Medically reviewed by Vicky Davis, FNP
Written by Our Editorial Team
Last updated 7/8/2021
Watching your hairline inching back millimeter by millimeter can be torturous. Not only can it ruin your hairstyle, it can seriously knock your confidence.
If this is something you’re experiencing, you likely have two main questions: What is causing your hairline to recede, and what can you do about it?
The truth is, this type of hair loss in women is fairly uncommon. Generally, it is something that more often than not affects men.
With men, a receding hairline can be part of male pattern hair loss. But female pattern hair loss usually occurs at the crown, not the hairline.
When women are facing a receding hairline, these are the most common causes:
Most often, a receding hairline is caused by a form of hair loss called traction alopecia.
Any hairstyle that pulls on your roots can cause this type of alopecia — including tight ponytails or buns, dreadlocks and extensions.
Tools that pull on your hair (like hot rollers) can also lead to this type of hair loss.
Basically, when a hairstyle tugs on your scalp, it can loosen the hair shaft from the follicle and cause loss of hair.
Traction alopecia most commonly affects Black women. A third of Black women who wear their hair in tight styles experience it at some point in their lives.
Though this form of alopecia is way less common, it’s still worth mentioning as it can cause a receding hairline in females.
Scarring alopecia (also called cicatricial alopecia) is caused by inflammation that results in the destruction of the hair follicle.
This inflammation can be caused by a variety of things, including fungal infections, chemicals found in relaxers and disorders like discoid lupus erythematosus.
The bad news: this type of alopecia is generally not reversible.
If your hairline is receding due to traction alopecia, change your hairstyle immediately so there’s no tension on your scalp.
Wear your hair down or loosen your ponytail. If you wear your hair in braids or dreadlocks, you may need to take them out to alleviate tension on the scalp.
If you use chemicals to relax your hair or hot tools (like blow dryers or curling irons), you should also take a break from those.
If you catch your traction alopecia early enough, these changes may be all you need. Over time, you may notice your hairline return to normal.
If your hair loss is more severe, you may need medication to help. Talking with a healthcare professional will help determine your treatment options.
If your follicles are infected or inflamed, you may be given an antibiotic — either a topical or oral medication.
FDA-approved minoxidil is also often prescribed. This is a topical medication applied directly to where you’re dealing with hair loss.
If you’re dealing with scarring alopecia, the type of treatment you may need could be more complicated.
Since there may be permanent hair loss with scarring alopecia, you may need to opt for hair transplant surgery to restore the hair you’ve lost.
This involves transplanting hair follicles from the back and sides of your scalp to your hairline.
If you feel insecure about your receding hairline, there are hairstyles that can help cover the damage.
To hide the fact that your hairline is receding, consider styles that cover that area. Some to try:
Bangs: Long bangs that are brushed forward can hide the fact that you have sparse hair up front.
Asymmetrical Bob: Don’t want bangs? A bob that’s longer in the front with a deep side-part can give you a bang-like effect.
Front Layers: Wispy front layers will distract and draw attention away from your hairline.
Waves: Stick straight hair won’t hide a thing. But loose waves that float around your face can distract and cover.
Though not as common as with men, a receding hairline in women is possible.
Hairstyles that put pressure on your scalp can lead to a receding hairline, also called traction alopecia. Scarring alopecia, a more rare condition, can also cause female hair loss.
If you do notice that your hairline is receding, contact a healthcare professional as soon as possible to discuss hair loss treatments and what you can do to achieve healthy hair again.
This will give you the best chance of preventing further damage and encouraging hair regrowth.
In the meantime, there are several hairstyles you can choose to help conceal your receding hairline. Of course, that’s if you don’t want to toss caution to the wind and just own it.
Whichever route you go — whatever path you take — all we want you to know is that you’re beautiful just the way you are, and we’re here to support you and your beautiful self in any way we can.
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