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Male Hair Loss In History

There is one theme that all men throughout history have agreed on; concern about losing their hair. During the late 19th century, men caught a major case of hysteria over hair loss. Magazine articles at the time covered the growing panic claiming that half of American business and professional men were currently bald and that it was only a matter of time until we became a race of hairless Americans.

There are not many examples in history of men celebrating their hair loss. Hippocrates is often referred to as the father of modern medicine and he devoted much of his life seeking a remedy for his thinning scalp. Julius Caesar used a laurel wreath to design a royal toupee. In the late 1800’s the medical community was convinced that baldness had reached epidemic proportions. Medical students would perform “studies” by counting the number of bald heads in various crowds and could come to no conclusions about the cause. Weird, unfounded and just plain crazy theories about the cause of male hair loss found their way into newspapers and medical journals, here’s just a few:

Those darn hats!
Many magazines of the time blamed baldness on stiff, thick-brimmed felt hats. The popular fashion of hat-wearing was constricting circulation to the top of the head preventing hair from growing. This theory was especially good for explaining a bald crown because the hair loss essentially started where the rim of the hat was tightest.

Its evolution dear Watson!
At its most basic function, we have hair to keep us warm. Since modern man has developed ways to control the way climate affects us with indoor heating and warm clothing, we no longer need our hair! This theory was appealing because it explained why less-developed cultures were not plagued by baldness. It was believed that the creature comforts appreciated by the upper class had sapped man’s vitality, making him effeminate and weak.

It’s heredity, kind of.
Medical professionals at the time believed that heredity did play a role in male hair loss. However, they thought that you could be born with traits that would make you more susceptible to diseases of the scalp that could cause hair loss. In the late 1800’s, dandruff, bacteria, fungi and ringworm were thought to be major causes of baldness.

More music needed!
Many believed that certain types of music increased hair growth, specifically the sounds created by string instruments. But watch out, wind instruments like the cornet and the trombone could actually prevent hair growth! It was a (completely unproven!) fact that only 1 out of every 100 composers went bald.

So, what exactly did these modern men do to combat their hair loss? Some of the most outlandish (and unpleasant!) of the remedies included cocaine-infused hair tonics, electric brushes and even eating rat flesh!

Luckily, we have quite a bit more research on the topic of hair loss today and have a plethora of successful options when it comes to combatting it. If you’re experiencing hair loss, make an appointment to see one of our hair restoration specialists for a free consultation by calling (800) 966-9505 today.

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