Some adverts caught our eye this week, the fact that they were originally published in 1915 gave us cause for reflection. We look at how things have changed since the days of World War 1.
Where They Were 100 Years Ago
It is fair to say that the huge strides in medicine were yet to be taken back in 1915. Millions of young men died in Flanders fields for the want of antibiotics… It would be another 13 years before the Fleming would return to his lab to find that spores had destroyed bacteria in one of his petri dishes. And it would be another 13 years before penicillin would be produced in enough quantity to make a difference when the British Expeditionary Force were evacuating Dunkirk.
The ad shown above ran in a 1915 edition of the Luxuriant Hair Book. For a dollar Earl Ward Pearce (note the unusual absence of medical credentials) promised to send you a richly illustrated book explaining everything you needed to know to win your fight against hair loss. It is fairly typical of its kind, promising nothing beyond some advice…though this is supported by the personal testimony of the would-be sender of the advice as having “saved my own hair”.
Snake Oil Yet To Go Away
This ad, first published in 1907, made some more familiar promises with classic pseudo science at play. Send Prof Austin of Chicago a few strands of your hair and by return receive a “free” diagnosis of your case along with a booklet and a box of the remedy… presumably only enough to keep you going for a day or two before you are required to send real money to Chicago to receive more.
As an advert that pre-dates laws on these things, playing on the broad ignorance of health and science matters to convince people their hair loss is curable.
How Far Have We Come?
It is a very different world today of course. We are protected, in the main, by health authorities who will only licence products that have been exhaustively tested for both efficacy and side-effects. That does not mean that the 21st century internet explosion has not left the door open for the ignorant, or the badly advised, or the over-optimistic, to be duped into parting with hard earned cash in return for treatments that are at best useless and at worst downright dangerous.
So we have traded snake oil for transplants and SMP, pamphlets for laser combs and mesotherapy. There are even approved medications for that most medically challenging of all hair loss situations, hereditary male pattern baldness. Science is breaking down the barriers to our understanding piece by piece. Maybe another hundred years will be enough to finish the journey and make hair loss, of all types, a matter of simple choice… not much of a choice though, like whether or not to have your own teeth it is a no-brainer we think.
HIS Hair Clinic
Here at HIS HQ we fervently trawl through all the latest hair related science stories, keen to stay abreast of the latest developments. Rest assured when the next breakthrough comes it will feature here. But, as we have written before, the nature and costs of testing means that a serious breakthrough remains many years away.
In the meantime, anybody wanting to discuss their personal hair loss situation is recommended to a free consultation with one of our friendly team of experts. To get the ball rolling simply complete the contact form at the side of this page or click here to find your nearest clinic.