Understand the History of Hair Loss from Thousands of Years Ago
Significant Historical Milestones: The Search for an Effective Hair Loss Solution
For years, both males and females, have been looking for remedies and treatments to overcome hair loss and balding. Although significant advancements in this area have been made, the fact of the matter is that this search is certain to continue well into the future.
Hair Loss BC
As far back as 3000 BC humans were using remedies to overcome hair loss. This was in the form of wigs and other types of hairpieces. More common in the elite echelons of society, this hair loss solution was seen mostly amongst the Greeks, Persians, Sumerians, Cretans and Assyrians. It was also during this period that an extensive amount of information about hair loss treatments – both in the form of knowledge and fiction – began to be formed and was transmitted to the younger population (particularly by healers from around the Fertile Crescent region).
In the printed form, hair loss treatment writings were present as far back as 1553 BC. This was found in the medical book entitled The Ebers Papyrus. Found in Egypt, this book described hair loss medicinal treatment, which included a bizarre mix of animal fat (lions, crocodiles, snakes and hippos) and other natural ingredients (onions, honey, iron oxide and red lead). It was suggested in this book that the potion would only be effective if the God of the Sun was prayed to prior to taking the potion.
At around 420 BC, the search for a hair loss treatment was gaining momentum. One example involved Hippocrates. Actually searching for a remedy for his own hair loss dilemma, Hippocrates was a trailblazer in terms of outlining and hypothesizing about overcoming hair loss by employing surgery. After much deliberation and investigating, Hippocrates came up with an unlikely concoction of horseradish, beetroot, spices, opium and the excrement of pigeons. Of course this was not an effective treatment and even now the term Hippocratic Baldness remains with us due to him becoming bald.
Another one of Hippocrates theories was that the higher testosterone quantities within the body were associated with hair loss. That is, he directly linked the lack of hair loss amongst eunuchs in the Persian army with their lack of testosterone and lack of sexual drive. As such, Hippocrates recommended castration as the cure for hair loss. This first mention of a surgical procedure to cure hair loss and baldness was described in his Aphorisms of Hippocrates.
Around 44 BC, when Julius Cesar was leader of the Roman Empire, a full head of hair signified masculinity and power. Caesaries in Latin actually means long lush hair. However, Julius Caesar himself experienced baldness. Turning to the medical profession at the time, Julius Caesar desperately wanted a cure to be found. As with Hippocrates before him, Julius Caesar, despite some crazy solutions of bear grease, deer, mice and horse teeth, never found that cure. The best had to be made from the problem. As such, a comb over and the use of a wreath were used to hide his hair loss and to signal his power.
Hair Loss AD
Another hair loss solution milestone in history was around 1624. This was the year that wigs become enormously widespread in France due to King Louis XIII wearing a wig. History accounts tell us that King Louis might have employed up to 40 wigmakers and under no circumstances was anyone to see him wigless (apart from the person who cut his hair). Used to hide his hair loss and to provide defence against lice, which were prevalent at that time in history, wigs caught on, particularly in the elite classes. Eventually, like at other times throughout history, wigs came to signify power and affluence. In fact, wigs were so costly to both purchase and look after that they were becoming a prime target for robbery. This actually extended to grabbing wigs from people’s heads that were passing by in horse carriages.
The 1700s saw America step into hair loss remedies history, with the elite in America during this time interval also beginning the practice of wearing wigs. Seen as a societal indicator of privilege and standing, wig wearing in America quickly came to a halt when the elites were no longer seen as chic due to the ideologies of the French Revolution and the War of Independence.
In the 1800s, the power of the market facilitated the flooding of hair loss remedies and treatments onto the market like never before. Some of those that went down in history included Ayers Hair Vigour, East India Oil Hair Restoration, Mrs Allen’s World Hair Restorer and Imperial Hair Regenerator.
One of the most noteworthy historic milestones in terms of hair loss information and treatment was seen in the 1900s. It was during this era that people started believing that wearing a hat could cause hair loss. This direct correlation occurred because certain distinguished men who worked in hats all day were noticing they were also going bald. The solution to this apparent dilemma was that men should stop the hat wearing, let the sun hit the scalp and allow the scalp to have fresh air. Massaging the scalp was also touted as another solution by Bernard MacFadden, while it was also believed that if the circulation of the scalp occurred through intense brushing and pulling, then the hair loss would be resolved. Of course, this was an incorrect correlation, as evidenced by the myriad of hat wearers who still maintained a full head of hair.
Picking up on the preceding thought that scalp circulation resolved hair loss, in 1925 a specific instrument was invented to do just this. It was called the Thermocap Treatment device. Invented by the Allied Merke Institute, the device was touted to clean pores on the scalp that were blocked, feed hair bulbs and enhance circulation. This was done by a combination of heat, magnets, static electricity and vibration. It was suggested that it would cure hair balding and stop any more hair loss from occurring. Treatment involved the use of the device for quarter of an hour daily and then placing a tonic, dandruff lotion and shampoo on the area – all of which were made by the Merke Institute. It was later proven that the device was not a cure for baldness.
In 1939, a major milestone in hair loss solutions occurred – that of, hair transplanting. The Japanese dermatologist – Dr Shoji Okuda – discussed the practice of transplanting grafts of hair from other parts of the body to replace areas that had been impacted by hair loss. It was this very same Japanese doctor that was the first person to successfully conduct this treatment. Hair follicles were taken from behind the head and transplanted to overcome balding. Although the second World War subdued his achievement, it was Dr Okuda’s success that was the precursor to a Dr Orentreich’s breakthrough in hair plugs.
The next hair loss solution milestone occurred in 1959. Publishing his theory of hair transplantation in The New York Academy’s science journal, the world started to take notice of this amazing hair loss and balding solution. Calling it the Theory of Donor Dominance, it was founded on Dr Okuda’s work done decades ago. It was not too long before Dr Orentreich’s procedure was proven and became famous. In fact, by 1961, the Doctor had undertaken 200 hair transplants and six years later he had treated around ten thousand males around the globe. Due to this astounding and proven success, Dr Orentreich’s program became the base on which the next two decades of the hair restoration discipline was based.
In 1968, another milestone changed about how society dealt with hair loss. A young man, by the name of Sy Sperling, had been suffering from hair loss since he was quite young. Recently divorced, he wanted to restart his social life. Depressed over his hair loss and appearance, Sperling when out and bought a hairpiece. Despite his happiness with the hairpiece, he was also after a more natural appearance. This is when he sought out the services of a hair restorer, who proceeded to weave in real hair near Sperling’s bald patch. Realising there was a need for this service, Sperling established the Hair Club for Men. Specialising in nonsurgical hair replacement, the Hair Club expanded to become the leading hair restoration company on the globe. Sperling always made mention that he wasn’t just the president of the company, he was also a satisfied client.
Hair loss medication made its way onto the hair loss solution historical landscape in 1978. Clinically proven to decrease the rate of hair thinning and to assist regrowth, this medication is known today as Rogaine (from 1988). Originally a blood pressure medication, Minoxidil was found to also have a positive impact of people experiencing hair loss. Following significant study and clinical trials, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration passed Minoxidil, allowing it to be promoted for the treatment of hair loss.
The hair loss treatment solution known as follicular unit micrografing had finally succeeded in 1988. A hair restoration surgeon and dermatologist by the name of Dr Bob Limmer had finally developed a magnifying glass powerful enough to undertake this procedure, which had been on the landscape for quite a while. The solution was stereo microscopes. In using these, normal clusters of hair follicles could be conserved when they were being taken. Furthermore, the success rate was even better because this specific technique ensured the hair follicles that were being taken were kept cool and moist. Follicular unit micrografing continued to evolve and in 1995 cool fluorescent transillumination and a disposable clear vinyl cutting surface with stereomicroscopes assisted graft preparation and further increased success rates.
The Hair Club, which was founded in the 1960s and was still going strong, took non-surgical hair replacement a step forward in 1991. This was achieved by the use of hairpieces that could be glued onto the scalp. The introduced hairpiece was joined to the patient’s hair at the root. These quickly replaced the weaved-in hairpieces as they gave a more natural appearance.
Another hair loss solution made it onto the market in 1998. Finasteride or Propecia (brand name) was taken by men only and if prescribed early enough could help the patient to keep the hair they had left and, in certain patients, regrow newly lost hair. A popular hair loss solution, it was the second most prescribed hair loss pill in males. Extremely successful in treating hair loss (85% success rates), the drug was also connected with a reduction in sexual drive and function (e.g. erection and semen problems).
The year 1998 also saw a major milestone in hair loss restoration. This was in the form of laser treatment, with the company pronouncing that once used, the patient would not suffer from any more hair loss and in some patients, hair regrowth would occur. Invented by a Canadian company, it suggested that their laser light solution be in the form of weekly laser sessions, combined with a number of other products (e.g. use of a special showerhead filter, certain type of shampoo and conditioner and vitamins and nutrients).
In more recent years – from 2000 to 2005 – hair cloning was developed. Suggested to be a long-term remedy, it was developed by Dr Bernstein of Columbia University. The procedure itself involves the multiplication of germative hair follicle cells in vitro in order to transplant them onto the scalp. During this period, other practices such as stem cell transplants, scalp impregnation therapy and hair multiplication were also developed. Prospective patients are currently on waiting lists to have the latter procedures performed, following official approval.
Today’s modern landscape remains similar in some respects. There is a lot of hair loss information available to enable people suffering from hair loss to make informed choices about treatments and solutions. That is, men and women are continuing to suffer from hair loss and balding. It is fact that approximately 40% of the male population begin to experience hair loss once they hit the beginning of their 20s. Today, Advanced Hair Studio has helped more than half a million people from around the globe with their hair loss, providing customised hair regrowth and restoration solutions. By applying non-surgical procedures, Advanced Hair Studio can help patients regain their lives and confidence, by taking control over their looks and feeling good once more.