Hairlines get a lot of attention in the hair restoration community for a few reasons.
Above all, an individual’s hairline is one of the first things we notice when meeting a new person, and it’s accepted that a strong hairline indicates youth, health, and other positive attributes that help us in all areas of life.
From a medical standpoint, a person’s hairline tells us a lot about the state of their hair in general, including where they are on the spectrum of hair loss, whether it’s time to apply preventive measures, or if more advanced therapeutics or procedures are required.
If you find yourself in that gray zone between a mature and receding hairline and want to know the truth of your situation, this is the article for you. Let’s get started.
What Is a Mature Hairline?
Since most of us can identify a receding hairline with a cursory glance, it will be more beneficial to learn the characteristics of a mature hairline before making any comparisons.
Once we understand what a mature hairline is and what it looks like, we can then explore the factors and features of a receding hairline in more detail.
Mature Hairline vs. Youthful Hairline
The best way to describe a mature hairline is to compare it to the “youthful hairline” that most individuals experience in childhood before the onset of puberty.
The youthful hairline rests relatively low on the forehead, typically with a symmetrical concave shape that nears the outer corners of the eyebrows. Hair on the temples is dense with most youthful hairlines, with no widow’s peaks or temple peaks to be found, regardless of gender or racial background.
A mature hairline changes from a youthful hairline in a few ways.
The most noticeable sign is the overall advancement (an inch or more) of the hairline to a higher point on the forehead, even if the concave shape of the youthful hairline is retained.
In many cases, a mature hairline does change shape, revealing a slight widow’s peak and possible temple peaks. Other types of mature hairline feature more convex shapes, although not characterized by the exaggerated M-shape we see in advanced Norwood scale stages.
Is a Mature Hairline Normal?
Now that we know what a mature hairline looks like, let’s dispel the myth that this type of hairline is abnormal or indicative of further receding.
Firstly, a mature hairline is the norm for more than 95% of men and women in the world, particularly in Caucasian individuals. The lucky 5% who maintain their youthful hairlines for a lifetime simply had the luck of the genetic draw.
Furthermore, a mature hairline is a sign that all systems of maturation and hormonal balances are healthy and operational within a man’s body. This explains why most mature hairlines start to appear in the late teenage years or the early 20s.
From the perspective of a physician, a mature hairline is to be expected, and nothing to fear at this particular stage.
Does a Mature Hairline Look Natural?
On a more subjective level, many patients have concerns about the look of their mature hairlines, especially when they first start to see their youthful hairline fade away.
While it might be slightly disconcerting at first to see changes to one’s hairline, a mature hairline tends to complement a man’s appearance as they notice masculinization of the face, including features like square jaw and more pronounced brow.
A mature hairline can also be styled in a range of modern configurations that present a smart and distinguished appearance. Men can even grow their hair long with a mature hairline and still look great – just watch how Hollywood’s biggest stars have styled their hair through the years.
Mature Hairline vs. Receding Hairline
There’s nothing to worry about with a solid and stable mature hairline, but starting to see the transformation to a receding hairline can be cause for concern.
Let’s talk about how to tell when a mature hairline has gone too far, and the key signals of a receding hairline that should be met with a smart course of action.
Identifying a Receding Hairline
We all have an intuitive understanding of what a receding hairline looks like. The Norwood scale reveals that a strong widow’s peak and temple peaks are the main areas to watch, but these can be hard to detect in the immediate term.
Here are three tell-tale signs that a mature hairline is turning into a receding hairline, so that you can get ahead of the problem early on.
Beyond a Mature Hairline
The typical mature hairline is located about an inch away from the highest crease of the forehead when you raise your eyebrows.
A receding hairline, on the other hand, will create even more space (two inches or more) between that highest crease and the point of the widow’s peak. Furthermore, the M-shape of the hairline will become even more pronounced as the corners of the hairline retreat back towards the top of the head.
Men with concerns about receding hairlines should be aware of these proportions and dimensions as they track their hairline status.
Uneven Receding (Asymmetry)
When a hairline goes from mature to receding, it typically happens in a symmetrical manner, as seen in most widow’s peaks and M-shapes.
However, asymmetrical regression is also rather common for men with pattern balding, and the signals can be quite clear as soon as this trend begins.
This is another reason why men should pay close attention to the shape of their hairlines in addition to their position on the forehead. Even if a portion of the hairline remains solid, the asymmetry can indicate that the progression of pattern balding is already underway.
General Thinning and Miniaturization
As much as it’s important to keep an eye on your hairline as you age, not all cases of male pattern balding start at the hairline.
As we see in the Norwood scale and many case studies, a mature hairline may be well maintained for years at a time while hair begins to miniaturize and thin across the scalp as a whole. Even if everything looks good up front, the quality of hair could be declining and lead to an inevitable receding hairline down the road.
Continuously assessing the quality, density, and overall scalp coverage is crucial to ensuring the protection of a mature hairline, as the likelihood of pattern balding increases by an average of ten percent per decade.
Causes of Receding Hairline (Beyond Mature)
Anyone familiar with the hair loss literature knows that we have yet to find a singular, isolated reason why hair loss occurs.
Androgenetic alopecia is the catch-all scientific term to describe balding caused by genetics, relating mainly to the reaction of DHT in the scalp and its effects on hair follicle life cycles.
The same factors appear to be at play in the development of a mature hairline and a receding hairline, which is why the link between the two is such a key area of study for leaders in the hair restoration field.
What a Receding Hairline Means
While a mature hairline is a normal stage of development for most men as they age past puberty, a receding hairline is generally accepted as a red flag and sign that further pattern balding will progress sooner than later.
Some hairlines recede within the span of a few short years, while others take decades to fully progress. With so many variables at play, our highest priority needs to be vigilance about tracking and treating a receding hairline as soon as it begins.
How To Maintaining a Mature Hairline
Most hair restoration experts advise that adult men avoid procedures like forehead lowering that bring a mature hairline to its previous position.
Instead, the best physicians will recommend a complete, customized strategy for clients to follow and boost their chances at maintaining a mature hairline for as long as possible.
Understand the Facts
For men struggling to determine the difference between a mature and receding hairline, this guide should help. Still, a second opinion from a hair loss pro can give you the full story and make sense of your situation more fully.
This will also ensure you don’t jump to conclusions or take any unnecessary measures to help your hairline cause.
Make Health a Priority
The most trustworthy and experienced hair restoration professionals will always start with a holistic approach with each patient, rather than rushing them into surgery or prescription medications.
If you have maintained a mature hairline for years already, the best thing you can do is continue living a healthy, balanced lifestyle with the pillars of diet, exercise, and stress management.
Essential oils and supplements can also help strengthen an existing hairline. These options may be useful for men in their thirties and beyond.
Take Preventive Measures
Aside from lifestyle and natural remedies, a hair restoration expert may suggest alternative therapies, such as microchanneling, or low-level laser light treatment for clients with a mature hairline.
These measures have been highly effective in the early stages of pattern balding and may fend off a receding hairline if employed consistently. Additionally, approved medicines like Minoxidil and Finasteride are most effective in this intermediate stage between a mature and receding hairline, so these should not be overlooked.
In terms of surgical procedures, small FUE operations may be best to supplement healthy hair to a mature hairline on the verge of receding. Before committing to surgery, consultation and careful planning with a hair loss pro are key.
Work With a Hair Loss Expert Who Knows
Millions of men find themselves in that strange zone between a mature hairline and a receding one. If you think it’s time to connect with a hair restoration expert, contact Jae Pak, MD, today and schedule your consultation!