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Mature Hairline Vs. Receding Hairline: How to Know the Difference

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"I’m going bald!” My husband will lament a couple of times each year. “You are not going bald.” I respond, straight-faced. “I am. I am definitely going bald. I am just going to shave my head.” He will say, determined. “Don’t you dare.” I threaten. I am not sure what I am threatening, but I am the oldest child of five and now have two of my own children. I know how to sound menacing, even with zero actionable items behind me. 

I am serious, though, when I tell him he is not going bald. He has what many people our age have - a mature hairline. It is not the most exciting part of aging, like watching your car insurance rates drop or getting a senior discount on movie tickets, but it is certainly not the worst. Ultimately, a mature hairline versus a receding hairline can be a troubling difference to navigate. Below you will find some tips that might help.  

Table of Contents:  

  • Mature Hairline Vs. Receding Hairline  
  • 5 Ways to Tell the Difference Between a Mature Hairline and a Receding Hairline 
  • Approaches to Controlling or Managing Hair Loss  
  • Self Care and Self Love  

Mature Hairline Vs. Receding Hairline 

95% of us have a mature hairline. It is a natural part of aging. When we are young, most of us have full heads of healthy hair. At the age of 25, however, we begin to lose collagen, which supports our joints, nails, and hair. Thus, our hair has fewer resources upon which to draw, so it gradually thins out and moves back a bit. It is seldom even noticeable. Your hairline may recede an inch or an inch and a half over a decade. Then it stops, and you will have that more mature hairline for the rest of your life.  

On the other hand, a receding hairline continues to recede from your original hairline. Your widow’s peak will grow deeper, your hair will draw back to your scalp and beyond. This process also typically occurs more quickly and more noticeably. It is a part of the process of male or female pattern baldness. For women, hair loss occurs as a result of many factors. Approximately one-third of women have hair loss at some point in their lives, and among postmenopausal women, around two-thirds experience thinning or bald spots. Often, however, if you have not experienced menopause yet, your hair loss may be triggered by something environmental and not a long-term condition over which to worry.  

5 Ways to Tell the Difference Between a Mature Hairline and a Receding Hairline 

1. Excess Hair Loss 

The biggest indicator that you are experiencing a receding hairline linked to long-term hair loss is excessive loss of hair, usually in the shower or when you brush your hair. Yes, humans typically lose about 100 strands of hair a day, but if you notice it is much more than that, you are likely dealing with some form of legitimate hair loss versus a mere mature hairline transition. 

2. Lots of Light, Fine Hairs 

When you are undergoing a receding hairline, you will notice an obvious patch of superfine, light hairs below your hairline. Of course, it is typical to have fine light hairs on your body and even under your hairline, but this patch will be obvious and it will be rather large.  

3. The Great Recession 

With both a receding hairline and a mature hairline, you will witness your hairline receding, or pulling back from its original, juvenile line. With a mature hairline, however, the recession will be minimal, as I said, perhaps not even noticeable to some. With a receding hairline, there is no ignoring it. Your previously rounded or straight across hairline will shift into a deeper M shape or a deeper widow’s peak. Eventually, the recession will become extremely pronounced.  

4. Even Recession 

Typically, with a mature hairline, the recession will be gradual and even. If you have a widow’s peak, it will merely move slowly back a bit further. If you have a straight or rounded hairline, it will slowly pull back. Male or female pattern baldness is characterized by more rapid and uneven recessions and transitions.  

5. Minimal Recession 

With a mature hairline, the recession is at most 1.5 inches above the highest wrinkle on your forehead, and it does not move from there. Again, a mature hairline gradually recedes, slowly and minimally, and then stays in that position for the rest of your life.  

Approaches to Controlling or Managing Hair Loss 

If you are worried about it, you can always check in with your doctor. But whether you have a mature hairline or a receding one, it is helpful to remember that you are not alone. 95% of us will have a mature hairline at some point in our aging process, and, again, one-third of women do experience hair loss in their lifetimes. What this statistic does not tell you, though, is that much of women’s hair loss is not permanent.  

Often, women lose hair because of environmental factors like toxins in their products, stress, or poor diet. Even smoking can cause hair loss. Get yourself, and your products into tip-top shape, and you can often stop hair loss and even reverse it.  

Begin with one simple step, like getting a good night’s sleep. Evaluate your diet, adding in one or two of your favorite fruits or vegetables each day. Drink one extra glass of water a day. All of these simple changes can help you manage stress and build a healthy and nutritious diet into your life, which can contribute to strong healthy hair that stays in place! 

Self Care and Self Love 

The above tips are just the beginning of what it takes to practice real, long-lasting self-care that places you at the center of your own life. You have undoubtedly heard the expression before: if you don’t have your health, you don’t have anything. Hair loss can be, for many women, an early indicator that they need to practice better self-care that includes learning to nurture themselves. When ignored, hair loss can also be a sign of a serious health problem, so pay attention and seek help if you need it.  

In the end, all the self-care in the world will not help you though, if you cannot simply accept yourself for who you are. With a strong self-care practice in place, accompanied by a solid sense of self-love, you can turn any experience into a gift. Intense stress is making you lose your hair? Time for a career change! Going bald? It’s time to invest in some fabulous wigs! It does not have to be so extreme, of course, but you get the point. You can rock any situation you find yourself in if you believe in yourself, and you should believe in yourself. You are, after all, worth it.

Shanna Mendez

Shanna Mathews Mendez is a freelance writer and blogger on topics related to self-care, naturopathy, female empowerment, and motherhood. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and children, where she enjoys traveling, being active outdoors, and studying herbalism and plant-based remedies in her free time. Drawing on her graduate degree in comparative literature and her own life experiences, she is currently writing her first book. She can be found online at her website thewordywitch.com

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