Through the ages, much time and effort has been expended in the search of a hair loss remedy or, failing that, an effective, natural-looking way to disguise balding. Here’s the history of hair loss cures.
Wigs and even fake beards were incredibly popular in Egyptian times as a full head of hair was seen as highly desirable. The various remedies to cure hair loss that have been noted down on ancient papyrus scripts include the application of fats from a wide variety of animals such as the hippopotamus, snake, ibex and even crocodile. Pretty gruesome was the recipe for a leg of female greyhound and the hoof of a donkey fried in oil.
Hippocrates, known as the father of Western medicine, was bald and developed a number of recipes for curing baldness. However, his most radical treatment idea was castration – he believed that eunuchs never went bald after the operation.
17th Century France
Wigs may have been worn for many centuries, but King Louis XIII of France began the fashion for full wigs to hide his own thinning hair and overtime they became ever more ostentatious and imposing and women started to wear birdcages, boats and butterflies in their wigs among other ideas.
The 1800s saw the rise of snake oil salesmen who travelled far and wide, selling lotions and potions that promised the most amazing health benefits with little in the way of results. Hair loss cures were big business and famous cures of the time had outlandish names such as Imperial Hair Regenerator and Mrs Allen’s World Hair Restorer. The internet has become a modern-day version of the snake oil salesmen with a proliferation of products for sale with dubious claims.
The Mechanical Age
The onset of mechanisation introduced a number of devices that promised to combat hair loss, from suction-based vacuum pumps that ‘exercised the scalp’ to devices that heated up the head to stimulate the hair follicles.
A Japanese dermatologist pioneered the hair graft procedure in 1939 to treat areas of hair loss in the eyebrows but it wasn’t until the 1950s that New York dermatologist Norman Orentreich introduced the modern concept of hair transplants by treating male pattern baldness with donor grafts. Until then it was thought that transplanted hair would not thrive like the original hairs.
Originally, the hair transplants made patients’ heads resemble a doll’s with large hair plugs, but over time micro-grafting has developed with smaller and smaller grafts.
Camouflage is Key
Wigs and toupees may have become more natural-looking over the centuries but many men still feel incredibly uncomfortable with the thought of wearing a wig. Another alternative that has become incredibly popular in recent years is scalp micropigmentation, also known as SMP. It can also be highly effective at concealing the scars left behind by transplant surgeons.
Click through to the HisHair Clinic extensive gallery of past patients to see what results can be achieved with SMP.