Hair loss

How to Stop a Receding Hairline

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Medically approved by Dr Earim Chaudry
Chief Medical Officer
iconLast updated 7th January 2022
In 30 seconds…

A receding hairline can feel like a cause for panic. But if you catch it early, there’s no reason why you can’t stop hair loss in its tracks – or even reverse it. So, how to stop a receding hairline? Of the options available, two methods are recognised to be safe and effective. These are Finasteride and Minoxidil, two medicinal treatments that science has shown to work wonders.

Finasteride is generally taken daily as a pill, whilst Minoxidil is applied locally to the scalp and hair. They can be taken safely together to give more effective results too. Combined, they improve the symptoms of hair loss for 9/10 men.

Two-thirds of men experience some degree of hair thinning by the age of thirty-five. But easy tiger, this doesn’t mean you’re doomed. Given so many men experience it, there’s been a lot of research into how to stop a receding hairline. And, luckily enough, all this research has given us some great treatments for hair loss – so, don’t despair just yet.

In this article, we’re going to show you precisely how to stop a receding hairline. We’ll show you how to recognise male pattern baldness (MPB) before it is too late, and we’ll point you in the direction of the best treatments to combat it before you accept the buzz cut.

Is My Hairline Receding?

Hairline recession is the most common way that MPB first strikes. It usually makes itself shown above your temples, where the hairline on each side of your forehead will retreat. This gives you that recognisable V-shaped hairline – the ‘widow’s peak’, as it is known – at the front of your head.

MPB can also occur at the crown and scalp, where you’ll see your hair thinning. Whilst this can happen earlier, it’s more common that you will notice hair loss first at the temples. 

Paying attention is important, because the best way to stop a receding hairline is recognising early when you have one. If in doubt, find a picture of yourself from a previous year to compare your hairline. It is difficult to notice the change if you see yourself every day.

Signs of a Receding Hairline

A receding hairline happens gradually – but the chances are that you will notice its progress. We do know that this can be a little heart-breaking, but there are a number of signs of a receding hairline that you can look out for. And the earlier you spot it, the more effective the treatment options can be.

The widow’s peak: A ‘widow’s peak’ is that V-shaped hairline that we mentioned above. With MPB, it is often the temples that go first, and this’ll typically be your first sign of a receding hairline.

Visible fallout: Watch out for the amount of hair you lose. When you’re combing or styling, you’ll inevitably lose some hair or leave it behind in the comb. But if this starts to appear more than usual, you might be witnessing the early signs of more substantial hair loss.

If this is accompanied by other symptoms – including itching, redness, or bleeding – it won’t be MPB you are looking at. Instead, it might be alopecia areata, or a different kind of hair loss.

Thinning and a different feel: MBP doesn’t always start at the hairline. As we said, you may well notice that your hair is thinning around the crown area. And by now, you know how your hair responds to touch and styling. If it doesn’t behave in the way you’re used to, it might suggest that it is thinning.

Can You Combat a Receding Hairline?

Whilst there was once little hope to combat a receding hairline, there are now a couple of ways that you can prevent further hair loss – and even see hair regrowth. These days MBP is no longer irreversible.

Thanks to research and accidental discoveries, there are options available to stop your hairline receding – and without using surgery. It’s a shame, honestly, that more men don’t know about them…

In combatting hair loss, remember that it’s the early bird that catches the worm. Studies have found that the younger you are when you start treatment, the better for the future of your healthy hairstyles. And the more hair you have before treatment, the more effective it will be too. 

How to Stop a Receding Hairline and Regrow Hair

Minoxidil and Finasteride are the two most well-known and effective treatments to stop a receding hairline in men. Minoxidil, applied locally, promotes blood flow to the hairline to encourage healthy hair, whilst Finasteride tackles the enzyme that causes MPB. Used together, they battle the two bad guys of baldness – with an impressive rate of success.

Meanwhile, there are other ways to help support your hair health. These include biotin, zinc, and selenium – natural minerals that can be taken as daily vitamin tablets – as well as the more radical option of hair transplant surgery.

Finasteride and a Receding Hairline

Finasteride is the simple way to stop a receding hairline. A pill a day will stop MPB in ninety percent of men. Not a bad rate, really! 

Finasteride – or Propecia, as it is commonly branded – is the only men’s hair loss treatment that can be taken orally, and it is the treatment which is backed by the most research. One study, for example, found that the drug wasn’t just an effective way to stop a receding hairline. Rather, two thirds of those who used it saw their hairline recession reverse. This finding was corroborated by another study, which actually saw Finasteride cause hair regrowth in over 75% of cases.

In men, hair loss most commonly happens because of the way that the male body turns testosterone into dihydrotestosterone (DHT). This chemical reduces the size of your hair follicles and ultimately leads to their permanent damage. In most men, it is the hair follicles at the hairline that are most vulnerable to DHT, which explains why it’s normally your hairline that recedes first.

Finasteride reduces the amount of DHT in your blood, by targeting the enzyme that produces it. It tackles the agents of baldness right at their source.

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The Finasteride Plan
The most effective oral treatment for receding hairlines and balding crowns. Just one pill a day.
Best for
Receding Hairlines
9/10 Men
One-a-day tablets (Finasteride)

Minoxidil and a Receding Hairline

Minoxidil, alternatively, works by dilating blood vessels and encouraging blood flow to the area of the body on which it’s been applied. The more blood flowing around your scalp the better, as blood brings nutrients and oxygen that keeps your hair and its follicles healthy. And this, in the long term, prevents further follicle damage – putting a brake on a receding hairline.

The effects of the drug were discovered when scientists using Minoxidil to treat high blood pressure noticed that a side effect was hair growth. Studying this effect on its own, they found that when applied to the crown and scalp, they saw new hair growth in the majority of cases (after forty-eight weeks). 

Whilst the research was conducted primarily on the crown, Minoxidil is effective on the hairline too. The follicles at the front of the scalp behave in the same way as those on the crown – and one of the only studies investigating this found that Minoxidil application on the hairline stopped it receding.

For those of you who really dislike taking tablets, Minoxidil might be a better option – although you will have to apply it to your scalp twice daily.

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The Minoxidil Plan
The most powerful spray for direct treatment to the scalp. Just two spray applications a day.
Best for
Thinning at the crown
Daily Spray (Minoxidil)

How Else to Stop a Receding Hairline?

Whilst they are certainly the best ways to tackle a receding hairline, Finasteride and Minoxidil aren’t the only options available to you. So, in the interests of completeness, let’s take a look at what else you can do to stop your hair loss and prevent thinning hair.

Hair Transplants

A hair transplant is perhaps the most notorious – and radical – method with which to manage a receding hairline. It involves undergoing a surgical procedure in which healthier hair follicles are removed from one part of your scalp and inserted into your hairline.

The result can be fantastic. However, for many, the cost can be prohibitive – and so can the act of going into the operating theatre. Meanwhile, you might not actually be given much of a choice between a hair transplant or Finasteride or Minoxidil after all, as most patients need to use the medicines after surgery. Whilst a transplant can give radical results, MPB is a progressive condition, and it will continue post-op.

Biotin and Zinc

In some cases, you may not fancy either a hair transplant or medicinal treatment for your hair loss. But that doesn’t mean that you’re ready to just sit back and let it all fall out. That’s where vitamins can come in, particularly those that can improve the quality of your hair.

Biotin and zinc are two essential minerals that can help stop your hairline from receding – and even bring it back. Whilst not as effective as Finasteride and Minoxidil, science has shown that it is possible. 

Combination Treatment

Want to know the best way to stop a receding hairline? That would be using Finasteride and Minoxidil together. They are perfectly safe to use together and the combination increases your chances of regrowth. According to one study, the success of combination therapy is 94% – compared to 80.5% and 59% with Finasteride and Minoxidil respectively alone.

Key Takeaways…

The days of irreversible hair loss are over. We now know how to stop a receding hairline. With drugs that are now proven to be effective in the battle against baldness, there’s no reason to lament the loss of your locks. Finasteride and Minoxidil are the most common and effective treatments available, with Finasteride perhaps having the edge – backed by more scientific research and with easier treatment.

If you choose one treatment, Finasteride is considered the more effective of the two. However, if you’re serious about combatting your receding hairline, there’s one thing that outdoes them both: that’s using Finasteride and Minoxidil together.

While we've ensured that everything you read on the Health Centre is medically reviewed and approved, information presented here is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. It should never be relied upon for specific medical advice. If you have any questions or concerns, please talk to your doctor.

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