Hair restoration history dates back as early as the prehistoric era. A time when mixtures of natural elements in the environment are the frequently used solution to hair problems.
Over the years, numerous techniques have been developed to respond to people’s need either to prevent the occurrence of or to treat hair loss. Because of its many forms, history witnessed the evolution of different approach to hair restoration.
A thorough analysis of the history of hair restoration shows a continuum of four important procedures which include the following:
- Topical hair restoration
- Surgical hair restoration
- Non Surgical – Oral hair restoration products
- Non Surgical – Laser hair restoration
These methods are the frequently encountered solution to restore hair growth and to prevent baldness among male and female. The following sections provide a more detailed discussion of each technique’s origin.
History of Topical Hair Restoration Procedure
Hair restoration history cites topical procedures as the earliest method undertaken by primitive inhabitants not only as form of preventing or treating hair loss but more generally as a part of a regimen for aesthetic purposes.
The origin of topical hair treatments can be traced to ancient Egypt where early people used animal fats as a form of external medication comparable to present-day hair creams. Lard coming from animals such as lion, geese, hippopotamus, crocodile, and other reptiles were occasionally combined with some herbs and even animal manure to form shampoo-like mixtures to be applied and massaged onto the scalp. These formulations were believed to be a cure for hair loss among the early ancestors.
To date topical medications that induce hair regrowth includes a multitude of products such as hair restoration shampoo, conditioner, cream or lotion, ointment and spray-on mixtures. More often than not, these products contain Minoxidil, a chemical that stops the thinning of hair and promotes hair growth in areas where hair is not visibly growing.
History of Surgical Hair Restoration Procedure
Seeing the need for more effective procedures that can yield visible and faster results has led to the development of surgical procedures to restore normal hair density among individuals suffering from pattern baldness. The history of hair restoration indicates that as early as 1792, surgical restoration procedures such as those in the form of hair transplantations had been pioneered by surgeons like Johann Diffenbach, a Prussian doctor. The process of hair transplantation has undergone a series of improvement that by 1959, Norman Orentreich of New York had successfully transplanted “plugs” or large-sized grafts from the rear of the scalp to the bald patches on the frontal area. This procedure is somewhat similar to the treatment of Japanese surgeons Okuda (1939) and Tamara (1943), who used this restoration method to correct thinning areas in the scalp, eyebrows, pubic and moustache regions.
The 1980’s was characterized by even more development in the area of surgical hair restoration; a process called mini-grafting came about during this time. Compared to the straight and doll-like hairline yielded by earlier methods of “plug” transplants, mini-grafting allows for a more natural-looking result as this procedure corrects pattern baldness by transplanting smaller grafts in the form of 1 to 4 bundles of hair (commonly called follicular units).
History of Non-Surgical – Oral and Laser – Hair Restoration Procedures
Hair restoration history indicates that it was only during the 1990’s that the oral intake of supplements/medicines as a form of hair restoration became a popular alternative to surgical treatments. During this time, oral medication such as, Propecia, a pill specifically designed to lessen and eventually stop hair loss, became well-accepted in the market because of its convenience and affordability compared to the surgical hair transplantations.
Another form of non-surgical method to restore hair growth is through laser procedures. Laser hair restoration started in 1964 when Andrew Mester from the University of Budapest conducted a series of tests that determined whether shaved mice will regrow hair when they are subjected to cold laser lights. Over the years, this method has developed as a support procedure after surgical treatment via hair transplantation; other types of laser therapy on the other hand can be used alone to prevent further thinning of hair.