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Uneven Hairline: Why It Happens to Men & Treatments

Katelyn Brenner FNP

Reviewed by Katelyn Hagerty, FNP

Written by Rachel Sacks

Published 12/01/2020

Updated 09/01/2023

Have you taken a good long look at your hairline recently? There’s no shame in checking yourself out, but if you look closely enough, you may have noticed one side is slightly higher, thinner or just different than the other.

This asymmetrical or crooked hairline can create the appearance of uneven hair growth. Which leads you to think, Why is one side of my hair thicker than the other? Or maybe, Is my head actually lopsided?

Okay, you probably didn’t think that last one. Still, an uneven hairline can be frustrating — to say the least.

So, what causes uneven hair growth?

Before you search “losing hair on one side of head” or worry you’ll wake up one day with no hair at all, let us explain a few things. We’ll cover why this happens and how to fix an uneven hairline.

What Is an Uneven Hairline?

An uneven hairline is a hairline that’s noticeably different on one side than it is on the other.

For example, a person may have more heavily receded hair on their left side than on their right. Or they might simply have thicker-looking hair on one side.

Others may have an M-shaped hairline, with the center of the hairline at the front, then receding from the temples.

Uneven hairlines are common. In fact, facial and bodily asymmetry, in general, is a common occurrence. Research shows that minor asymmetries can develop as the body grows, including in the face.

Uneven hairlines can be very mild, with only a small difference between the left and right sides. If you only have a mildly uneven or small hairline, you might be the only person to see the difference. But that doesn’t make it any less frustrating.

In other cases, uneven hairlines are perceived rather than real. For instance, if your hair falls in one direction naturally, it might only look like you have hair thinning on one side, even if the two sides are close to symmetrical.

For some people, a crooked hairline is both real and noticeable. It may appear as a difference in the height of the hairline, as thinning caused by male pattern baldness or another form of hair loss that only affects one temple and not the other.

What Causes an Uneven Hairline?

Is it even possible to have hair loss on one side of the head? Absolutely. Does a hairline receding on one side mean you’re losing hair? Not always.

A few factors might be at play, including genetics, traction alopecia or male pattern baldness. Here’s what to know.

Genetics

Just as facial asymmetry can be a result of genetics, certain aspects of your hairline shape appear to be inherited traits as well.

For example, a widow’s peak — a common hair feature — is believed to be passed on from one parent to their child via one or several dominant alleles (variant forms of genes).

If other people in your family have an uneven hairline, it’s possible this is a genetic trait you’ve inherited from your parents. In that case, it’s your natural hairline developing in an asymmetrical pattern.

Our full article dives deeper into this topic and answers questions like, “Is hair growth genetic?” and “Why does my hairline grow uneven?”

Traction Alopecia

A type of hair loss resulting from tension on the roots of the hair, traction alopecia tends to be caused by tight braids, ponytails, dreadlocks and other hairstyles that pull on the hair roots. The tension makes the hairs enter the catagen (regression) and telogen (resting) phases of the hair growth cycle early.

Like other forms of hair loss, traction alopecia often shows up as thinning hair and uneven hair growth along the temples, the front of the hairline or the back of the head.

Although traction alopecia is much more common in women than men, it may contribute to an uneven hairline in certain circumstances.

Simple things like excessive brushing or pulling on the hair can cause parts of the scalp to thin, creating an asymmetrical or even slanted hairline.

Traction alopecia isn’t a type of male pattern baldness, meaning any hair that falls out will likely grow back eventually. However, it can be a serious annoyance, especially if it develops in an obvious, highly visible location, such as around your hairline.

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Male Pattern Baldness

Although many people associate male pattern baldness with thinning around the crown of the scalp, it can (and often does) begin at the hairline.

Sometimes referred to as a mature hairline, hair loss caused by male pattern baldness can often start at the temples — a common area for the signs of an uneven hairline to become apparent.

As the name androgenetic alopecia suggests, its main causes are genetic factors and androgen hormones (male sex hormones). These sex hormones basically attack your hair follicles when they’re converted into something called DHT.

While male pattern baldness can cause an uneven hairline, not all uneven hairlines are due to male pattern baldness.

There are some signs to look for to know if you’re going bald:

  • Is my hairline receding over time? If you notice a receding hairline on one side, there’s a good chance it’s due to male pattern baldness. But it can be easy to miss small, gradual changes to your hairline. Try taking a photo every month to compare your hairline over time.

  • You might find extra hairs in the shower or in your comb. While it’s normal for some hair to fall out throughout the day, losing a significant amount of hair each day is a common sign of male pattern baldness.

Our guide to the early signs of balding goes into more detail about these symptoms, as well as what you might be able to do to reverse them.

Though male pattern baldness is the most common type of hair loss (more than 50 percent of all men are affected by age 50), there are other reasons for hair loss, from stress to medication and more.

But don’t stress about hair loss on one side of your head — which, incidentally, may cause more hair loss). Male pattern baldness is generally treatable.

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How to Fix Uneven Hairlines

Since an asymmetrical hairline can be a result of many things, there’s no single treatment for how to fix an uneven hairline. The cause of an uneven hairline will determine the treatment.

If your uneven hairline is caused by traction alopecia, treating it might be as simple as changing your hairstyle, avoiding certain haircare products or making other changes to fix your hairline.

If the affected areas of your hairline are irritated or painful, your healthcare provider might give you topical medication.

If your uneven hairline is caused by male pattern baldness, several treatment options are available to stop a receding hairline.

  • Finasteride. The generic form of Propecia®, finasteride is an FDA-approved oral medication for male pattern baldness. It works by blocking your body from converting testosterone into DHT, the androgen hormone responsible for hair loss. Finasteride starts to block DHT immediately and usually produces improvements within three to four months.

  • Minoxidil. Minoxidil is a topical medication you can apply directly to your scalp, either as minoxidil foam or a liquid minoxidil solution. Though its exact mechanism of action is unknown, it’s believed to work by improving blood flow to your hair follicles and pushing hairs into the growth phase of the hair growth cycle. While minoxidil is best known as a treatment for hair loss on the crown of the head, research shows it’s also effective at treating hair loss near the hairline. Minoxidil for receding hairlines can take a few months to start working, but research shows it’s effective at stimulating hair growth.

  • Topical finasteride & minoxidil spray. Both minoxidil and finasteride are approved individually by the FDA to treat male pattern hair loss. Each treats different causes of hair loss, so a topical combo is sometimes used off-label as a comprehensive treatment. Minoxidil works like a fertilizer to give your hair the nutrients it needs to grow to its full potential, while finasteride is more like a shield that protects your hair follicles from damage. Using them together — like with our topical finasteride & minoxidil spray — could support hair regrowth.

  • Hair transplant surgery. Hair transplants involve extracting hair follicles from the sides and back of the scalp (areas unaffected by male pattern baldness), then transplanting them to areas with significant hair loss. Even if you don’t have male pattern baldness, hairline restoration can even out an uneven hairline caused by genetics.

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Dealing With an Uneven Hairline

Hair is such a large part of our look, and when you notice thinning hair or bald spots, it can mess with your self-esteem and confidence. The same goes for an uneven or crooked hairline.

Here’s the bottom line:

  • An uneven hairline is simply a hairline that differs on one side from the other. It’s very common and often due to an asymmetrical face or body features.

  • There can be different causes of an uneven hairline or hair that appears to be thinning on one side. This includes genetics affecting the shape of your hairline, types of hair loss like traction alopecia (hair loss caused by tight hairstyles pulling on the hair) and androgenetic alopecia (male pattern baldness).

  • How to fix an uneven hairline will depend on the cause. Different hairstyles could help an uneven hairline caused by genetics or traction alopecia, while medications or hair transplant surgery may be recommended for male pattern baldness.

Dealing with an uneven hairline can be frustrating. But you don’t have to live with it forever.

Talk to a healthcare provider to determine the cause of your uneven hairline and discuss possible hair loss treatments

13 Sources

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  7. Asfour, L., Cranwell, W., Sinclair, R. Male Androgenetic Alopecia. [Updated 2023 Jan 25]. In: Feingold KR, Anawalt B, Blackman MR, et al., editors. Endotext [Internet]. South Dartmouth (MA): MDText.com, Inc.; 2000-. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK278957/
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  9. Hair loss: Diagnosis and treatment. (2022, December 13). American Academy of Dermatology. Retrieved from https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/hair-loss/treatment/diagnosis-treat
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