Baldness is a broad term. Most of us lose between 75 and 100 strands of hair per day, with regrowth occurring in about 12 weeks. But then there are millions of people all over the world—men and women—who don’t get those strands back, or lose more than 100 per day, or both. Be it by genetics, injury, illness, or a host of other catalysts, baldness is an epidemic that most victims resign themselves to. By no means does this need to be the case. Since the early 1950s hair transplant surgery has made tremendous strides to help regrow natural hair quickly and rather painlessly.
Getting back to different types of baldness, we can count 13 right off the tops of our heads (sorry), but perhaps the most common is pattern baldness, or Androgenic Alopecia. Scientifically, it is described as the loss or thinning of hair on the head’s crown or hairline shrinking from the temples. This is the type of baldness that hair restoration surgeons regularly treat. It is also the type that often starts with hairline design.
The importance of getting the hairline right
As any hair transplant surgeon knows, people of different genders and ethnic backgrounds have their own unique follicular units that often must be extracted in their own unique way. For example, people with curly hair tend to have follicles which exit the scalp in one direction, while just beneath the surface, they bend in another direction. This requires the transplant surgeon to extract the follicles from an angle different from, say, individuals with straight or diagonal hair.
Their hairlines are also different—yours, mine, and ours. And because transplant surgeons restore so many different types of hairlines from patient to patient, knowing what’s going to provide them with the best look is important. For instance, a surgeon may not recommend a straight hairline to a middle-aged Caucasian man; nor would he choose to leave a female patient’s hairline too high on the forehead. Hairline restoration differs depending on the patient. Getting it right could mean the difference between successful hair transplant surgery and…well, what doesn’t look so successful.
In fact the proposed hairline is usually the first step in any transplant procedure. It also defines how the rest of the surgery goes. Properly designed hairlines act as a frame for the face. This is one reason so many surgeons are careful about studying a patient’s facial structure before they draw up the hairline.
Another aesthetic challenge for hairline restoration has to do with the number of donor grafts that get used for the hairline as compared to what goes toward the back of the scalp. What doctors do not want is to develop a thick hairline that recedes as it moves back; rather, they craft just the opposite, so the results look as natural as possible.
Sometimes patients request hairlines that are not suitable for their specific physical makeup. They ask for designs that may be too low or too wide, or some other look that simply would not be beneficial for them. Here the surgeon must carefully explain why a specific hairline would be unacceptable, or not aesthetically pleasing. Inexperienced surgeons sometimes choose to go ahead with the procedure anyway, and regret doing so later on.
Which kind of hairline is best for me?
Don’t worry—your transplant surgeon will determine that. Initial consultations consist of a physical exam that helps the clinic draw up a plan for your treatment. The clinic will also want to know what your expectations are. Here you can make suggestions for the kind of hairline you hope to get. Some types of hairlines an experienced surgeon will be able to restore or create are:
- High hairline
- Middle hairline
- Low hairline
- Widow’s peak
- Triangular hairline
- Straight hairline
Just remember that, as a patient, don’t necessarily expect your doctor to acquiesce to your wishes straight away. During the aforementioned physical exam, an experienced surgeon will discover the right hairline for you, and doubtless attempt to steer you in that direction. Try not to be too stubborn. Instead, trust in a professional’s opinion.
Can I change my hairline?
As a matter of fact you can. Styling, shaving, and laser treatment are just a few of the choices available for this. And of course, a hair transplant can alter the shape of your hairline. This would likely be done through the extraction of donor hairs in back of the scalp.
You’ll likely hear lots of options during your consultation. Sometimes it turns out that transplant surgery isn’t necessary at all. If you’re under a lot of stress, mention it to your doctor. Certain kinds of medication can also cause hair loss.
A receding hairline is no cause to be despondent. With today’s technology, hair restoration is better than it’s ever been. Consult your doctor for more information.