Could the hair restoration industry be an illusion, a charade of stigma to facilitate the capitalist wheel for corporations to profit off the innocuous and natural receding of the hairline? How could have baldness surpassed natural selection, the scrutinizing and highly-selective filter of evolution? A trait, if claimed loudly to be quite undesirable, should have long been exempt from existing in the genetic pool. However, up to 50% of the world’s male population is destined to suffer a certain degree of hair loss, a generous demographic that opposes the predictions is incongruous to the present data and disparate from the stereotypes.
Hair loss has proved to be a pervasive, relatively challenging concept to unravel and fathom fully. Despite androgenic alopecia earning a spot at the forefront of the controversial global table, its history and prevalence are environed by a veneer of mystery that blotches the full picture. However, here are some facts and theories that knit together a view of reality that highly resembles the truth.
How ancient civilizations dealt with hair loss
It is entirely unforeseen to learn that hair loss is the oldest vanity related conundrum in the book. Several prominent historical figures and civilizations most known for their exquisite medicinal and profound knowledge for their time crafted remedial concoctions that consisted of bizarre and highly peculiar ingredients to counteract the effects of baldness. Yet however, the condition slipped right out of their hands and baldness surpassed natural selection.
1– Ancient Greek and hair loss
Hippocrates most known for his role in shaping modern medicine, his ambitious spirit, and as we’ll learn later, vast imagination was a pronounced figure with a monumental impact in the chrome dome coalition. The father of medicine attempted to cure baldness through proposing a blend of pigeon droppings, opium, and some herbs; despite the impressive innovative attributes of the mixture and the hard work that Hippocrates poured in, the recipe had a null effect on eliminating the progression of hair loss. Despite soaking their scalps with amusingly repulsive components, Hippocrates and his companions resumed their camaraderie and grew to watch their hairs greying and hairlines receding ensemble hopelessly.
2– Ancient Egyptians and hair loss
The masterminds behind one of the world’s seven wonders and the most significant civilization in history, in terms of advancements and intelligence, likewise, struggled with hair loss. The oldest prescription for balding was found in the Ebers Papyrus document dating back to 1500 BCE and is concrete proof of the prevalent stigmatization of androgenic alopecia throughout the ages. Although ancient Egyptians were most known for their extensive and impressive knowledge of chemistry and sciences, their mummification processes, architecture, culture, and mechanics, the Pharaos and their skills were put to the test with hair loss.
The magical potion that the ancient Egyptians brought to the table is unprecedented in terms of gruesomeness and innovation alike, warmed hedgehog spikes, a versatile collection of fats extracted from lizards and animals, oil, honey, and fingernails were actively promoted within the society to be the ultimate solution to hair loss. The sacrifices of the Egyptians and their willingness to experiment in areas of repulsive medicine all went in vain.
3– Julius Caesar
The roman politician Julius Caesar, among the topmost controversial characters in history, was known for a versatile range of things that thoughtco best summarized “Julius Caesar (100—44 BCE) changed Rome forever. He dodged proscription and pirates, changed the calendar and the army. Admittedly a womanizer himself, he dismissed his wife for suspicious behavior, wrote (bad) poetry and a third-person account of the wars he waged, started a civil war, conquered the area of modern France, and made a stab at Britain.”
Julius Caesar is among the profound historical characters that struggled with hair loss and repeatedly attempted to counteract. The Roman general eventually had to give in to the receding hairline but attempted to grow the back of his hair to brush it over the top in a hairstyle referred to as the combover. Perhaps among the many notable achievements of Caesar is his overlooked role as the pioneering father of the combover.
4– The Vikings
The Vikings made an entree in the binder of bizarre historical treatments for hair loss through their cursory suggestion and a strong belief in goose droppings as the effective treatment for the escaping hairline. It seems that individuals in the past held fecal wasting at a higher value than we do today.
Perhaps the minimalist approach exhibited by the Vikings in the treatment of hair loss was the ideal approach as, in the end, both the elaborate ingredients and the exaggerated potions were all sizzle and no steak.
Why did ancient civilizations fail to treat hair loss?
Simply because hair loss is not a disease, it is an inherent aspect of aging, a natural physiological process that is encoded within the individual’s genetic information. As Dr. Ferton put it, “You can’t cure something that is a normal physiological happening,” he says. “You’re fighting your genetic programming. And to do that, you have to do it forever or until you don’t care.”
Necessarily, since hair loss is a continuous metabolic process that is consistently pedaling destructive cellular events within the cell, hair loss medications such as Minoxidil will have to be part of a perpetual battle within the scalp.
The attempts to treat hair loss in the past did not tackle cellular events and instead dealt with baldness through surface-depth approaches. Therefore, while the potions may have had beneficial properties, their effects were confined and could not transcend deep enough to interact or influence the cellular miniaturization that takes place within the cells. Perhaps their delay in discovering a cure for the treatment was an influential factor in how baldness surpassed natural selection.
What actually happens in the cell during hair loss
Testosterone, a hormone that is crucial for sexual development, plays a role in the event of hair development where it promotes growth in follicular units. However, the hyperactivity of DHT in hair follicles becomes counterproductive. Now typically, for any hormone or signal protein to trigger a particular cascade of chain reactions, it must initially bind to a specific receptor. Androgens bind to Androgen receptors that are encoded with the Ar gene.
In androgenic alopecia, the Ar gene acquires a sort of mutation that increases the number of androgen receptors and, consequently, androgen-related metabolic activity. The inheritance pattern of hair loss in androgenic alopecia is the standard receding hairline. Since the condition is induced by genetics, the progression of hair loss varies from one individual to the other. Scientists are currently trying to discover how androgen hyperactivity yields polarizing effects on follicular units based on their location.
How are bald men perceived?
The argument relating to baldness revolves around attractiveness, and the general opinion oscillates between unattractiveness and dominance. Are bald men more attractive, more dominant, more intelligent, and the adjectives run on an infinite list? A non-biased controlled study was conducted in 2004 by Frank Muscarella. Muscarella’s objective was to attain a controlled view and perception of bald men by the general public.
- With the assistance of a hairdresser, Muscarella had wigs cut according to the typical patterns of hair loss.
- One wig was to resemble a recently receding hairline, one wig to mirror the complete U-shape pattern of androgenic alopecia, and one wig remained untouched.
- The wigs were placed on six different students, and with the aid of some photo editing programs, were fixed to perfection.
- It was essential to ensure the pictures looked absolutely natural, not to alter the judgments of the subjects.
- The images were then displayed to 101 male psychology students and 101 female psychology students, and the subjects were asked to rate the attractiveness of the models in the pictures and make assumptions regarding their personalities.
- The results obtained suggest that although the models with the receding hairline and the bald head were not considered equally attractive, they were seen as more intelligent and older in age.
Interpretation of Muscarella’s results:
- Why bald men are seen as more dominant: The dominance that is commonly attributed to baldness is, in reality, relative to age and wisdom. Bald men are perceived older than their counterparts and, consequently, more dominant in said respective.
- why men with a full mane are seen as more attractive: It is typically that men with hair are perceived to be younger and with an air of fierce youthful vitality as aging, disease, and the deterioration of health as common inducers of hair loss. Subconsciously, prejudice is present, and by extension, stigma is built surrounding the issue that leads balding men to lose confidence.
Why is baldness not an extinct trait, and how baldness surpassed natural selection?
Back to the main point of the article, how baldness surpassed natural selection to remain active and relatively dominant in the genetic pool, the physiological characters of androgenic alopecia often become apparent somewhere in the mid-twenties on average. The early twenties are considered in the past to be perfect breeding ages, and by the mid-twenties, the average male would have reproduced children of his own and already passed on his genes before they break out of their dormancy. As a result of the ambiguous nature of the condition and its relatively belated onset, the genes responsible for androgenic alopecia were silently passed on to future generations.
It is worth noting that androgenic alopecia is an X-linked disorder that men inherit from their mothers. However, daughters can inherit the mutation from both parents and pass it on.
What is the best hair loss treatment?
1 – Minoxidil
The best hair loss treatment varies from one person to the other. Generally, most patients are interested in Minoxidil being the lowest cost treatment and most accessible in terms of application. Although minoxidil is FDA approved, the NHS does not group it as an effective treatment. For some patients, minoxidil can reverse hair loss and promote growth; for others, the potential of minoxidil is restricted to halting further hair loss, for the more unfortunate the treatment can be entirely inefficient. Because minoxidil is not consistent and does not cater to individual variety, it is not advised to apply it in cases where hair loss is starting to take on an apparent form or occurring apace.
2 – Hair transplants
Hair transplants are a surgical approach that operates on the loophole within the condition. Since a select area of the scalp has a genetic propensity to miniaturize inevitably, the hair loss resistant follicles can be extracted from the back and of the scalp from sectors of perpetual stability and relocated to hair loss areas. Hair transplants can be thought of as a portable combover, where instead of growing the backside and combing it over, the grafts themselves are individually extracted and implanted in the balding scalp. The diffusion of hair density yields a natural-looking result.
The quality of the results depends entirely on the technique implemented, the more advanced the technology the better the results.
- FUE hair transplants are better than FUT hair transplants in the sense they do not leave any visible scarring or induce nerve damage.
- Similarly, Sapphire FUE yields a better transformation than the traditional FUE, owing to its abilities to make smaller incisions at a faster pace, consequently creating a more dense look.
- DHI FUE although time-efficient poses a higher risk of mechanical error on the grafts that can adversely impact the final look.
- In a case such as hair transplants where the donor region is finite, taking care of the extremely delicate grafts before, during, and after the procedure is a key factor in the overall success of the surgery.
Best treatments for Female pattern hair loss
Unlike male pattern hair loss, female pattern alopecia cannot be reversed with hair transplants, options such as minoxidil and PRP therapy are more effective in the treatment of female androgenic alopecia than they are on male androgenic alopecia.
Hair loss has baffled humanity for centuries and put the knowledge of several profound civilizations to the test. Many historical characters have struggled with hair, great men have died bald despite going to exaggerated extents to stop it. Although baldness surpassed natural selection and has managed to keep its traits relavent within the global gene pool, owing greatly to its cunning characteristics, fortunately there are ways to deal with the condition that efficiently reverse its physiological symptoms that are neither gruesome nor dramatic.
Contact the Vera Clinic for a personal online consultation to have your hair loss related concerns addressed.