Hair loss has inspired a lot of impressive technologies today that can even create the most natural-looking results you could imagine. However, behind the advancements and successes in hair restoration are some bizarre remedies along the way. Here are some that made a mark in history.
A Greek tragedy
Hippocrates was definitely a thinker way beyond his time which is only why he is called the ‘Father of Modern Medicine.’ It was him who first saw the connection between hair loss and male hormones. He observed that men who are castrated before they hit puberty were not affected by hair loss.
Today, this was known to be due to the absence of testosterone which could convert to the hair loss culprit – DHT (dihydrotestosterone).
For this, Hippocrates developed several treatments in which one included a mixture of cumin, nettles, horseradish, and pigeon droppings. This was to be applied on the scalp for the intent of re-growing hair, but it was unsuccessful. Castration was later on confirmed by Duke University to prevent hair loss but was also deemed to be commercially unacceptable. Today, a fringe around a bald pate is called a Hippocratic Wreath, which was done so by his colleagues in his honor.
Egyptian hair loss magic
The Egyptians have been known for their signature wigs, but behind the hairpiece, they were also in a constant search for a cure for hair loss. One of their interesting solutions includes reciting a magic spell to the sun god and then swallowing a mixture of onions, honey, iron, red lead, and alabaster.
Another measure was rubbing different animal fats on the scalp, which also lead to disappointing results. Some accounts found on The Eber’s Papyrus described a concoction of fats from a crocodile, hippo, snake, tomcat, and ibex. If this fails, another option is to boil porcupine hair and leave it on the scalp for four days.
Caesar and his leaves
When Julius Caesar started to lose his hair, he tried to everything to reverse it and keep the condition a secret. In his attempts to conceal his thinning hair, the Roman dictator tried to grow his remaining hair longer at the back. In a less than a successful attempt, he tried to cover his bald spot by combing all his hair forward, giving the infamous comb-over its ancient roots.
Seeing that this technique was no good, his lover Cleopatra recommended a rather unusual topical remedy which consisted of horse teeth, ground mice, and bear grease. This had very little effect, so the dictator took to nature for his final solution and one which soon became his signature look – he donned a laurel wreath around his scalp.
Chicken for follicles that “chickened” out
In the 17th century, British men were really at the hard end in trying to keep their hair. Male health magazines at the time advised the gentlemen to apply chicken dung to their head to protect them from going bald. On the other end of the spectrum, it was also advised that cat dung helps remove unwanted hair.
In the 19th century “snake oil” salesmen became a big thing in the United States. These people are actually swindlers masquerading to be doctors who are peddling these potions which are basically phony concoctions. What made them a hit are the lofty promises that this was supposed to reverse hair loss and pretty much every condition that ails you.
This is also the time when the infamous ointment called Seven Sutherland Sister’s Hair Grower was shoved into the throats of desperate and naïve buyers by a family of sideshow performers with tresses which spanned 37 feet between them.
Around 1876 to 1913, people in America were doing the opposite of what most people suffering from hair loss would do – they were brushing their hair incessantly. What makes matter worse is the fact that they use stiff brushes for the job, thinking that this can promote soft and shiny hair. Applying a mixture of cologne, spirit of camphor and a pigment of cantharides every night was also believed to halt hair loss.
Sucking it up
In 1936, a certain company called the Crosley Corporation which manufactures radios and automobiles ventured into personal care products. They created the Xervac machine which was supposed to create a suction on the head through a helmet-encased vacuum pump to stimulate hair growth. It can be rented for home use or it can be found in barbershops. Men can kick back and relax while the vacuum works on the follicles. Today this machine is displayed in the Museum of Quackery Medicine, although the sole intent of this invention was not to fool anyone.
The 20th-century hot heads
At this time in history, manufacturers attempted to take huge strides in developing cutting-edge solutions for hair loss. These efforts brought the market the Thermocap device by a company called Merke Institute. Men, and even women, who are suffering from thinning locks only had to spend 15 minutes each day under the heat introduced by the bonnet-like gear and blue light. This was intended to stimulate dormant hair bulbs into growing. Unfortunately, this solution didn’t come out to be successful.
Thanks to modern medicine, we now have better options for hair loss. We are even better equipped with knowledge regarding home remedies, instead of going for the strange and disgusting. However, if you want to take bigger strides to restore your hair, a hair transplant can be a good final option. Like some of the treatments mentioned above, this procedure also had its crude beginnings but has far improved over the years making it reliable.