How Hair Loss Treatments Have Evolved Over The Years
Anyone who suffers from male pattern in the 21st century has a surprising variety of treatment options available to them. From effective medicines like finasteride to steroid injections and even full transplants, it is possible to stop and even reverse the effects of hair loss.
Of course the solutions to this problem have not always been so advanced, so here is a look at the way that humans have approached baldness throughout history.
One of the most common ways to disguise hair loss used as early as 3000 BCE, wigs were deployed by ancient civilizations including the Egyptians. It is worth noting that in many cases this was not just a solution to baldness, but also a specific fashion trend.
It was not until the renaissance that wigs re-emerged as a staple hair loss treatment, with European aristocrats being especially partial to elaborate, extravagant hair pieces to hide their modesty and also show off to friends and hangers-on.
While wigs could cover up baldness, they could not cure it, and as with many ailments different peoples have experimented with different substances in the hope of re-growing hair.
Once again it was the Egyptians who have the first recorded instance of recommending a specific concoction to treat hair loss, which contained everything from onions and honey to animal fat and iron oxide.
The Greeks made similar attempts, with Hippocrates outlining the use of a poultice made from ingredients such as beetroot, bird excrement and opium, amongst other things. He even made the observation that eunuchs did not suffer from baldness in the same way as other men, which is a finding that modern medicine eventually legitimised, although of course it is not a treatment recommended today.
20th Century Efforts & Successes
Following the industrial revolution and the emergence of modern technologies in the early 1900s, a whole hair loss treatment industry emerged, with different researchers and companies attempting to sell a wide variety of devices that alleged the ability to combat baldness. These relied on things like suction, electrical discharges and other ultimately ineffective but futuristic-seeming solutions.
It was not until the late 1930s that the first hair transplant surgery was carried out in Japan, although it took another 20 years for a similar breakthrough to be made and widely adopted in the West.
The real baldness breakthrough came in 1978 when researchers developed minoxidil, originally intended as a treatment for high blood pressure but discovered to have the properties of stimulating hair growth in a proportion of people who took it.
It took another 10 years for approval for minoxidil to be granted, following extensive testing to prove that it did indeed have the desired effect and was safe for use by humans. Then in the late 1990s, finasteride arrived as a new alternative which is even more effective, especially during the early stages.
This leads us up to the current era, when male pattern baldness is less of a problem than ever, and there is also less stigma surrounding baldness, giving men complete control over their own destinies.