by James Harris, MD January 16, 2017

Hair throughout history

Hair loss | History of Hair

Throughout history, attractive hair has been highly prized among all cultures. In ancient Greece women wore their hair long, and elaborate braids and precious metals adorned those belonging to the upper classes. In Roman times elaborate wigs indicated high status, while slaves and those in mourning were obliged to keep their hair closely cropped. In most Islamic cultures throughout the ages, women’s hair was (and still is) seen as so irresistibly and flagrantly sensual that it must be kept covered at all times.

Europe in the 18th century took hairstyles to extravagant lengths, and nobility adorned their natural hair and wigs with feathers, lace, jewels, and even caged live birds. Louis the 14th had 40 wigmakers at the Palace of Versailles, and French fashion set the tone for all of Europe. It was also during this time that men and women from the upper classes began to wear white, curly wigs. Political figures and judges soon joined ranks, and the psychological association with hair as a sign of wisdom, influence and power strengthened. In contemporary times the fascination with hair continues—18 billion dollars was spent globally in 2016 in pursuit of a “good hair day”.

A sign of beauty and vitality

If long, thick, shiny hair is a universal marker of health, vitality and beauty, thin hair is universally associated with aging, diminished strength and poor health for both men and women. For women in particular, luscious locks are associated with female sexuality and sensuality, while thin hair is associated with decreased fertility. And while some men can pull off a Jason Statham, bald-is-beautiful approach to dealing with hair loss, very few women would consider that an option, Sinead O’Connor notwithstanding. Regardless of your actual biological age, thin hair is psychologically associated with the deteriorating physical vitality that comes with advanced age, including decreased strength, flexibility, height, sexuality and cognitive skills.

You may not know all of your options

Fortunately we live in an age when a wig is not the only option. In fact a follicular unit excision (FUE) hair transplant can deliver natural, undetectable, permanent results for many people. And non-surgical options are getting better all the time in slowing or preventing loss altogether. Laser therapy, platelet-rich plasma, Rogaine and Propecia can all yield dramatic results. 

Contact my clinic for a consultation or ask me a question about your unique situation and how we might treat it. 


Dr. James A. Harris is an internationally renowned hair transplant surgeon, inventor of patented follicular unit excision technology, published author in the field of hair restoration and an advocate for patient care. Learn more about Dr. Harris or read rave reviews from his patients.


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