|Miracle cures for hair
loss were sold by snake-oil salesmen in the Old West.
Some of them are still sold on the Internet today.
A "cure for baldness" has long been a profitable claim for unethical
salesmen. The Old West snake-oil salesman might sell his product as a cure for
baldness when his audience was made up mostly of men, and a cure for "women's
complaints" when his audience was mostly women. In the next town, he might
sell it as a cure for rheumatism. The common thread in all of his claims is they
are unverified by any scientifically acceptable evidence.
We might believe that we are more sophisticated and knowledgeable than the citizens
of a small town in the Old West who gathered around the wagon of the snake-oil
salesman to hear his pitch. While it is true that we are probably more knowledgeable
because there is more information to know about, it is also true that the purveyors
of nostrums incorporate today's advanced knowledge into their claims. The Nineteenth
Century snake-oil salesman might base his claims on "secret knowledge" passed
along to him by an ancient medicine man. The purveyor of nostrums today is
more likely to make claims using words taken out of context from the sciences
and biochemistry to link his claims to scientific research.
Healthy scepticism applies to products claiming effectiveness and safety in
If the product claims to have been developed in almost any country other than
your own thereby making it almost impossible for you to contact the producers
personally (e.g. made in the US, Switzerland), be sceptical. Another common claim
is that the product comes from a natural healthy source (e.g. some plants from
the Amazonian basin), the purveyor is appealing to your
products. Some products will claim to have been scientifically investigated
by doctors, but when you attempt to get the information about these doctors,
it is often not available. Unless the product is certified by
recognised body, such as the Federal Drug Administration or the South African
Council, do not be hoodwinked by so-called scientific claims.
You must especially be aware of, and careful of, deceptive before and after pictures.
These may come in several forms: 1) different lighting conditions, most commonly
the "after" picture being the darkest 2) different angles: this is
particularly common with the top view of the scalp used as the "before" because
the hair looks thicker as the patient lifts his head, showing more of the face
and less of the top of the scalp 3) different distances from the camera, the "after" picture
often being at a greater distance 4) the picture being of a condition or disease
different from that being promoted - alopecia areata and telogen effluvium (usually
postpartum) are 2 commonly abused conditions because of their tendency to spontaneously
Is the product really a "hair thickener" rather than a hair restoration
product? Read the product marketing information carefully to be sure you understand
the claims. Some products are capable of making temporary chemical changes in
hair that "thicken" each hair fibre and create the effect of greater
fullness, making it seem as though there is more hair. Hair thickeners do not
they merley produce a temporary cosmetic improvement.