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Thursday, 2 February 2012

Baldness

According to the Ancient Greek historian Herodotus, Egyptian men never became bald. The reason for this was that, as children, the Ancient Egyptian males had their heads shaved, and their scalps were continually exposed to the health-giving rays of the sun.

Ancient Indians believed that doing handstands would cure baldness.

Julius Caesar was very self conscious of his lack of hair (baldness was considered a deformity by the Romans and he was sensitive of it). Fortunately he was given permission by the Roman senate to wear his laurel wreath all of the time to hide his baldness. He had his facial hairs individually plucked out with tweezers every day.

The phrase as bald as a coot originated in the 15th century. It refers to the common coot, a water bird, which has a white bill that extends to form a conspicuous white plate on its forehead, which has given it the name of 'bald coot.'

Louis XIII of France became bald prematurely. He first used a few artificial strands to supplement his own sparse growth, but as his baldness increased, he had to don a complete covering wig. As a consequence, upper-class Frenchmen of the 17th century adopted the king's practice of wearing wigs.

His successor, Louis XIV, also sufffered from a lack of hair. He was very conscious of his baldness, never permitting anyone to see his naked head, for which reason his wig was his constant companion.

In the 19th century, treatments and cures for baldness were concocted of substances as varied as bear's grease, beef marrow, onion juice, butter, and flower water. They were sometimes such toxic substances as sulfur or mercury.

The actor Patrick Stewart lost all his hair at 18 and believed that no woman would ever be interested in him again.

The English Olympic gold-winning cyclist Joanna Rowsell Shand has had alopecia areata, a condition resulting in hair loss, since she was ten. She says there are some positives such as not needing to constantly shave her legs like other cyclists, or struggle to fit her helmet over her hair.

Hair on the head grows for between 2-6 years before being replaced. In the case of baldness, the dormant hair is not replaced with new hair.


Statistically speaking, men have a 50% chance of being bald by the time they're 50 years old.

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