The international hair loss industry is huge with market predictions of a value of approximately $3 billion dollars in 2017.
It’s not a new phenomenon either; “cures” for baldness date back to the first documented history in different culture around the world. In a recent article in the Huffington post Seán Williams talks about 3 historical treatments for baldness.
Interesting ways to use lard
The first is animal fat and he points to a recipe from the end of the 17th century in which bear grease should be rubbed into the scalp with a bruised onion, only after the targeted area has been polished violently with a flannel.
Actually, some people still swear by onions as a treatment for baldness. Although it may be pseudo science the theory is that the rich sulfur content in the onion get the blood flowing, thus encouraging the follicles to grow. Whilst bear grease seems to be the favoured method there seems to be some dispute as to whether dog lard might be more effective!
The next treatment Seán refers to is the use of oils, with the most well known one “Maccassar Oil” becoming very popular in the 18th century. Although not used today it did survive as a baldness treatment into the 20th century and lent its name to the small cloths on the back of chairs and airline seats called antimacassars.
Cold and hot caps
Finally, Seán talks about the introduction of technology in the early 20th century with mechanical hairbrushes and the electrical thermocap device which supposedly stimulated hair growth via “blasts of heat”.
Like onions, the cap (albeit a cold variety) is still used today in some quarters. It is used for example in an attempt to restrict hair loss during chemotherapy.
It probably goes without saying that none of the above “treatments” should be viewed as a viable alternative to talking to a professional hair loss clinic.