There are many factors going into the state of our hair. Where might have once been a full bed of hair, you may realize there is now much less, or it may appear thinner and further from your forehead. It can be unnerving to see a part of you change so much, especially if it is a completely different change in our appearance, such as an M shaped hairline. However, our hairlines naturally change over the course of time. There can be many factors attributed to a change in our hairlines, such as age, sun exposure, hormone changes, stress, lifestyle changes or simply genetics. In the case of many men who have seen a shift in their normal hairline, they may find themselves experiencing a maturing hairline.
What is a Mature Hairline?
A hairline is the point where your hair stops growing, in most cases a point on a person’s forehead. The hairline will vary from person to person, with different people having different shapes and locations for their hairline. Similar to the rest of the human body, these hairlines go through shifts in life, as we age and due to many other factors. When a juvenile hairline shifts back, in most cases it becomes considered a mature hairline. A mature hairline is a sign of the body’s development, often having more of a shape than the hairline one might have had in their younger years.
A juvenile hairline is most often found in boys, a full head of hair sitting atop the head of many teenagers. In rare cases, men may not lose their juvenile hairlines. To test if you still have a juvenile hairline yourself, wrinkle your forehead in front of a mirror. If your hairline reaches the top wrinkle, that is an indicator of a juvenile hairline. Additionally, one can distinguish a juvenile hairline by the shape of their hairline. If your hairline is generally rounded and forms a straight line against your forehead, it is juvenile. As your hairline gains development with the rest of your body and becomes mature, it will form more of a V or M shape, with a sharp peak in the middle which then proceeds to scale back.
A mature hairline will look different on everyone. Like any form of puberty, some people will mature faster than others, with some doing so harder than others as well. Between the age of 17 and 30, most men will be able to see their hairline starting to mature. As the hairline matures, it will shift backwards about an inch or so. It will lose the straight across shape your juvenile hairline had and begin to take more of an M shape. This is a simple part of aging, similar to growing taller and nothing to be concerned about.
Why a Hairline Matures
As mentioned before, the hairline matures as the body does during puberty. As an individual goes through puberty, their hormones and testosterone cause changes to your hair just as they do to the rest of you. The body produces dihydrotestosterone (DHT) as it metabolizes the testosterone, which then goes on to trigger a shift to the hairline. DHT, the cause of hair growth on the human body, binds to your hair follicles. As this binding causes the hair follicles to decline, the hair begins to fall out. Genetics play a big part in determining just how much hair you lose, but for the most part, all men and many women will lose hair during the course of puberty. For the most part, the hair loss and shift in the hairline as you grow is natural, though there are other attributes leading to hair loss than just a maturing hairline.
How to Tell if You Have a Maturing, Balding or Receding Hairline
The appearance of a mature hairline will vary from person to person. Generally, most hairline shifts from the ages of your teens to early thirties can be attributed to a mature hairline and are not cause for concern. Mature hairline examples include having your hairline shift from a straight line to becoming more of an M shape and shifting backwards by an inch or around an inch and a half. A mature hairline should not be thinning or shifting backwards by more than the space outlined earlier. To test if your hairline is maturing, settle yourself in front of a mirror. Then, in a similar manner to the test for the juvenile hairline, try wrinkling your forehead again if need be. The space between your hairline and the highest wrinkle on your forehead should form around the size of an inch. If this rings true, you most likely have a mature hairline. If the space between your highest wrinkle and your hairline is extensive, it may be time to start looking into a receding or balding hairline to understand if you are exhibiting the signs of a more drastic mature hairline or are experiencing a different type of hairline.
It is easy to panic about balding as soon as you begin to notice your hairline start to shift back as it matures. You would not be the first and most definitely not the last to confuse a mature hairline with a receding or balding one. However, there are ways to distinguish between the three.
As mentioned earlier, a mature hairline has several distinguishing features. This is a normal part of aging and the hair withdrawal associated with it is not a cause for concern. The mature hairline:
- Generally occurs during the general years of late puberty and as the body matures. As a general idea, usually occurs between the age of 17 and 30.
- The hair does not begin to thin.
- A mature hairline should not result in a drastic loss of a large amount of hair.
- The hairline should not withdraw more than roughly around an inch back.
A mature hairline may cause those attached to their hair a bit of panic if they misinterpret it as balding. If you are concerned or simply confused about whether you are experiencing male pattern baldness, there are steps you can take to identify a balding hairline using the Norwood Scale. Developed by Dr. James Hamilton and Dr. O’Tar Norwood, the Norwood Scale has seven different stages to identify male pattern baldness and its progression. The steps, or stages as the Scale refers to them, are as follows:
- The start. Referred to as the “control stage” at this point, there is no prominent hair loss. Often going unnoticed, those who are concerned with male pattern baldness will most likely have progressed to a further stage.
- The second stage is more reminiscent of the aforementioned signs of a maturing hairline. At this point, the hairline is simply receding as a maturing hairline does during its development.
- Again, this stage has similar parts to the signs of a maturing hairline. At this point, the hairline continues to withdraw and forms an M shape as it does during the formation of a mature hairline.
- Here, the hairline prominently begins to differentiate itself from a maturing hairline. Opposite to the mature hairline, this stage will often be accompanied by a large amount of hair loss. Rather than the hairline forming an M shape, it will more likely resemble more of a U. The hair loss and shift in the shape of the hairline will be paired with a bald spot on the crown, though there will still be a section of hair between the front and crown.
- This stage will be a more drastic version of the step before it. The hair mentioned to be between the crown will likely have thinned and become much more reduced.
- The remaining hair on the head will have been reduced to the sides, the aforementioned portion on the front and crown gone for the most part. The M shape from a maturing hairline will most definitely have become a U shape at this point.
- There will be little remaining hair during the final stage. What hair does remain will be thin and weak. The individual at this stage will be almost completely bald.
To summarize, the mature hairline vs balding:
- A mature hairline will have an M shape, the balding hairline will have a U shape.
- A mature hairline should not be accompanied by thinning hair, a balding hairline will have hair thinning and weakening.
- A mature hairline will not withdraw more than an inch or lose a large amount of hair, a balding hairline will have a large amount of reduction.
Not having a mature hairline does not necessarily mean your hair is completely balding. There remains an in between with the receding hairline. The mature hairline vs receding hairline will have several differences:
- A mature hairline’s similarities to the Norwood Scale end around stage 3. A receding hairline will be around stage 3 or higher.
- A mature hairline will not withdraw more than roughly an inch. A receding hairline will withdraw more.
- A mature hairline happens overtime as the body matures. A receding hairline will be far more noticeable and occur faster.
How to Deal With a Maturing Hairline:
A mature hairline is natural. However, if you wish to address it, here are some tips:
- Remember you are not the first or last man this happens to. It is natural and could even be a bonding point with others.
- Try a new hairstyle. A new look is a great way to instil more confidence if you have doubts about your hairline.
- Consult a healthcare specialist if you find yourself insecure. Getting a prescription for medication such as Phoenix hair loss treatments offers a discreet way to address any potential self-consciousness.
This blog post is for educational purposes only and does not constitute medical or other professional advice. Your specific circumstances should be discussed with a healthcare provider. All statements of opinion represent the writers' judgement at the time of publication and are subject to change. Phoenix and its affiliates provide no express or implied endorsements of third parties or their advice, opinions, information, products, or services.