A receding hairline – what is that and how is it recognised?

A loss of hair at the hairline above the temples is referred to as a receding hairline.

Men in particular are affected by this. In the past, a receding hairline was seen as a dignified sign of ageing.

Sufferers of calvities frontalis, as it is known in technical terms, are now far from proud of this problem.

After all: Today a full head of hair is seen as a sign of vitality and attractiveness, whilst a lack of hair is regarded as a lack of aesthetics, potency and youth.



Nowadays a receding hairline is seen as a problem by those affected.

Numerous methods have been developed to help solve this issue which work by preventing, hiding and counteracting hair loss.

Moreover, there are a plenty of haircuts which complement men with a receding hairline.


What causes a receding hairline?


Androgenetic alopecia, i.e., hereditary hair loss, is often responsible for a receding hairline.

The hair starts to thin around the tonsure and temples as early on as puberty. That's why men are advised to prevent the progression of hair loss early on.

Hereditary hair loss is caused by a gene defect which affects very many men. This causes the body to react very sensitively to the endogenous hormone DHT.

DHT is the abbreviation for dihydrotestosterone, a metabolic product of testosterone.

Testosterone is also referred to as the male sex hormone as it is present in men to a larger extent.

Nevertheless, the idea that men with a receding hairline or tonsure have a lot of testosterone is actually false. Hair loss is caused by a hereditary oversensitivity to DHT.


What are other possible causes of hair loss?


Around 80% of all fair-skinned men are genetically disposed to premature hair loss and a receding hairline.

Accordingly, our genes are the most common, but not the only reason for a receding hairline. Factors such as stress, a sensitive scalp or the wrong hair care can also cause hair loss and the start of a receding hairline.

There are further reasons for a receding hairline:




Stress is a state which you should always try to avoid wherever possible as it disrupts the hormone balance in your body.

This can often provoke or accelerate hair loss.

Of course, it is not always possible to switch off from the stress of everyday life and work.

Which is why it is all the more important to strike the right balance with relaxation exercises or a regular hobby which reduces your stress levels.


Sensitive scalp


Sensitive skin is, itself, susceptible to skin irritation which additionally stresses the hair follicles and promotes hair loss.

The use of unsuitable care products with aggressive ingredients aggravates the situation unnecessarily.

To protect the hair, you should pay particular attention to care products which suit both you and your skin.


Incorrect hair care


Incorrect hair care frequently leads to a sensitive scalp but can also have a negative impact on the hair structure leading to hair loss.

Hair volume can also suffer from these mistakes which means that any bald spots become more visible.


Using the wrong products


Note the ingredients in care products - and consider carefully what kind of care your scalp requires.

A product is often chosen because it smells good or the bottle looks stylish.

What is actually important is that the nourishing ingredients suit the structure of your hair: For example, the wrong anti-dandruff shampoo can cause severe irritation to the scalp.

A mix of lots of different ingredients which counteract each other is also far from ideal.

Stick to products with the same aim and which, ideally, complement each other.


Preventing a receding hairline


Despite hereditary factors and a frequent disposition to hair loss around the temples, you can prevent a receding hairline.

It is important to this end that you strengthen the stressed hair follicles and improve hair growth.

Well-known products against premature hair loss are caffeine, finasteride and minoxidil.

The effectiveness of all three active agents has been tested and found to be good.




The use of caffeine is a good way to prevent a receding hairline.

For example, a caffeine-based shampoo can be used on a daily basis without triggering skin reactions. In this way, the active agent penetrates the scalp each time the hair is washed.

An exposure time of two minutes is enough to allow the caffeine to penetrate into the follicle unit of the hair where it can shield the hair root from the negative impact of testosterone.

Oversensitivity to DHT, the cause of hereditary hair loss, is reduced and the hair root is once again energised.

As a complement or alternative to regular use of a caffeine-based shampoo, you can also use Alpecin Caffeine Liquid to prevent hereditary hair loss and receding hairlines.

Studies have shown that the application of caffeine on the affected hairline works in a similar manner as the active agents minoxidil and finasteride.

Caffeine, however, is tolerated far better: When caffeine preparations are applied topically, no side effects are expected unlike products containing minoxidil and finasteride.




Finasteride is prescription-only and is hormonally effective. As a rule, it comes in tablet form and is taken orally.

As with many hormone products, lot of people experience severe side effects which can range from physical disorders such as impotence through to psychological problems including anxiety disorders and depression.

Like with almost all medication, the dosage frequently not only determines the effectiveness, but also the likelihood of the occurrence of side effects.




Unlike finasteride, prescription-only minoxidil is not taken orally but applied to the scalp.

This medicinal substance is applied directly to the receding hairline and works to strengthen the hairs and hair follicles here.

Some people experience sensitive skin reactions such as redness and dandruff when using minoxidil.

Hair care products containing the active agent caffeine mentioned above can represent a skin-friendly yet effective alternative.


Hiding a receding hairline


The best way to deal with a receding hairline is to take preventative action. If your hairline is already clearly receding, you can also hide the affected areas.


A suitable hair cut


Very simple measures can be used to style your hair so that the receding hairline is covered. This can be achieved with both short and long hair.


Changing the hair colour slightly


A simple approach is to change your hair colour slightly. Highlights and other subtle changes distract from the hairline.


A striking beard


The same is true if you have a beard. A receding hairline is less obvious if you have a beard as people's eyes are drawn here.


The last option: a hair transplant


If you find your receding hairline particularly bothersome or if it is very pronounced, the last option is a hair transplant.

There are various methods here. The most common one involves the removal of hair follicles from an area with greater hair growth, e.g., the back of the head where hairs with DHT-resistant roots grow.

The follicle units removed are then planted in the bold areas of the scalp. After a few weeks, new hairs grow out of these follicles which can result in a significant visual change after just a few months.

Good preventative measures then need to be taken to prevent the cycle of hair loss starting again straight away.

Whichever option you choose, it’s best to make sure you use suitable hair care products for a start.

Sufficient supply of caffeine to the hair follicles can ideally, allows you to considerably delay or even stop the progression of hair loss.

Dr. Wolff's Product Recommendation:
Alpecin Hair Fall Kit for Men