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Baldness And Treatment Of The Hair

( Originally Published Early 1900's )

In an article recently contributed to the Gesundheit - a paper, as its name imports, de-1 voted to sanitary subjects Professor Reclam, a German Gelehrter, makes some timely and useful observations on the subject of baldness. I After describing, in a vein of pleasantry, the I vast array of bare polls which may be seen any evening in the pit of a theater or the body of a lecture room, he discusses the causes of baldness. He does not think, as is sometimes said, that loss of hair is the result either of impaired health or of much study. The strongest men are often bareheaded, and German professors, who are nothing if not studious, are distinguished above all men by the profusion of their locks. On the other hand, soldiers and postilions, who wear heavy helmets and leather caps, and wear them a good deal, are frequently as bald as billiard balls. From these facts Herr Reclam draws the conclusion that baldness is chiefly due to the artificial determination of blood to the head, and to the heat and perspiration thence arising. The result is a relaxed condition of the scalp and loss of hair. If the skin of the head be kept iii a healthy state, contends the professor, the hair will not fall off. To keep it healthy, the head-covering should be light and porous, the head kept clean by washings with water, and the hair cut short. The nostrums vended as hair restorers, and on which a fabulous amount of money is wasted by the ignorant for the benefit of quacks, he denounced as worse than useless. In ninety-nine cases out of a hundred they are worse than useless. Cleanliness and cold water are the sole trustworthy specifics ; but when once the hair roots are destroyed, not all the oil of Macassar, the bear's grease of Siberia, nor the cantharides of Spain will woo back the vanished locks.


How to preserve the hair is a subject which seems to interest almost everybody, if we may judge from the frequent inquiries from every direction which come to our attention. One wishes to know what will prevent baldness, another how to preserve his hair from turning gray, another how to eradicate dandruff, etc. Now it is a delicate matter to recommend any special treatment, but Professor Wilson, of England, who is deemed high authority on the hair, condemns washing it, and advises, instead, thorough brushing. This promotes circulation, removes scurf, and is in all respects, he says, better than water. Cutting the hair does not, as commonly thought, promote its growth. Most of the specifics recommended for baldness, not excepting petroleum, are mere stimulants, and are seldom or never permanently successful. Some of them give rise to congestion of the scalp. When a stimulant is desirable, ammonia is the best. It is safe.

For falling out of the hair, Dr. Wilson pre-scribes a lotion composed of water of ammonia, almond oil, and chloroform, one part each, diluted with five parts alcohol, or spirits of rosemary, the whole made fragrant with a drachm of oil of lemon. Dab it on the skin,after thorough friction with the hair brush. It may be used sparingly or abundantly, daily or otherwise. For a cooling lotion, one made of two drachms of borax and glycerine to eight ounces of distilled water is effective, allaying dryness, subduing irritability, and removing dandruff.

Both baldness and grayness depend on defective powers of the scalp skin, and are to be treated alike. What is needed is moderate stimulation, without any irritation. The following is good: Rub into the bare places daily, or even twice a day, a liniment of camphor, ammonia, chloroform, and aconite, equal parts each. The friction should be very gentle.

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