Baldness, an absence of hair on the head. Congenital baldness (complete absence of hair at birth) is sometimes met with; but, in most cases, is only temporary, and gives place, in a few years, to a natural growth of hair. Occasionally, howerver, it persists through life. Senile baldness (calvities) is one of the most familiar signs of old age. It commences in a small area at the crown, where the natural hair is first replaced by down before the skin becomes smooth and shining. From this area the process extends in all directions. It is more common in men than in women. A precisely similar condition occurs not unfrequently at an earlier age (presenile baldness). It is generally due to hereditary tendency; but is favored by keeping the head closely covered, especially with a waterproof cap. The best authorities agree that this form of baldness is incurable.

Great loss of hair frequently follows severe illnesses or other causes which produce general debility. As health returns, the hair usually returns with it.

Entry from Everybody's Cyclopedia, 1912.