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Bizarre Baldness Cures Throughout History

Louis XIII France Hair Piece The Belgravia Centre

Hairpiece fit for a King – Louis XIII of France

Whilst balding and hair loss have always been around, hair loss treatments haven’t always been as advanced as they are today. Throughout history, some weird and wonderful remedies have been tried with varying degrees of success – there are certainly plenty of these that we wouldn’t want to try today!

Ancient Egypt

A medical papyrus, the ‘Ebers Papyrus’, which dates back to 1550BC, has some rather unusual recommendations for Ancient Egyptians experiencing hairloss. Crocodile, porcupine hair steeped in water, tomcat and fat from a hippopotamus were all recommended remedies in Ancient Egypt, but whether any of them worked is unproven!

Ancient Greece

Hippocrates, the ancient Greek physician, was known to have experienced Male Pattern Baldness, developing an ointment made from beetroot, horseradish, opium, pigeon droppings and spices, which perhaps unsurprisingly didn’t prevent hair loss. It also wasn’t particularly popular with the men to whom he prescribed it, perhaps due in part to the odour.

Ancient Rome

Another famous figure from history who experienced baldness was the emperor, Julius Caesar. He took a rather radical approach to his thinning hair and was one of the first men to start the trend for combovers. Unfortunately, without the modern invention of hairspray, his attempts to create a combover failed rather miserably, and he turned instead to a home remedy of horse teeth, ground mice and bear grease. When this failed, he covered his balding pate with his iconic laurel wreath.

The 17th Century

In the 17th Century, hair loss treatments took a back seat as hairpieces enjoyed a revival. Royals such as King Louis XIII of France wore toupees to hide their baldness, whilst elaborate and immense white curled and powdered wigs became practically de rigeur for English and French nobles.

The 19th Century

By the 19th Century, many men were spending a fortune on promised cures for baldness. Hall’s Vegetable Sicilian Hair Renewer was one of the most popular products, the secret formula obtained from a mysterious Sicilian promising to destroy bacteria which caused hair loss. Perhaps unsurprisingly, since the product contained lead, many of those who used it fell ill with lead poisoning, and the remedy was soon removed from circulation.

The 20th Century

The 20th Century saw the rise in popularity of high-tech solutions for male and female hair loss, and one of the most notable inventions of the era was Allied Merke Institute’s Thermocap device, released to the market in 1925. The device featured a ‘bonnet’ which emitted heat and blue light, supposedly stimulating dormant hair and encouraging growth. It promised that just 15 minutes use a day would rejuvenate thinning hair, which unsurprisingly led to its rise as a popular gadget for hair loss treatment. Sadly, it provided little in the way of results, although it has arguably paved the way for the modern day exploration of Low Level Laser Therapy (LLLT) as a prospective hair loss treatment.


Perhaps we should be grateful that today, thanks to scientific research, we have wide selection of effective treatments for male and female hair loss, which are available from trained hair loss professionals.

Some of Hollywood’s hottest male celebrities embrace their balding pates as part of their image, but for those who want to re-grow their hair, the range of treatments on offer continues to expand and improve.

The Belgravia Centre

The Belgravia Centre is the leader in hair loss treatment in the UK, with two clinics based in Central London. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our online diagnostic form from anywhere in the UK or the rest of the world. View our hair loss success stories, which are the largest collection of such success stories in the world and demonstrate the levels of success that so many of Belgravia’s patients achieve. You can also phone 0800 077 6666 any time for our hair loss helpline or to arrange a free consultation.

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