The Viking Age lasted from 800 AD to 1050 AD, during which time the people of Scandinavia the Vikings travelled vast areas of Europe for trade and conquest. Ships captained by these talented and tough explorers reached what is now Turkey and Russia, and some even reached North America.
The Old Norse way of life has recently seen a surge in popularity with the release of the History channel’s epic drama Vikings a serial that tracks the life and achievements of Danish folk hero Ragnar Lodbrok. Played by Australian hunk Travis Fimmel, Ragnar is depicted as a wolf-eyed leader of men, hungry for conquest. The sides of his head are shaved, while the hair on top is left to grow long, before being braided. Ragnar’s appearance is consistent with our typical image of Vikings as well-muscled raiders, with thick beards and a mess of hair under their helmets but could the Viking’s way of life actually raise the risk of hair loss?
Vikings led very tough lives. Although the TV show exaggerates the degree of violence, it was certainly the case that the Dark Ages were more dangerous times than those in which we now live. The risk of death from raiding, disease, famine, and exposure was all too real, and daily life was characterised by a struggle for survival. All this was exceptionally stressful, and there is a well-defined relationship between stress and hair loss. To make matters worse, the Vikings existed at a time well before the discovery of Vitamin C, so if your stores were not well stocked with preserved vegetables and fruit during winter or a long sea voyage, there was a very real possibility of hair loss as result of scurvy.
If the Viking lifestyle increased the risk of losing one’s hair, what about their hair styles and choice of head gear? When going into battle, Vikings wore helmets, and during times of peace they tended to braid their hair into complex patterns.
The good news is that helmets do not cause hair loss. Even though they might rub on the scalp from time to time, the effect of this on the hair follicles themselves would be negligible. In fact, wearing a helmet might actually prevent hair loss: in a battle situation, flesh wounds to the scalp from swords or clubs might lead to the formation of scar tissue; leaving permanent bald patches. Braids, however, can cause hair loss in a form known as Traction Alopecia although the loose braids favoured by Vikings would have been less likely to lead to hairloss symptoms.
Fortunately, people in this day and age do not have to worry about malnutrition to the same degree as the Vikings. The threat of violence is also much lower, however the stresses of a high-pressured working environment can contribute to modern-day hair loss. The Belgravia Centre helps thousands of men and women regrow their hair, using a 21st Century approach of proven medications, on-going monitoring and hair growth supplements. Take a look at our gallery and success stories to see how we might be able to help you too.
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