Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 31.djvu/107

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97
HATS AS A CAUSE OF BALDNESS.

ing of the plants in this vicinity. He was aided by a large class in botany, among the members of which existed a stimulating spirit of rivalry in bringing the first blooms of any species to the class-room. Over fifty observers, therefore, have been gatherers of the facts upon which the present paper is founded.


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HATS AS A CAUSE OF BALDNESS.

By W. C. GOUINLOCK.

THE suggestive article in your October number, under the heading "A Bald and Toothless Future," should arouse more than a temporary interest. Of late, frequent reference to baldness has been made in medical and other journals, but none of the articles I have read have given the cause, it seems to me, nor suggested the proper means of prevention. The reasons given are mainly: Wearing a close, warm head-covering, thus rendering the natural one superfluous; the custom of cutting the hair close, living and working indoors, ill-ventilated hats, uncleanliness, and heredity. So many explanations indicate an uncertainty as to the real origin. Is it probable that such a uniform result can be due to so many and diverse causes, some of which must operate in one case and not at all in another?

The habit of wearing warm coverings on the head is not of recent date; the armies of Europe, for instance, no inconsiderable number of men, with heads close cropped, have worn for a long period warmer and heavier head-gear than the modern dwellers in cities, without the same tendency to baldness. Nor are the heavy fur coverings of northern races incompatible with luxuriant hair. It is also difficult to understand what injury can result from close cutting, per se. The growth is in the hair-follicle, and in it alone; there is no vital connection between the hair outside the scalp and within; it is usually cut closest at the back of the head and neck, where baldness never occurs. Would not close cutting rather stimulate the growth by exposure of the scalp? Such at least is the popular belief. So, too, with indoor life: women, who ought to show it most, whether in the home or in the factory, are never bald as men are; on the contrary, it is most common with men in good circumstances, as Mr. Eaton's statistics show, men who spend a larger proportion of their daytime in the open air than the indoor worker.

I believe the common form of baldness is due entirely to the kind of hat that is worn, principally to the high hat and the hard felt hat, but also to any other head-covering that constricts the blood-vessels which nourish the hair-bulbs. To have a clearer understanding of this, we must remember that the scalp is supplied with blood by arteries at the back, sides, and front of, and lying close to, the skull,