A receding hairline is generally associated with advanced or advancing age. However, many teenagers develop receding hairlines, especially at or near the end of puberty when hormones–most notably testosterone and human growth hormone–are at maximum levels. Receding hairlines are generally the first signs of male pattern baldness, a genetic form of hair loss that can sometimes progress to total baldness.
Driven by hormonal factors and influences, receding hairlines in teens (as well as in older individuals) generally start in the temporal regions of the scalp and slowly progress. As a receding hairline progresses, the natural hairline is altered, producing more of a v-shaped hairline that’s commonly referred to as a widow’s peak.
Many falsehoods and misconceptions exist regarding teenagers with receding hairlines. One of the most popular ones is that a receding hairline in a teenager is caused by wearing a hat; that continuous wearing of a hat or cap restricts blood flow to the scalp and causes hair follicles to die, resulting in a receding hairline. This belief has been scientifically proven to be false. Receding hairlines in teenagers or adults are caused by genetic factors.
Depending on the genetic makeup of a teenager with a receding hairline, a receding hairline may recede to a certain point and then stop–or it may continue to recede and progress to total male pattern baldness. Predicting the course of a receding hairline in a teenager is difficult. Studying the hairlines and hair counts of close male relatives may offer a teenager the most accurate predictor of his likely hair loss progression.
Most teenagers with receding hairlines present with hairlines that recede in a uniform, or symmetrical, manner. That is, the hairline of a typical teenager recedes evenly, on both sides of the scalp, at roughly the same rate and speed. However, there are teenagers who experience uneven or asymmetrical patterns of hairline recession. This type of receding hairline is marked by significant recession on one side of the scalp but not on the other. This type of receding hairline is less common and usually balances out as hair loss becomes more extensive.