American humorist Will Rogers once said that “the only thing that can stop falling hair is the floor." In spite of his advice, many people with falling hair continue to be misled by products that claim to grow hair. Americans spend more than $100 million yearly on phony baldness remedies.

Hair-growing schemes have been around since the dawn of time. The Egyptian Queen Ses, mother of King Theta, was probably the first recipient of the first quack cure for baldness in 3400 B.C. The "remedy" was a mixture of dog toes, date refuse, and asses' hooves.

In Britain, men were advised not to cut their hair when the moon was full in order to prevent baldness. If that didn't work, they were told to apply liberal amounts of goose dung on the bald patches.

At present, quacks have become more sophisticated in their approach to baldness. In Britain, a pharmaceutical company came out with a shampoo containing hydrolysed porcupine quills in an effort to capture the ever growing anti-baldness market. Unfortunately, these products are no more effective than the ones used by Queen Ses. Let's take a look at some of them.

Aloe Vera is often touted as a hair grower. It is said that the juice of this plant can stimulate hair growth when rubbed into the scalp. There is, however, no reason for it to work mainly because its juice is 99.5 percent water.

Lanolin is another name in the long list of dubious hair restorers. This substance comes from the oil glands of sheep and is used in some hair conditioners and shampoos. But there is no scientific evidence that it can stop hair loss. It can, however, cause allergic reactions in some people, according to Ruth Winter, an award-winning science writer in “A Consumer's Dictionary of Cosmetic Ingredients.”
Lack of biotin or vitamin H produces hair loss in rats as well as humans. Still, hair care experts do not advice bald men to take supplements. This is because a biotin deficiency is very rare in humans and this happens only in those who subsist on raw egg whites.

The latter contain a substance called avidin that prevents biotin from being absorbed in the body. Since biotin is made in our own gastrointestinal tract and healthy people can easily get it from a variety of foods, there is no need to waste money on supplements. Bald men who have no biotin deficiency don’t have to take biotin either.

Herb lovers will probably encounter burdock sooner or later in their quest for a cure for baldness. While it is promoted for the latter, users will most likely experience adverse reactions like hallucinations and dilated pupils. Some products like burdock tea may also be contaminated with atropine that won't make your hair grow but will certainly kill you.

Since the 1940s, inositol or myo-inositol has been advertised as a hair grower. This is true in rats but not in humans.

Other phony hair growers banned by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) include amino acids, amino-benzoic acid, ascorbic acid, all B vitamins, dexpanthenol, estradiol, jojoba oil, urea and wheat germ oil.

The American Medical Association (AMA) said there is no preparation, device or method that can cure or prevent baldness. Nothing rubbed on the scalp will cause hair to grow since it is a dead structure and cannot be "fed" externally. As Kurt Butler of the Quackery Action Council of Hawaii and Dr. Lynn Rayner of the John A. Burns School of Medicine, University of Hawaii, said in their book The Best Medicine:

"Baldness remedies, both those taken internally and those rubbed into the scalp are frauds, in spite of all the testimonials and sophisticated advertisements. There are no lotions, creams, hormones, vitamins, lights, massages, drugs, or other products or procedures that can cure baldness, which is usually due to hormonal changes and heredity. True, there are a handful of prescription-only drugs and hormones that promote hair growth in some circumstances, but they are hazardous substances, and the risks of their use generally far outweigh the potential benefits. In any case, these are not involved in the treatments offered by mail-order firms and baldness 'clinics,' which offer only cleansers, conditioners, and cosmetics." (Next: Hazards of hair weaving.)

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Author's Bio: 

Sharon Bell is an avid health and fitness enthusiast and published author. Many of her insightful articles can be found at the premier online news magazine