Hair Culture: Changing Ideas About Hair Loss
Updated: June 8, 2005
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1. Hair Science
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A book published in 1901 called Macfadden's New Hair Culture: Rational, Natural Methods For Cultivating Strength and Luxuriance Of The Hair shows just how backward hair science was at the time. The book was written by Bernarr Macfadden, one of the pioneers of physical fitness, good nutrition and a holistic approach to treating illness. To his credit, Macfadden promoted scalp massage, a proper diet and keeping the scalp clean in order to promote healthy hair. However, some of his other ideas show just how far hair care has come in the past 100 years. Following are some interesting excerpts:
"Some claim that women, being less engaged in mental labor, and having less business worries, are able to secure a more constant and even supply of blood to the scalp."
Thinking hard can't cause your hair to fall out! Stress, on the other hand, can constrict the scalp muscles and reduce circulation to the scalp; however, only in extreme cases does stress affect hair growth -in men as well as women!
"When the hair is allowed to grow long in the early life of a girl, the nourishment of long hair is possible, but when kept closely cropped as in boys, conditions are decidedly different. The scalp is not so thick and not so much blood is attracted to it, and naturally when weakness or conditions are such as to produce a weakening influence on the hair, the male is far more liable to lose his hair than would a female whose hair is more strongly rooted and nourished."
Male hormones are responsible for why many men suffer permanent hair loss. It has nothing to do with how short or long someone chooses to grow their hair.
"Dead hairs should never be allowed to remain in the scalp; they should be plucked as soon as they can be easily removed. Under these circumstances, if they are removed another hair always grows from the same follicle or root sheath; but if this dead hair is allowed to remain until it falls out on its own accord, it often kills the root, and the hair never grows again."
Each hair has a natural growth cycle. After several years of growing, the hair naturally sheds. The follicle "rests" for a few weeks, then starts to produce another new hair. Plucking a hair manually simply makes way for the next hair growth cycle.
"Baldness cannot be inherited any more than can consumption."
Known as "male pattern baldness," androgenetic alopecia is inherited from one or both parents.
McFadden's advice for men experiencing hair loss:
* Don't wear tight or heavy hats, and in fact, wear a hat only when you are compelled to.
* Keep the general health in as fine a condition as possible.
* Don't worry excessively.
* Don't do too much brain work.
* Lead a wholesome, cleanly life.
* Don't be intemperate in pleasure or in work.