hair loss medications like finasteride and minoxidil to address the root causes of hair loss and stimulate new growth.

  • Adding a hair loss prevention shampoo and conditioner to your daily hair care and hair regrowth routine.

  • If all else fails or if your hair loss is already severe, consider undergoing hair transplant surgery to fill in your hairline, top of the head and other areas with visible thinning. 

If you’re starting to experience hair loss, you can learn more about your options by participating in a hair loss consultation via our telehealth platform. 

You can also learn more about maintaining hair thickness in our complete guide to the best treatments for thinning hair.

11 Sources

  1. Kinter, K.J. & Anekar, A.A. (2022, March 9). Biochemistry, Dihydrotestosterone. StatPearls. Retrieved from
  2. Ho, C.H., Sood, T. & Zito, P.M. (2022, October 16). Androgenetic Alopecia. StatPearls. Retrieved from
  3. Male pattern baldness. (2021, April 14). Retrieved from
  4. Zito, P.M., Bistas, K.G. & Syed, K. (2022, August 25). Finasteride. StatPearls. Retrieved from
  5. Badri, T., Nessel, T.A. & Kumar, D.D. (2021, December 19). Minoxidil. StatPearls. Retrieved from
  6. Hu, R., et al. (2015). Combined treatment with oral finasteride and topical minoxidil in male androgenetic alopecia: a randomized and comparative study in Chinese patients. Dermatologic Therapy. 28 (5), 303-308. Retrieved from
  7. Almohanna, H.M., Ahmed, A.A., Tsatalos, J.P. & Tosti, A. (2019, March). The Role of Vitamins and Minerals in Hair Loss: A Review. Dermatology and Therapy. 9 (1), 51-70. Retrieved from
  8. English, R.S. Jr. & Barazesh, J.M. (2019, March). Self-Assessments of Standardized Scalp Massages for Androgenic Alopecia: Survey Results. Dermatology and Therapy. 9 (1), 167-178. Retrieved from
  9. Hughes, E.C. & Saleh, D. (2022, June 26). Telogen Effluvium. StatPearls. Retrieved from
  10. Kavadya, Y. & Mysore, V. (2022). Role of Smoking in Androgenetic Alopecia: A Systematic Review. International Journal of Trichology. 14 (2), 41-48. Retrieved from
  11. Hair Transplantation and Restoration. (n.d.). Retrieved from
Editorial Standards

Hims & Hers has strict sourcing guidelines to ensure our content is accurate and current. We rely on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We strive to use primary sources and refrain from using tertiary references. See a mistake? Let us know at [email protected]!

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. Learn more about our editorial standards here.

Knox Beasley, MD

Dr. Knox Beasley is a board certified dermatologist specializing in hair loss. He completed his undergraduate studies at the United States Military Academy at West Point, NY, and subsequently attended medical school at Tulane University School of Medicine in New Orleans, LA. 

Dr. Beasley first began doing telemedicine during his dermatology residency in 2013 with the military, helping to diagnose dermatologic conditions in soldiers all over the world. 

Dr. Beasley is board certified by the American Board of Dermatology, and is a Fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology.

Originally from Nashville, TN, Dr. Beasley currently lives in North Carolina and enjoys spending time outdoors (with sunscreen of course) with his wife and two children in his spare time. 





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