We just came across an advert for a transplant clinic that wraps itself in modern pseudo science, we were struck by the similarities to an advert from 100 years ago that made similar claims and decided to take a closer look.

 

 

Send Me Your Hair!

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Judging by the volume of this type of advert from that era, this was originally published in 1907 it is fair to say that the general lack of understanding meant science was an easy way to sell hair loss solutions. This invitation, to send a few hairs to a Professor (no less!) in Chicago and receive back a bespoke solution for your personal problem, made us laugh out loud. It encapsulated the willingness of unscrupulous merchants to wrap themselves in pseudo science (pretty much the only version available to the public at the time) to market their wares. The pitch was based on an awareness that the public was beginning to see some radical changes in transportation and communication that were leading a revolution in the way people lived their lives… so it must have been relatively easy to convince them that science had worked out hair loss.

What’s So Different Now?

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The internet for starters. These days we are all capable of performing due diligence on an organisation or individual before we send them any cash. We can join interest groups and forums where the in depth conversations are held among interested parties. There is consumer protection enshrined in law and enforced principally by your preferred payment method… PayPal along with credit card providers will all deliver an element of protection to the purchaser.  Finally, in the case of hair loss, there are the medical authorities who place huge barriers in the way of anyone wanting to market a product making any claim of efficacy in this space.

Then there is pseudo science. Once again the internet means it is possible for anyone to conduct their own investigation and test the validity, or otherwise, of any claims. Nobody is going to believe anyone telling them they have a cream that will return them to a full head of hair. Even the most effective of FDA approved products offer only a limited promise of improvement… in fact, they really only offer to stop further progression and even then this is only achieved in a percentage of cases.

Modern Pseudo Science

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We are not suggesting pseudo science is dead. Far from it. The barriers to entry in the hair loss market touched on earlier, large scale trials involving hundreds of patients over months and years, mean the costs are astronomical. It means that the hair loss market is littered with products that imply they can help with hair loss but for which there is absolutely zero clinical evidence… probably the most high profile at the moment would be shampoo containing caffeine.

The Offending Article

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“Offending” in this case really is a figure of speech. We were not offended when we read it, we laughed. Much as we did when we read that hundred year old advert, and for the same reasons. It came from a salon called Follicle, a division of Cambridge Therapeutics… which is, we are sure you will agree, a substantial sounding outfit with links presumably to a grand seat of learning in Cambridge, Mass. Or even Cambridge in England – home to one of the finest and best known Universities in the world. But this is not either of those Cambridges. This is Cambridge Therapeutics from Singapore, and they do hair transplants. To read their blurb is to enter the world of the Custom Blended Ampoule Hair Wash (sounds amazing but will be shampoo) and Meso Scalp Remedy… they seem to have reinvented everything already on the market and given it a new, scientifically upgraded, moniker.

What really caught our eye though, and prompted this article, was their Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis. A unique test they claim, which is used to identify mineral deficiencies and “toxic elements”. To help their team of experts identify the right treatment plan. Sound familiar? We thought so too.

There are differences of course between this offer and the one made by the not so good Professor Austin back in 1907. We don’t believe the Professor did any analysis whatsoever. Whereas tests to ascertain the contents of hair samples are universally available… businesses use them to test their staff for drug use on a regular basis – as most of you will be aware the keratin in your hair will contain trace elements of everything you have ingested going back months (well, depending how long your hair is).

HIS Hair Clinic

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There is something very honest about SMP, it does what it says on the tin. At least it does when you are in our hands. We have every sympathy with people desperate to do something about their hair loss but who find themselves lost on the internet with more bookmarks than a public library and utterly confused about their next step… we meet a lot of them.

If you want to spend some time in the company of one of our plain speaking friendly experts and receive some old fashioned good advice, simply complete the contact form at the side of this page or click here to find your nearest clinic and get the ball rolling.

 

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By Ian Watson

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