.....In Ancient Egypt
We have been styling, cutting, and colouring our hair since the earliest known days. Simultaneously, we've been doing everything we can prevent and treat hair loss.
Dating back to 1550 BC, the Ebers Papyrus, a medical text, was giving insight in the treatment of an array of conditions. The ancient Egyptians were treating hair loss with a mix of the fats of a lion, hippopotamus, cat, snake and goat applied to the scalp.
If that treatment didn't work, need not worry! Other options included porcupine hair boiled in water or consider the leg of a female greyhound sautéed in oil with the hoof of a donkey. These were rubbed on to the scalp for several days.
Even now, not every patient of my own likes topical treatments that one needs to rub on the scalp ... and the same was true back then. One also had options to recite a magic spell to the sun god and then eat a mixture of red lead, iron, onions, honey and alabaster.
Grey hairs were treated with the blood of a black animal such as a cat, bull or calf boiled with oil.
In ancient Greece, 420 BC, Hippocrates was treating his own hair loss with a mixture of pigeon droppings, horseradish, spices, opium and beetroot.
We've come a long way since these early days but still have a long, long ways to go. I have no doubt that the world some 1000 years from now will look back on us in the 21st century with a similar degree of fascination, shock and laughter!
Dr. Jeff Donovan is a Canadian and US board certified dermatologist specializing exclusively in hair loss. To schedule a consultation, please call the Whistler office at 604.283.1887