What Factors Affect Hairline Shape?

Erin J. Hill

The primary factor which determines a person's hairline shape is genetics. Everyone is born with a particular shape, and this can't be changed without cutting or altering the hair in some way. Laser hair removal can be done, but in most cases, hairline shape doesn't make a big difference in one's appearance unless the hair is very short. Occasionally, someone may have an especially steep widow's peak hairline, pattern baldness, or another irregular shapes. Most issues can be covered with the proper hair cut and styling.

The widow’s peak hairline is defined by a sharp point near the center of the hairline along the forehead.
The widow’s peak hairline is defined by a sharp point near the center of the hairline along the forehead.

Hairline shape is an inherited trait passed down from parents to their offspring. In most cases, the hairline is nothing particularly noticeable. Especially in women, the hair typically grows around the line and can be styled in a way to mask an undesirable hairline shape. Most individuals don't pay much attention to their hairlines. The exception to this are those who have hair growth patterns which are unusual or those who have receding hairlines.

Wigs may be worn to change the appearance of one's hairline.
Wigs may be worn to change the appearance of one's hairline.

Widow's peaks, cowlicks, and double crown hairlines are unusual patterns which may occur. They are all genetic, and certain hairstyles may be needed to mask their appearance. Whether or not a person will have a particular hairline pattern will depend on his or her parents. A widow's peak, for instance, occurs when one or both parents carry the dominant gene for this hair formation. Since this hairline presentation is a dominant trait, only one parent has to be a carrier.

Research has identified smoking as a clear risk factor for male-pattern baldness in Asian men.
Research has identified smoking as a clear risk factor for male-pattern baldness in Asian men.

A skilled stylist or hairdresser will know how to cut hair for those with an unusual hairline shape so that the issue is less noticeable. Most undesirable growth patterns can be concealed by using certain hair styles. This isn't always true, and some may wish to look into reshaping their hairlines with hair transplants and other procedures. Such procedures are not commonly used for this reason, but those with exceptionally unusual hair growth patterns may benefit.

Male pattern baldness can have a significant affect on hairline shape.
Male pattern baldness can have a significant affect on hairline shape.

Another issue which can affect hairline shape is a receding hairline or pattern baldness. It has long been thought that this condition is entirely genetic, and used to be thought that men acquired the gene for baldness from their mothers. Women can also be affected, although less frequently. Newer studies indicate that pattern baldness is related to hormones, namely androgens. Many still consider the condition to be at least partly due to genetics because those with parents or close relatives who are bald appear to be more likely to become bald themselves.

Hairline shape is an inherited trait passed down from parents to their offspring.
Hairline shape is an inherited trait passed down from parents to their offspring.

Treatment for pattern baldness may include over the counter products, including foams and shampoos. These items have medication which may help regrow hair. Another common treatment is hair transplant, which is a surgical procedure that inserts hair into individual follicles.

A receding hairline may begin as a thinning of hair on either side of the forehead.
A receding hairline may begin as a thinning of hair on either side of the forehead.
Men who are experiencing a receding hairline may benefit from drug treatment.
Men who are experiencing a receding hairline may benefit from drug treatment.

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