What Causes Widow’s Peak Hair?

Steven Seagal has a prominent widow's peak hairline

Steven Seagal has a prominent widow's peak hairline (Wikimedia Image)

Leonardo DiCaprio, Keanu Reeves, Steven Seagal and John Travalota, what do they have in common? Besides being handsome Hollywood superstars, all three have similar hairline. The ‘V’ shape at the center of their heads, popularly known as ‘widow’s peak’, gives a unique and mysterious look to these stars. Look around and you will find both men and women with such a pointed hairline.

While many attribute this natural hair style to particular personalities, historical references suggest that a woman with such a hairline will outlive her husband because the shape is identical to a peaked hood worn by women in mourning. This is why the name ‘widow’s peak’.

However, both men and women can have a widow’s peak hairline and no particular trend either related to deaths of their spouses or personality trait has been observed with those possessing it.

It’s only Hollywood which has used the trait to indicate dark inner qualities or evil character. Whether it’s serial killer Hannibal Lecter or Batman’s foe, the Joker, they all have got widow’s peak to signify wickedness. Some actresses, including Marilyn Monroe, Drew Barrymore and Sandra Bullock have also got widow’s peak but this feature of theirs has not been fully exploited.

Genetics of widow’s peak hair

Largely, researchers believe that widow’s peak is linked to genetics. However, even this has been categorized as a myth by another small group of scientists who say that the theory has not been proved in field. But since no further work has been done in this area, not much is known about the real and definite cause.

It is believed that widow’s peak is a classic sign of male-pattern baldness. Men with this disorder have a receding frontline from the corners and hence the front becomes more prominent. The condition progresses with age but even men in their 20s can have widow’s peak.

Men are genetically predisposed to male pattern baldness. The level of dihydrotestosterone or DHT, which is a byproduct of the male hormone testosterone, builds up in their scalps resulting in hair loss. DHT not only blocks nutrients from reaching the hair follicles, it also reduces the size of these follicles resulting in thinning of hair. Hence, follicles keep shrinking and in the end become permanently inactive.

Heredity is the main reason for a person to be predisposed towards baldness and genes from both paternal and maternal sides decide your chances of getting bald. The greater the number of bald people in your ancestry, the greater are the chances of you experiencing hair loss.[ad#co-1]

Possible treatment

Doctors generally use an over-the-counter topical treatment called Minoxidil which can actually help slow the rate of hair loss and also grow new hair in selected cases. Other oral medications may be more effective but have adverse impact on sexual functioning. However, none of the treatment options have long lasting benefits.

Currently, doctors are relying more on hair transplants and other methods of hair improvement rather than medications for greater effect.

Transplant surgery requires removal of hair follicles from back of the head and its transplantation to the areas which has less or no hair. Back-of-head hair follicles are used because it is believed they are not affected by the action of DHT.

The transplanted follicles again sprout healthy hair while the back of the head from where the follicles are retrieved also gets back the normal look on its own.

Genetics of widow’s peak notwithstanding, many don’t consider it as botheration and they flaunt their widow’s peak with elan Who would actually want Leonardo DiCaprio to do away with his widow peak when we know that it lends a unique appeal to his face and personality?[ad#afterpost]