Receding Hairline in Men & Teenagers – Meaning, Causes and Signs

Receding Hairline in Men & Teenagers – Meaning, Causes and Signs

Do you have the problem of receding hairline that began at a tender age of 20 or 19 years and it is becoming the horror that gives you sleepless nights? Learn more on meaning and signs of receding hairline, what causes receding hairline and a lot more. This discussion will focus on male receded hairline. If you are a woman, we have insight on receded hairline women that will help you so much.

What is A Receding Hairline?

What causes receding hairline in men and teenagers
What causes receding hairline in men and teenagers

Receding hairline is a type of progressive hair loss mainly experienced by men and some women where your hairline will begin to thin commonly on either sides of your forehead before you get a bald patch on top of your head. It is one of the classes of hair loss in men, a condition popularly known as androgenic alopecia or male baldness patterns. It is characterized by a widow’s peak where your front forehead forms a V shape pattern.

Although the problem is common in older men (above 25 years of age), receding hairline can be seen in younger people including teenagers. Do not be surprised if you begin having it early. I know people who begun having the problem of receding hairline at 20 or at the age of 19 years.

In fact, most people begin experiencing the problem when they are in their teens, i.e. their hair will begin thinning and as they grow, it will start receding. If your hair line is receding at young age, it might be a pre-disposition to hair loss, which is caused by genetics or associated with a certain autoimmune response, alopecia being the biggest suspect.

Signs of Receding Hairline

Signs of receding hairline
Signs of receding hairline

We have looked at what receding hairline is and before we look at its causes, you need to understand signs of receding hairline that you will experience when you have this problem. This problem does not happen overnight and you should keenly be studying your hair line.

To begin with, you will have hair loss above your temples that often form a letter M shape where the middle and side hairs remain while you lose lateral hairs on your forehead. This is the initial stage of receding hairline. With time, you will begin having hair loss on top of your head but this might be depended on the causes of a receded hairline.

A man with a receded hairline
A man with a receded hairline

To some people, they need to tilt their head to be able to see their hairlines and in some extreme cases, it might form a horseshoe shape where your scalp center remains bare with only hair on the back and sides of your head. You will therefore notice pronounced and high temples when your hairline is receding.

Receding Hairline in Young Men - Wayne Rooney before going for hair transplant
Wayne Rooney before going for hair transplant

Finally, when you are suffering from this condition, you will notice more hair collecting on your water tub, each time you wash your head. This should worry you, especially if you are a teenager. More hair can also be seen on your comb and hair brush. On average, people should lose up to 100 strands of hair every day during brushing, combing, etc. and this is considered normal.

Receding Hairline in Teenagers

Other signs of receding hairline include sensitivity to cold, slower hair growth rate, i.e. stagnant hair growth in anagen, catagen and telogen stages.

What Causes Receding Hairline

If you are suffering from this stigmatizing problem of a receded hairline, you need to know what some of its causes are. This can help you deciding the best cause of action to completely deal with this problem. So, what causes a receding hairline?

Excessive and Continued Production of Dihydrotestosterone (DHT)

There are many causes of receding hairline, principle among them genetics and the role of hormones in the body. Dihydrotestosterone (DHT), a male sex hormone responsible of stimulate secondary sexual characteristics during puberty is one of the main direct causes of a receding hairline.  This hormone is a derivative of androgen and formed when 5-alpha reductase acts on androgen.  Once it has outlived its significance, it might cause some unwanted side effects in the body, key among them inhibiting the growth of hair.

This problem is often common in people whom DHT production seems to increase rather than reduce after puberty. In such a scenario, it might build up in various places in the body, including hair follicles. When this happens, DHT might bind itself to hair follicles chocking blood flow, starving them of nutrients and eventually these hair follicles will begin to thin up, shrink, before falling off.

Receded Hairline in Men and Teenagers
Receded Hairline in Men

If receding hairline is left unattended to, it will lead to permanent hair loss and baldness on most areas of the scalp. This can have social and physiological effects, which seem to make most people with receding hairline, including women to want to get medical help and/or try various drugs, medications and home remedies for receding hairline.

However, DHT does not cause receding hairline or inhibit hair growth in every man. Some people might not be affected if its production goes down naturally. Since it is genetically caused, it might be hard to avoid it, if you have the gene present in you. However, while discussing ways to stop receding hairline and treatments for receding hairline, we will definitely see how it can be tackled.

Genes – Inherited Factors

Receded hair line from genes is closely associated with hormonal causes. People who suffer from it are found to be having a gene referred to as Androgen Receptor or AR. The stronger this gene is, the earlier you will see your hair line recede. This explains why receding hairline is common in teenagers who are as young as 15 years old. Initially, it was believed that the gene could only be passed by mother to son but recent research has shown it can also be passed by the son’s father.

There are other genes, which have been found to trigger male baldness patterns even for those who might not be having a strong Androgen Receptor gene.

Age – Major Cause of Hairline Receding

Receding Hairline in Young Men
Receding Hairline in Young Men

The other cause of receded hairline is age. According to the National Institute of Health (US), hair thinning and receded hairline is common in older people and about 65% of men suffer from baldness or a pattern of baldness and about 25% of these men start suffering from this problem while at the age of about 30 years.

Environmental Factors – Stress

DHT is not the only cause of receding hairline and baldness. Some environmental factors have been found to favor this hereditary condition. For instance, people who live under prolonged emotional stress are found to have their hairline recede faster.

Medications and Chemotherapy

Some medications have been known to cause receding hairline in both men and women. Some of the drugs that can accelerate hair loss and receding of your hairline include medications rich in Vitamin A, those for treating heart disease, blood pressure, cholesterol, gout, and anti-depressants. For cancer patients, chemotherapy is known to cause temporary hair loss and this can worsen your recessing hairline.

Poor Eating Habits

The foods we eat can accelerate the recession of your hairline.  Avoid eating refined foods (grains and sugar) as it worsens hair loss. Ensure you also avoid low protein diets as protein it is essential for hair growth. Furthermore, some researchers have found a correlation between heavy smoking and a receding hairline

Other Causes of Receded Hairline

Other conditions and diseases that have been associated with receded hairlines in people include the following:

  • Male Pattern Baldness – The main cause of hairline receding in men
    Male Pattern Baldness
    Male pattern baldness could be the reason why your hairline is receding
  • Thyroid problems
  • Adrenal gland cancer
  • Burns
  • Seborrheic dermatitis – Causes too much oils (sebum) or dry scalp. Both the scenarios can cause hair loss
  • Trichotillomania
  • Weakened immunity especially to lupus and diabetic patients

Other scalp infections such as fungal, eczema, acne (especially cystic acne associated with DHT) can cause this problem, although they are much rare, except for the fungal infection.  Since most of the causes are also causes of hair loss, see the causes of hair loss for more insight.

Does It Pass Through Mother’s Genetics or Father’s Genetics?

There are rumors that receding hairline is passed from mother’s side of genetics. This is not true as it is passed from both parents, being hereditary. To know where it comes from, look at your mother’s and father’s brothers.


We mainly focused on the causes of receding hairline in men (some of these factors cause it in women too). We did not cover anything on how to stop, treatment, haircuts for people with receded hairlines and much more since we have covered them in details.