A topic which causes great confusion and anxiety for some patients and physicians is the natural changes in the hairline that all humans experience between ages 17-28. This has been called “hairline maturation” and the phenomenon occurs in both males and females. The precise changes have been better described in males (....mainly becuse female hairlines are far far more complex). I would like to add that the concept of hairline maturation does not cause confusion and anxiety in some people because they have never even heard of it.
The hairline we get as adults is called a “mature hairline” and is not the same hairline we get as children (called a juvenile hairline). It’s challenging sometimes to determine if a patient has hairline maturation (HLM) or actually has male balding (AGA) ... or has both (HLM + AGA)! In general, hairline maturation moves the hairline just a little bit back. One can figure out if a male has HLM or AGA by performing the forehead wrinkle test.If one wrinkles their forehead upward, the normal hairline in young males attached to the upper wrinkles. Hairline maturation moves it back further (about one finger breadth) and male balding moves it even further. The changes for HLM are about two finger breadths in the temple area and anything more is likely suggestive of AGA.
This picture here shows a cartoon I created over decade ago. It shows a “bird’s eye” view of the scalp. One can see a normal juvenile hairline on the left, a mature hairline in the middle and hairline with balding on the right.
Dr. Jeff Donovan is a Canadian and US board certified dermatologist specializing exclusively in hair loss. To schedule a consultation, please call the Whistler office at 604.283.1887