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Although hair loss is regarded as a modern day problem nothing could be further from the truth. The ancient Egyptians were searching for a cure over four thousand years ago. The bible also has a few mentions of hair loss within its pages.

 

Hair loss. itís problems and the search for a cure is not anything new. For thousands of years, men and women of all countries and races have shared the tragedy of premature hair loss and the hope of discovering a cure. There is indeed a vast fortune just waiting to be collected for anyone finding the elusive cure.

Hair Loss and the Bible

One of the earliest mentions of hair loss is in the bible, below are a few instances.

Kings 2: 23  From there Elisha went to Bethel. As he was walking along the road, some youths came out of the town and jeered at him. "Go on up, you baldhead!" they said "go on up, you baldhead!" He turned round, looked at them and called down a curse on them in the name of the Lord. Then two bears came out of the woods and mauled forty-two of the youths. And he went on to Mount Carmel and from there returned to Samaria.

Leviticus 13: 40-41 When a man has lost his hair and he is bald, he is clean. If he has lost his hair from the front of scalp and has a bald forehead, he is clean.

Numbers 6: 1-21 The Nazarites had special rules regarding treatment of hair.

Grey hair is also mentioned in the bible.

Proverbs 16: 31 Grey hair is a crown of splendour; it is attained by a righteous life.

Proverbs 20: 29 The glory of young men is their strength, grey hair the splendour of the old.

Egyptians to Persians

 In the ancient Middle East hair loss was regarded as shameful. It symbolised the public announcement of the loss of a mans virility. Samson who lost all his hair, also, well documented in the bible, showed that his head full of hair was not only a symbol, it was also considered the actual source of his power and strength, which he lost when it was cut off by the Philistines, and not by Delilah as most people claim.

In Ancient Egypt, wigs were serious business. The head was shaved for cleanliness, and presumably for coolness, and wigs were worn as protection from the sun and as a sign of regal status. All Pharaohs were buried with lavish head gear for wearing in the afterlife.

The  Egyptians, Romans and Greeks spent fortunes on salves and ointments which they hoped would grow hair or at least help stop hair loss.

The following dates back to the Egyptian times:

Remedy for Hair Growth prepared for
Ses, Mother of his Majesty the King of Upper and Lower Egypt, Teta, deceased

Toes-of-a-Dog
Refuse-of-Dates
Hoof-of-an-Ass
Another ancient remedy used to prevent grey hairs
Blood-from-the-neck-of-the-Gabgu-Bird
Put in real balsam and rub therewith.

"The Papyrus Embers"
1500BC

Hair fashions change rapidly and usually without any rational pattern. Hair styles that out of favour with current fashion often evoke unexpectedly strong emotions and attempts to outlaw them are common.

Ancient Persian men considered a shaved face as absurd, but their contemporaries, the Hittites, shaved their beards, moustache, eyebrows and patches of hair near the temples. The Celts often shaved their beards but not their moustaches. Ancient Greeks wore beards and wore long hair but in the 4th century BC, Alexander the Great ordered his soldiers to shave beards and keep head hair short.

The Roman's

Roman law once required prostitutes to wear blonde wigs, but the Emperor Claudius's wife, Messalina, wore a yellow wig on her nightly outings. The regulation was repealed and blonde wigs became the fashion of the day. The Romans generally shaved for about 500 years, but around the year 200 beards reappeared. This lasted until Charlemargne in the year 800 ordered his subjects, most of Western Europe, to shave. Beards started to return but the Bishop of Rouen warned in 1096 that men with beards were in danger of damnation.   

Legend has it that Caesar became so worried and embarrassed about his baldness that he used to wear his ceremonial laurel wreaths constantly to try and hide it. Caesar also had his defeated enemy's hair cut off as a sign of submission when they were conquered.

One form of hair loss Alopectia Areata ( small bald patches that can sometimes appear and disappear for no reason) is actually derived from the Greek word for "Mangy Fox".

In 400 B.C. Hippocrates the Father of Medicine prescribed a mixture of cumin, pigeon droppings, horseradish and beetroots or nettles, to help prevent hair loss. Needless to say he as well as his patients remained absolutely bald.

The Middle Ages

In the middle ages eunuchs always had full heads of hair. Eunuchs are males who have been castrated (had their testicles removed), and if this was done before puberty they do not go bald. Some eunuchs who when given male hormone did not have increased hair loss. This means that an adequate level of male hormone need only be present for male pattern baldness to occur in susceptible men, thus destroying the popular myth (with bald men at least) that bald men are more virile, because it was assumed that they had more male hormone.

Aristotle also noted that neither Eunuchs nor women grew hairs on theirs chests, he proposed that this was due to the lack of testes.

Hair has been adorned since man first appeared, from bones in the hair of cavemen to feathers in the heads of North American Indians. Colouring of the hair has also been around since the ancient Egyptians and the Assyrian's. It is certainly not a modern day fashion as most people like to think.

In the 1500's men's head hair was cut short but beards flourished. Women generally braided their hair many married women revived the Orthodox Jewish custom of only showing their hair to their husbands.

In later cultures wigs were worn mainly by women, then in 1624 Louis XIII of France launched the era of the big wig - by wearing one. The fashion held sway in Europe and its colonies until the American and French revolutions swept away such symbols of rank.

Shakespeare in nearly all  his tragedies used hair loss to portray an ageing king, fool or villain - Never a virile young man.

A bit ironic, considering that Shakespeare himself was bald.

 

In Britain by the 1700's men who were losing their hair also seemed to be losing their minds! They began to over compensate for their thinning and balding by taking the drastic step of wearing long, curly, powdered wigs.

 

Up to the beginning of this century men wearing wigs was certainly not thought of as odd but nowadays this is rarely acceptable except on barristers and judges, where it is still part of an age old tradition.

 

The Cowboy Years

Even in America in the 1800's tough and hardened cowboys lined up to spend their hard earned money on worthless "Snake Oil", hair growing tonics peddled by charlatan "Doctors" from the side shows and stages of the great wild west medicine shows.

Cowboys also used the trick of rubbing grease into their hair, causing it to look thicker, whilst slightly effective it was a very messy process.

Another ancient belief as illustrated by the story of Samson, was that when you took the hair of an enemy you also took possession of his strength and courage - An Indian warrior with the greatest number of scalps hanging from his wigwam was a very powerful man indeed.

The following is an old remedy for hair loss, dating back to cowboy times

Peach Tree
If the kernels be bruised
and boiled in vinegar until
they become thick and
applied to the head,
marvellously, make the hair grow
again upon bald places or
where it is too thin.

Culpepper 1653

Modern Time

So does hair loss affect man today as much as it did in years gone by?

Considering the pressures we face living in a highly competitive, youth orientated and grooming conscious society, hair loss probably affects us even more today both at work and in our social lives than ever before.

The problem is that our high technology culture has made virtually no progress in finding a true lotion or pill cure for hair loss that can be taken internally or applied externally, even today the lotions and potions we are offered have little more success than those offered to the ancient Egyptian's.

What is worse is that some of today's more intelligent men who are stressed out by suffering hair loss are often just as likely to believe the claims made for worthless solutions and treatments as these cowboys of yesteryear. This is largely due to the advertising hype that is produced in the hair treatment business and as the hair product industry is a multi - million pound industry with huge advertising budgets it is fairly easy to be carried away with all the colourful brochures and advertising bumph that promises instant sex appeal and change of personality once someone's hair returns. Most of the brochures show that as soon as hair is restored there is a woman at the man's side. This unfortunately is not true in real life but it certainly does appear to help sell the product.

Hair today continues to be expressive of ideas - a full head of hair is considered a sign of youth and vigour, thus wigs, toupee's and hair transplants are likely to be with us well into the 21st century - and beyond.

In the United Kingdom there are a large number of laymen owned hair clinics and so called hair consultants without any experience who sell worthless scalp massages, hair growth lotions and pills or even ultraviolet ray treatment that they claim will help grow hair and stop or slow down the rate of hair loss.

Of course the only real truth found in these clinics is their financial success. The sad fact of the matter is that men today who suffer from hair loss are usually so intent on finding a solution, they'll try almost anything.

It's not that they're looking for some fountain of youth. They're just tired of hair loss making them look ten to fifteen years older than they really are, and they are committed to doing something decisive and positive about it.

Some men are quite artistic with their remaining hair, growing it longer where possible and brushing it sideways to cover up gaps, a technique that doesn't stand up to strong winds or vigorous exercise.

By reading all the advice on this site most people will at least be in a position to decide which treatment if any is suitable for them.

 

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59 West High Street, Somerville , N.J. 08876  908-725-5544