When Does A Maturing Hairline Become A Receding Hairline?

When Does A Maturing Hairline Become A Receding Hairline?

In life, few things are certain outside of death, taxes, and a maturing hairline. Though the process of hairline recession is gradual, many of us fear the day that we look in the mirror and notice that our hairline looks like it’s made a hasty retreat for higher ground on our foreheads. What actually causes our hairline to “mature”? Is it normal? Is a maturing hairline the same as a receding hairline, and if so, is there anything that can slow the progression? We’ve got answers below.

What Is A Maturing Hairline?

Though it’s more pronounced on some than others, we’ve all seen the stereotypical M-shaped hairline known colloquially as a widow’s peak. From iconic movie stars like Leonardo DiCaprio and Marilyn Monroe, to politicians like Paul Ryan, to fictional characters like Count Dracula and the Joker, the widow’s peak has graced the faces of many familiar celebrities and characters. A maturing hairline implies a slight recession of the hairline above the temples on either side of the forehead. In the middle of the forehead, the hairline retreats slightly less, resulting in the pointed portion of the M- or V-shaped hairline.

What’s The Difference Between A Mature Hairline And A Juvenile Hairline?

Besides the change in shape, what makes a hairline look younger or older? It all has to do with proportions! When our hairline begins to mature or recede, it changes the relative proportions of the other parts of our face. If you’ve heard of the golden ratio before, you may have heard that a certain proportion is commonly found to be attractive. When it comes to facial attractiveness, the distance between the chin and the hairline is known as the face length, and this length is used for comparing the proportions of other parts of the face. As our hairline begins to mature, that chin-to-hairline distance obviously increases, but it’s not as if other parts of our faces—our nose, eyes, jaw, cheekbones, eyebrows—are moving around to keep up. That change in proportion due to a maturing hairline can change those proportions, possibly making them further from—or closer to, if you’re lucky!—the beautiful proportions of the golden ratio.

Now, let’s define a few key terms. First, the anterior hairline (AHL) is the formal term for our hairline. The middle portion—the lowest part of the widow’s peak in a maturing hairline—is known as the mid-frontal point (MFP). According to researchers investigating the ideal proportions for surgically reconstructing an aesthetically pleasing hairline, the mid-frontal point in a reconstructed hairline should be roughly 8cm above the glabella, the point between the eyebrows and slightly above the bridge of the nose. By definition, a mature hairline implies a comparison—in this case, a mature hairline can be contrasted against a juvenile hairline. A juvenile hairline consists of the rounded, fuller hairline that we all grew up with, with little distinction between the lowest portion of the mid-frontal point and the corners of the hairline, known as the frontotemporal point (FTP).

What Causes The Hairline To Mature?

As we’ve discussed in other posts, the androgen DHT begins to accumulate in the scalp as we age, and this accumulation of DHT causes our hair follicles to gradually shrink and our hair to thin. It makes sense, then, that as we start to accumulate more DHT, our hairline might start to thin and recede around the edges. Additional factors like stress, nutritional deficiencies, and genetics can also play an additional role in how our hairlines mature or recede.

A mature hairline can be expected to recede up to an inch from the highest wrinkled crease of our foreheads. When the hairline recedes less than an inch from this point, and when the mid-frontal point and the frontotemporal point of the hairline recede proportionally, the hairline can be thought of as maturing, rather than receding. When the hairline recedes more than an inch, or when the frontotemporal point begins to fall back more than the mid-frontal point, that could indicate a receding hairline or early signs of androgenic alopecia, commonly known as pattern hair loss.

Androgenic alopecia is more common in men than in women, and men typically start to notice thinning and receding near the frontotemporal point in classic male pattern baldness. Women tend to notice thinning on the crown of the head or near where the hair parts, rather than near the hairline. Hair loss around the hairline can often occur as a result of traction alopecia, a type of hair loss that occurs when tighter hairstyles repeatedly pull and strain the hair follicles. Repeated pulling and strain on the follicles can cause damage, leading to eventual hair thinning and loss. The use of harsh chemicals and high heat from flat irons can also cause damage and stress to the hair follicles, which may accelerate the movement of a maturing hairline.

When Should You Worry About A Maturing Hairline?

When the hairline matures at a normal pace, you shouldn’t notice any day-to-day difference. If you notice that the M-shaped pattern of your hairline is beginning to become more pronounced, or if you notice that you’re starting to lose more than the typical 50-100 hairs per day, it might be worth considering changing up your routine and adding preventative treatments to keep your maturing hairline from receding any further.

How To Address A Maturing Hairline

If you’re concerned that your hairline is looking a bit too mature, there are fortunately steps that you can take to try and slow the process down.

  • Proper nutrition. Make sure that you’re eating a healthy, balanced diet that includes plenty of B vitamins and healthy amounts of key minerals like iron and zinc. Nutrient deficiencies can be a major contributor to hair loss, and a visit with your doctor can help you learn more about any dietary deficiencies you may have that could be contributing to your hair thinning or loss.
  • Reduce stress. From increasing hair loss to reducing the effectiveness of the immune system, stress can negatively impact your health in a variety of ways. Eliminating stressful activities or adding in positive activities like exercise, yoga, or mindfulness meditation, can contribute to an overall reduction in stress and help your body to recover.
  • Avoid tight hairstyles than pull on your hair. When pulled too tightly, tighter looks like a ponytail or a man-bun can place extra tension on our hair, particularly on the hairs that make up our hairline. Consider changing up your style to a looser look that avoids the excess tension, as hairstyles that place additional strain on the hair follicle can lead to traction alopecia and contribute to a receding hairline.

Maturing Hairlines Are Normal—Don’t Stress!

It’s normal for our hairline to move back as we age, and the process is typically gradual. And if you do notice that you have a slightly more mature hairline than before, don’t worry! Research into attractiveness and favorability showed that a widow’s peak, or a mature hairline, made political candidates appear more appealing and likable to voters. A healthy bit of maturity in the form of a mature hairline can contribute to an overall perception of attractiveness and competence.

If you’re worried that your mature hairline is tending a bit too close to a receding hairline, our Hair Revival Serum at Revela has been proven to yield fantastic results in as little as 6-8 weeks. By applying the Hair Revival Serum to your scalp near the hairline, you can help to slow your hairline’s progression from mature to receding!

Profile photo for Enzo Benfanti

Reviewed by: Enzo Benfanti, MEng

Enzo is a chemical engineer and data enthusiast with a background in industrial chemicals. His previous experience is in developing catalysts and designing industrial chemical processes to produce the precursors to detergents, polyester fibers, and other specialty materials. He received his bachelor’s degree from the University at Buffalo [Go Bills!] and his master's degree from Columbia University, both in chemical engineering.

Written by: Revela Editorial Team

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