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What you need to know about the skin at the crown of your head

Scalp care is a part of skincare, too!

Curology Team Avatar
by Curology Team
Updated on Dec 14, 2023 • 11 min read
Medically reviewed by Erin Pate, NP-C
Crown of Head
Curology Team Avatar
by Curology Team
Updated on Dec 14, 2023 • 11 min read
Medically reviewed by Erin Pate, NP-C
We’re here to share what we know — but don’t take it as medical advice. Talk to your medical provider if you have questions.

In this article

Crown of head definition
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Skincare isn’t just about the skin on your face. The human head consists of several different regions that may experience different skincare concerns. One of these regions is the crown, or vertex, located at the highest point on your scalp towards the back of your head.

This area of the head may be affected by various health conditions, including androgenetic alopecia

Here, our licensed dermatology providers will walk you through everything you need to know about the crown of the head, including effective treatment for conditions that may affect this area. 

Crown of head definition

The crown of the head (vertex) is the topmost part of the scalp, located toward the back of the head.² Its boundaries are the mid-scalp on the front and the occipital and parietal on the sides and the back.³ You can locate the crown of your head by touching your skull’s midline and moving your fingers toward the back of your head. You’ll find the crown when you reach the highest point of your skull. 

The crown is often oval or round. It’s surrounded on the sides and at the back by the borders of the permanent zone.⁴ The hair in this area is usually arranged as a swirl or whorl, beginning from one or two centers.⁵

Functions of the crown of the head 

The main function of the crown, as part of the overall scalp, is to protect and support the tissues of your head, including the brain. It shields these tissues from physical trauma and potential bacteria that may cause infection.⁶

In addition to protecting head tissues, the crown aesthetically serves as an area where hair grows. Hair that grows on the skin on the crown of the head plays a vital role in a person’s overall look.⁷ Some conditions may result in the thinning of the hair on the crown of the head, affecting your physical appearance. 

What health conditions affect the crown of the head? 

The crown of the head is susceptible to various health conditions, including: 

Patterned hair loss (androgenetic alopecia)

This is one of the most common conditions that affect the crown. It’s usually characterized by frontal and frontoparietal recessions with an absence or sparseness of hair on the crown.⁸ The extent and severity of patterned hair loss on the crown may vary depending on the classification based on the evolutionary stage of hair loss.⁹

Alopecia areata

This is a nonscarring form of hair loss. It has a lifetime prevalence of about 2% and affects both men and women equally.¹⁰ Alopecia areata manifests as soft, round patches of total hair shaft loss but with follicular openings retained. Studies show that this condition causes hair loss in the crown due to an autoimmune attack on the hair follicles in the anagen phase¹¹—an active phase characterized by hair follicles producing hair fiber. It can last for several years.¹² The onset of the symptoms of alopecia areata often begins before the age of 30 in both men and women.

Seborrheic dermatitis

Seborrheic dermatitis is an inflammatory disease that usually occurs in areas rich in sebaceous glands, such as the frontal and crown regions of the scalp.¹³ It may also affect the face and body folds. Several factors may lead to the development of seborrheic dermatitis, including the number of lipids on the skin surface, the interplay of microscopic skin flora, and individual susceptibility.¹⁴

While this condition often appears as firm, greasy regions on the affected area, another common clinical representation of this condition is the appearance of dandruff, which is a non-inflammatory variant.¹⁵ In fact, approximately half of people who experience seborrheic dermatitis experience it as dandruff.

Psoriasis

This inflammatory and proliferative condition is characterized by the emergence of silvery scales covering erythematous (abnormal redness) plaques over the scalp and other surfaces of the body, particularly the extensor surfaces.¹⁶ Affecting approximately 0.2%-4.8% of people of all ages, studies show that psoriasis may be triggered by factors such as psychological stress, infections, alcohol abuse, obesity, and smoking. In patients with psoriasis, injuries to the skin in the form of chemical, mechanical, or radiational traumas may lead to lesions of psoriasis at that site.¹⁷

Certain drugs, such as beta-blockers, lithium, steroids, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), may worsen psoriasis.¹⁸ As such, you should consult with a licensed dermatology provider before choosing a medication to treat this condition. 

Scalp ringworm (tinea capitis)

Tinea capitis (scalp ringworm) is a fungal infection of the scalp hair. It’s caused by fungi (dermatophyte species) that penetrate hair follicles’ outer root shoot and may invade the hair shaft.¹⁹ Transmission of infection occurs via direct contact with organisms from animals, humans, or the soil. It may also occur indirectly through fomites (hair brushes, hats, etc.).²⁰

Tinea capitis divides into inflammatory and non-inflammatory. Inflammatory tinea capitis may result in scarring alopecia or keroin (painful nodules containing pus). On the other hand, non-inflammatory tinea capitis may not be complicated by scarring alopecia.²¹

While this condition primarily occurs in children aged 3 and 14, it may affect people of any age.²²

How do you know if your hair on the crown is thinning?

Your hair on the crown may be thinning if you notice that you start to lose hair in the temples as well as the crown/vertex of your head. In some cases, the hair loss may progress gradually to encompass the entire top of your scalp.²³ Generally, when you lose hair in the crown of your head, the hair in this region may become sparser and narrower.²⁴

How best to regrow hair on the crown of the head: 7 methods 

If you’re experiencing hair loss or hair thinning at the crown of your head, there are several ways that may help with hair regrowth in this area. They include: 

  1. Microneedling: This process entails using a roller device apparatus to micro-puncture the stratum corneum of the epidermis. When used together with hair growth stimulants, microneedling may help increase hair count on the scalp. In fact, in a study, microneedling performed on a scalp treated with growth factor showed significantly increased hair count after 5 weeks.²⁵

  2. Use of finasteride: Finasteride is a medication that prevents our natural testosterone from converting into dihydrotestosterone (DHT), a hormone that contributes to hair loss.²⁶ A study found that there was a 24% increase in hair count in patients who received finasteride for 48 months.²⁷ Using finasteride to increase hair count may increase the risk of developing erectile dysfunction by 1.5%. This side effect may limit its long-term use. However, you may resolve this side effect after discontinuing the medication.²⁸

  3. Use of minoxidil: Minoxidil helps with hair regrowth by reducing the resting stage of the hair growth cycle²⁹ and increasing the period when hair is actively generated. Studies show that 30-40% of patients may experience visible hair regrowth within six months of applying 5% topical minoxidil two times a day.³⁰

  4. Use of natural supplements: Ensuring the blood supply to your hair follicles contains minerals such as iron, hydrogen, oxygen, sulfur, and nitrogen is key for promoting healthy hair growth during the growth phase. Supplementing with such minerals may help stimulate hair growth while at the same time preventing hair loss.³¹

  5. Use of topical prostaglandins: Several studies show that hormone-like substances produced in the body called prostaglandins play a vital role in governing the hair growth cycle. Adding topical prostaglandins (bimatoprost) to your hair care routine may help increase your hair count and density.³²

  6. Low-level laser therapy: Studies show this treatment may help increase hair density. However, the exact mechanism it uses to stimulate hair regrowth is unknown. It’s thought that the ability of this treatment to reduce inflammation, improve cellular activity, and enhance microcirculation may play a part in its hair regrowth stimulation capabilities.³³ Various devices may be used for low-level laser therapy, including overhead panels, in-salon hoods, bonnets, helmets, and hand-held combs.³⁴

  7. Hair stimulating complex: Hair Stimulating Complex™ (HSC) comes as an injectable made up of keratinocyte growth factor and follistatin.³⁵ The growth factors are used in stem cell proliferation and to stimulate hair growth. In a study examining the effectiveness of HSC, patients experienced significant improvement in HSC-treated areas, including an increase in hair shaft thickness and terminal hair density.³⁶

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FAQs

What is the crown of the head?

The crown is the highest point on the scalp, located toward the back of the head.³⁷

Is it practical to have hair transplants on the crown of the head?

A hair transplant is a generally safe procedure to improve hair loss on the crown of the head.³⁸ You must speak with a qualified provider about this procedure to see if this is right for you.

Can you prevent hair loss on the crown?

Yes. Initiating medical treatment early may effectively help prevent hair loss progression instead of stimulating regrowth.³⁹

What are the common conditions that affect the crown of the head?

The crown is susceptible to various health conditions, including alopecia areata, patterned hair loss, and tinea capitis. However, some medications and procedures may help treat these conditions.

Should I shave my head if my crown is balding?

While shaving might be an effective way to hide the bald spot in your crown, there are other options you may consider. For instance, you may opt for microneedling or medications such as minoxidil. A hair transplant is another viable option.

• • •

P.S. We did the homework so you don’t have to: 

  1. Asfour, L., et al. Male Androgenetic Alopecia. Endotext. (2023, January 25).

  2. Asfour, L., et al. Male Androgenetic Alopecia. Endotext. Ibid. 

  3. Devroye, J. Management of the Crown. Facial Plastic Surgery Clinics of North America. (August 2013). 

  4. Devroye, J. Management of the Crown. Facial Plastic Surgery Clinics of North America. Ibid.

  5. Devroye, J. Management of the Crown. Facial Plastic Surgery Clinics of North America. Ibid.

  6. Tajran, J. and Gosman, A.A. Anatomy, Head and Neck, Scalp. StatPearls. (2023, July 24).

  7. Tajran, J. and Gosman, A.A. Anatomy, Head and Neck, Scalp. StatPearls. Ibid. 

  8. Gupta, M. and Mysore, V. Classifications of Patterned Hair Loss: A Review. Journal of Cutaneous and Aesthetic Surgery. (January-March 2016). 

  9. Gupta, M. and Mysore, V. Classifications of Patterned Hair Loss: A Review. Journal of Cutaneous and Aesthetic Surgery. Ibid. 

  10. Qi, J. and Garza, L.A. An Overview of Alopecias. Cold Spring Harbor Perspectives in Medicine. (March 2014). 

  11. Qi, J., and Garza, L.A. An overview of alopecias. Cold Spring Harbor Perspectives in Medicine. Ibid. 

  12. Hoover, E., et al. Physiology, Hair. StatPearls. (2023, July 30). 

  13. Tucker, D. and Masood, S. Seborrheic Dermatitis. StatPearls. (2023, February 16).

  14. Tucker, D. and Masood, S. Seborrheic Dermatitis. StatPearls. Ibid.

  15. Tucker, D. and Masood, S. Seborrheic Dermatitis. StatPearls. Ibid.

  16. Nair, P.A. and Badri, T. Psoriasis. StatPearls. (2023, April 3). 

  17. Nair, P.A. and Badri, T. Psoriasis. StatPearls. Ibid.

  18. Nair, P.A. and Badri, T. Psoriasis. StatPearls. Ibid.

  19. Al Aboud A.M. and Crane J.S. Tinea Capitis. StatPearls. (2023, August 8).

  20. Al Aboud A.M. and Crane J.S. Tinea Capitis. StatPearls. Ibid.

  21. Al Aboud A.M. and Crane J.S. Tinea Capitis. StatPearls. Ibid.

  22. Al Aboud A.M. and Crane J.S. Tinea Capitis. StatPearls. Ibid.

  23. Gupta, M. and Mysore, V. Classifications of Patterned Hair Loss: A Review. Journal of Cutaneous and Aesthetic Surgery. Ibid. 

  24. Gupta, M. and Mysore, V. Classifications of Patterned Hair Loss: A Review. Journal of Cutaneous and Aesthetic Surgery. Ibid. 

  25. Wall, D., et al. Advances in hair growth. Faculty Reviews. (2022, January 12).

  26. Natarelli, N., et al. Integrative and Mechanistic Approach to the Hair Growth Cycle and Hair Loss. Journal of Clinical Medicine. (2023, January 23).

  27. Wall, D., et al. Advances in hair growth. Faculty Reviews. Ibid.

  28. Wall, D., et al. Advances in hair growth. Faculty Reviews. Ibid.

  29. Hoover, E., et al. Physiology, Hair. StatPearls. Ibid.

  30. Wall, D., et al. Advances in hair growth. Faculty Reviews. Ibid.

  31. Wall, D., et al. Advances in hair growth. Faculty Reviews. Ibid.

  32. Wall, D., et al. Advances in hair growth. Faculty Reviews. Ibid.

  33. Wall, D., et al. Advances in hair growth. Faculty Reviews. Ibid.

  34. Wall, D., et al. Advances in hair growth. Faculty Reviews. Ibid.

  35. Wall, D., et al. Advances in hair growth. Faculty Reviews. Ibid.

  36. Wall, D., et al. Advances in hair growth. Faculty Reviews. Ibid.

  37. Asfour, L., et al. Male Androgenetic Alopecia. Endotext. Ibid. 

  38. Zito, P.M. and Raggio, B.S. Hair Transplantation. StatPearls. (2023, February 14). 

  39. Singal, A., et al. Female pattern hair loss. Indian Journal of Dermatol Venereol Leprol. (2013, n.d.).

Erin Pate is a board-certified Family Nurse Practitioner at Curology. She earned her Masters of Science in Nursing at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, FL.

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• • •
Our medical review process:We’re here to tell you what we know. That’s why our information is evidence-based and fact-checked by medical experts. Still, everyone’s skin is unique—the best way to get advice is to talk to your healthcare provider.
Our policy on product links:Empowering you with knowledge is our top priority. Our reviews of other brands’ products in this post are not paid endorsements—but they do meet our medically fact-checked standards for ingredients (at the time of publication).
Curology Team Avatar

Curology Team

Erin Pate Nurse Practitioner, NP-C

Erin Pate, NP-C

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