Temple hair loss: a sign of androgenic alopecia

Published on December 4, 2020
Updated on December 4, 2020
arrows pointing to temple hair loss on a man's head
Temple hair loss, which can resemble an exaggerated widow's peak, is one of the first signs of androgenic alopecia

When hair falls out and doesn’t grow back, it’s usually easy to notice. However, hair loss isn’t usually just a one-step process. 

Male pattern baldness, also known as androgenic alopecia, is gradual and occurs in stages. If you’re experiencing temple hair loss, it’s likely that you might be showing signs of androgenic alopecia, too. 

Signs of temple hair loss

As we get older, our hair changes. Loss of volume, some amount of thinning, and other similar problems are all a normal part of aging. However, this doesn’t mean that all hair loss is normal, or that it should be ignored. 

According to a study in the Journal of Cutaneous and Aesthetic Surgery, hair loss occurs in stages. Being able to identify the very first stages of androgenic alopecia — like temple hair loss — can help prevent serious hair loss and baldness. 

If your hair loss is linked to androgenic alopecia, you’ll likely experience a few different issues. It’s possible for several of these problems to occur simultaneously. 

Watch out for thinning hair

Fragile, thin hair is one of the first indicators of male pattern hair loss. If the hair around your temples isn’t as strong as the hair on the rest of your head, you may actually be seeing one of the very first signs of temple hair loss.

As hair loss progresses, you’ll also find that the hair around your temples looks thinner and less dense than the hair on the rest of your head. When this happens, the hair strands on and around your temples are actually getting thinner. 

When these hairs are so thin that they become fragile, they often break — resulting in wispy, short hairs. The reduction in the size and length of these hair strands can make that area look like it has less hair or less volume. 

Of course, some of these hairs fall out – which is a natural part of the hair growth cycle. On a healthy scalp, a new hair strand would grow back whenever a hair is lost, so this temporary hair loss is no big deal. But in male pattern hair loss, these hairs gradually get thinner and thinner over time. At a certain point, they eventually fall out and stop growing back entirely.

Keep an eye on your hairline 

A receding hairline can be a normal part of aging, but it can also be the first stage of male pattern hair loss. Hair loss around the temples is usually the next stage that follows. 

If you notice that your hairline is receding and the hair around your temples is getting thinner or starting to fall out, talk to your doctor immediately. This is actually the ideal time to start looking into hair loss treatment, as it’s much easier to manage hair loss if it’s treated early on.

Treatments for hair loss 

Although androgenic alopecia occurs in stages, it’s not like hair loss only occurs in one area of your head at a time. It’s possible for hair loss to occur around the hairline, crown, and temples simultaneously.

If hair loss is allowed to progress, you’d eventually end up with balding temples and a bald spot on the crown of your head. Eventually, you’d start to lose hair all over the top of your head. Hair would only remain at the lower sides (above your ears) and around the back of your head. Hair loss that’s progressed to this extent can be very hard to treat, so it’s important to address the problem as soon as you notice it. 

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved several treatments for male pattern hair loss, including minoxidil, finasteride, and low-level laser therapy. According to studies in Lasers in Surgery and Medicine and the Journal of Dermatological Treatment:

  • Low-level laser therapy works by impacting the hair growth cycle — prompting the follicles to produce new hair, increasing hair growth rates, and preventing any disruptions to the cycle that could induce hair growth.

Since all of these treatments work in different ways, it’s best to talk to your doctor about which option might work best for you. Some people might even want to try multiple treatment strategies simultaneously.

Do these treatments work for temple hair loss?

Hair loss treatments work all over your scalp. However, some treatments, like minoxidil, are applied topically. They’re consequently most effective around the area where they’re applied. The FDA recommends applying minoxidil to the crown of your head as that is likely where you’d see the most improvement in hair growth.

That being said, treatments like minoxidil should technically work in other regions, too, including your temples and hairline. For instance, this study from the British Journal of Dermatology reported that minoxidil worked at both the crown and the front of the head. However, applying minoxidil to these areas is not usually recommended.

Most research on minoxidil has focused on the crown and surrounding areas of the scalp. The FDA consequently recommends that you apply minoxidil to these specific regions, where they’ve been shown to be most effective. 

As research progresses, minoxidil may eventually be recommended for use around other parts of the scalp. It may even be recommended for other types of hair loss and multiple parts of the body.


If you’ve noticed that you’re starting to experience temple hair loss, you’re actually very lucky. It’s one of the first signs of male pattern hair loss. 

Keep an eye out for thin, fragile hair, hair shedding, a receding hairline, and hair loss around the top of your head. These are also symptoms of male pattern hair loss. 

When seen in combination with temple hair loss, these are all signs that your hair loss is progressing. It’s easy to treat hair loss symptoms like these early on, but options can be limited once hair loss progresses to a later stage.

This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. The information contained herein is not a substitute for and should never be relied upon for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment.


Latest Articles

What are hair fibers (AKA hair-building fibers)?

What are hair fibers (AKA hair-building fibers)?

Hair fiber sprays and powders are cosmetic filler products that are used to make hair look thicker, fuller, and more voluminous. They do nothing to help with hair regrowth, but are a great stop-gap solution while you wait for your hair loss treatment to start working.

What is a stem cell hair transplant?

What is a stem cell hair transplant?

There are two types of stem cell transplants used to treat hair loss: adipose-derived stem cell hair transplants, which use fat cells, and follicle-derived stem cell hair transplants, which use cells that come from hair follicles. Adipose-derived transplants can help people with multiple types of hair loss, while follicular transplants are still fairly experimental.

Hair miniaturization (What it is and how to fix it)

Hair miniaturization (What it is and how to fix it)

Hair miniaturization is a process in which hair strands gradually become thinner, weaker, and shorter. Below the skin, the follicles that produce these hair strands and slowly shrinking. This gradual process occurs in androgenetic alopecia.

Share This

Share this post with your friends!