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Reviewed by Katelyn Hagerty, FNP
Written by Our Editorial Team
Have you ever brushed your hair back, tied it into a ponytail and noticed that the hair near your temples is looking a little thin?
Although hair loss is generally something we associate with men, the reality is that hair thinning is also something that can affect women.
In fact, research shows that less than 45 percent of women keep a full head of locks throughout life.
The good news is that if you’re starting to develop some hair thinning around your temples, there’s a good chance you can stop it from worsening by taking action quickly.
Read on to learn why hair thinning occurs in women, as well as the most likely causes of hair thinning around your temples.
We’ve also shared what you can do to prevent your hair thinning from worsening, as well as the best ways to stimulate hair growth by your temples, hairline and scalp.
Hair loss can be a frustrating experience, especially when you’re unsure of the cause.
There are several different health conditions and habits that can lead to hair thinning around your temples.
Some of these are genetic and hormonal in nature, while others may have a connection to the way you style and care for your hair.
In women, one of the most common causes of hair thinning is androgenetic alopecia, or female pattern hair loss.
Female pattern hair loss is similar to the male pattern hair loss that develops in men. It’s caused by a combination of genetic factors and slow, gradual damage to your hair follicles from androgen hormones.
If you’re prone to androgenic alopecia, these hormones may bind to receptors in your scalp and cause your hair follicles to slowly shrink until they stop producing new hairs.
Sometimes, female pattern hair loss can develop due to conditions that affect your production of androgen hormones, such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).
Unlike male pattern baldness, which usually causes a receding hairline or bald spot around the crown of the scalp, female pattern baldness usually causes you to shed hair from your part line, or develop diffuse thinning that affects your entire scalp.
Since this type of hair loss is permanent, it’s important to take action quickly if you notice your part line or other areas of your hair starting to thin.
Another form of hair loss that can affect women is traction alopecia, also sometimes referred to as ponytail hair loss.
Traction alopecia develops when your hair follicles are subject to constant tension, usually from a tight hairstyle.
If you wear your hair in a tight ponytail, braids, dreadlocks or often sleep with it tightly bound in rollers, you may start to notice this type of hair loss developing.
Most of the time, traction alopecia develops as small white or flesh-colored bumps around each hair follicle.
Over time, you may start to develop thinning and hair loss around your hairline and temples, as well as other areas that are subject to lots of pulling pressure.
When traction alopecia is severe, it may cause permanent hair thinning around your hairline and temples.
As such, it’s important to treat this form of hair loss as soon as you can once you start to notice early symptoms.
Telogen effluvium is a type of temporary hair loss that’s caused by infections, fever-inducing illnesses, infections, surgery, hormonal changes, trauma, thyroid conditions, nutritional deficiencies and physical or emotional stress.
Although telogen effluvium can cause hair thinning, it usually takes the form of diffuse hair loss that affects your entire scalp, not just the areas around your temples.
Telogen effluvium most often improves over time, especially after you treat the underlying condition.
Sometimes, other health issues or hair care habits may cause you to develop hair thinning and hair loss that affects your temples, hairline or other parts of your scalp.
For example, it’s common and normal to experience some degree of hair thinning when you’re pregnant, or if you’re entering menopause.
Some medications may also contribute to hair loss, including thinning that may affect your temples.
This guide to female hair loss goes into more detail about the types of hair loss, as well as the most common signs you may notice if you’re starting to lose hair.
When it comes to treating and preventing thinning around your temples and hairline, the earlier you catch it and take action, the better.
Here are three ways to treat and prevent hair thinning near your temples, ranging from over-the-counter products to styling techniques and even cosmetic procedures.
Minoxidil is a topical medication for hair loss. It works by stimulating blood flow to your scalp and moving your hair follicles into the anagen (active growth) phase of the hair growth cycle.
If you’re starting to notice hair thinning around your temples, hairline or elsewhere, using minoxidil is one of the easiest and most effective ways to stimulate regrowth and prevent your hair loss from getting worse.
Minoxidil works, but it can take between three and six months before you’ll be able to see changes such as hair growth by the temples and hairline, or overall hair density.
If you’ve noticed some loss of hair around your temples and hairline without any changes in the density or thickness of your scalp hair, you might have traction alopecia.
Since this form of hair loss is caused by follicular damage associated with overly tight hairstyles, the best way to prevent it from worsening is to avoid any hairstyles that put tension on your hair follicles.
This means that you’ll want to give up tight ponytails, braids, cornrows and heavy locks, at least while your hair recovers.
It’s also best to avoid using hair rollers or other products that can pull on your hair roots, especially if you normally leave them in for long periods of time.
When your hair thinning becomes severe, it may not be possible to treat it with medication or by changing your hair care routine.
If you have extensive hair thinning around your temples and hairline, your best bet for treating it may be hair transplantation surgery.
This type of procedure involves harvesting donor hairs from the areas of your scalp that haven’t been affected by pattern hair loss, then moving them to your temples, hairline or part line to add extra fullness and density.
Done right, a female hair transplant surgery can restore your hairline’s fullness and reverse the effects of female pattern hair loss or traction alopecia.
Hair transplant surgery isn’t cheap; on average, it can cost several thousand dollars to restore a thinning hairline or add fullness to your temples.
However, if your hair loss is affecting the way you feel about your appearance, it may be worth considering.
Hair thinning can take a major toll on your self-confidence and quality of life, especially when it affects a highly visible area like your temples or hairline.
If your temples are starting to look less dense (or really, if you’re seeing your skin at your temples much more), it’s best to take action as soon as you can.
For more information on women’s hair thinning and minoxidil, check out this guide on minoxidil for female hair loss, which covers all you need to know about the most effective women’s hair loss treatment on the market today.
And for your best results, you may want to consult with a healthcare professional to discuss what may be causing your hair loss, and see what course of action may be right for you.
Kate Hagerty is a board-certified Family Nurse Practitioner with over a decade of healthcare experience. She has worked in critical care, community health, and as a retail health provider.
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