No doubt about it, hair has always been important. Were anyone to argue the contrary he could easily be labeled insensitive. And why? The historical record worldwide shows hair loss has truly made everyone including pharaohs, kings and philosophers self-conscious.
Hair loss among Cave Men
Human history has gone through many evolutionary developments. For example, muscles have disappeared, skull structures expanded, bites weakened and most significantly, the status of hair has developed.
Before the time when wearing clothes was commonplace, human beings warmed themselves by a fire’s glow, close contact and large leaves but first with their own hair. In fact, we still have hair-raising muscles to allow our hair growth to help maintain our body temperature. Hair loss in prehistoric times meant braving the harsh elements of cold and sun often to great personal disadvantage.
While information on hair among primitive men remains scarce, we know it was highly valued from the braids of both genders left on tombs as offerings in burial grounds.
Hair loss in Ancient History
Many men are awed by the history of empires. We can even imagine ourselves as great generals leading 10,000 soldiers in a war against the Gauls for the glory of the Roman Empire. What would it be like to have been Julius Cesar who after a lifetime of battle finally gets to Egypt to find Cleopatra his true love? While the two of you embrace she anoints your head with a creamy concoction containing horse-teeth as well as bear and deer fat because she noticed your hair was falling out. No offense but quite frankly hair loss among the early Romans wasn’t at all well regarded. In fact, losing hair led Julius Cesar to wear an olive branch crown to avoid any appearance of loss of power or wisdom.
In sum, Cleopatra wasn’t at all pleased by the great emperor’s hair loss. Among the Egyptian royalty at the time, children before reaching puberty were shaved and only as adult sovereigns could they wear their hair long or add hair pieces as a sign of their authority at least when there was no outbreak of lice at the moment.
Hippocrates was so concerned about hair loss that he made his own condition worse by trying to put a stop to it using nettles, radishes and olives and even opium and dove excrement. He thus earned the epithet “The Great Bald One.” As if the nickname weren’t embarrassing enough, the hair disorder itself was named “hippocratic hair loss” after him.
Amazingly, Hippocrates’ recipes against hair loss continued to be used for centuries except instead of dove droppings dog and rat dung were used. Can you imagine people’s desperation?
Hair loss in the Middle Ages and Modern Times
The Roman Empire had fallen but governments developing their own cultures remained in their place. In time came the medieval gentleman ideal which implied youthful vim and vigor with a thick train of hair as glimpsed earlier on in Sampson in the biblical Book of Judges.
Hair loss was of utmost importance since hair was a sign of manliness and of good breeding. It led many especially in France to fashion toupees with natural hair which were then sold at great expense and no joke later inherited.
“Look Mom, I finally got Uncle’s wig!”While genetic disposition plays a predominant role in hair loss, the American Plains indigenous peoples who typically didn’t suffer from it did in fact scalp their enemies as a sign of their defeat, a practice recently depicted among the Dothraki in the hit series Game of Thrones.
Only in modern times did men begin to wear their hair short, yet the notion of power associated with long hair remained firm. Thus, judges, magistrates and other notables wore wigs, another decisive No to hair loss.
Hair loss in Contemporary Society
In the eighties puffy hair styles were in. Then during the nineties long, thick hair for men became the rage. At the dawn of the twenty-first century beards again came into style. Today more than ever our success and influence hinge on our appearance.
In fact, popular culture today reflects its great importance:
- In The Simpsons Homer gets promoted by using a hair strengthener.
- Jokes about using cow dung to foster hair growth flourish. Could Hippocrates excrement-based concoctions be their inspiration?
- Successful male role models indeed cultivate their image and hair health.
- Natural hair-care products have been developed.
- Investment in specialized research and development on alopecia and its treatment continues.
The current standard of attractiveness for men brings with it hair loss related affliction as well as self-esteem issues. But thanks to medical and technological progress options well beyond feces concoctions are now available.
Among them are proven prescriptive approaches to slow hair loss as well as hair transplants which are considered safe, reliable and lasting treatments.
Would you use horse teeth and animal fat formulas to resolve your hair loss?
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