Trichology is the medical term used to describe the study of the hair and scalp and the issues related to them. It encompasses the entire range of diseases of the hair and scalp as well as the assessment and treatment of disorders.
The word “trichology” originates from ‘trikhos’ the Greek word for ‘hair’. The concept of trichology was first recognised as a specialist branch of medicine in the late 19th century. It officially became a para-medical discipline in 1902. A para-medical status means it’s not considered an official medical discipline but it’s also not “alternative medicine” which includes acupuncture, homeopathy and reiki.
Nowadays, trichology is seen as the bridge between cosmetology and dermatology.
What is a Trichologist?
Trichologists are specialists in the science behind the function, structure and diseases of human hair and the scalp.
Otherwise known as a ‘hair doctor’, trichologists are trained in life sciences and can evaluate hair loss issues holistically. Many people see a trichologist about their hair loss before they see their GP. No matter the process, as with all para-medical consultations, trichologists will work with your GP to ensure that you receive the right treatment.
What Happens During a Trichologist Consultation?
A trichologist consultation takes between 60-90 minutes which will include going through your full medical history and discuss every aspect of your lifestyle including: diet, stress, medications and the issue with your scalp.
The condition of your hair can tell a lot about your lifestyle. Hair that is full and shiny is typically an indicator of a healthy lifestyle whereas dull and lifeless hair can be linked to a stressed, unhealthy lifestyle.
A thorough examination of your scalp is carried out which may include photographs of your scalp being taken, hair samples taken and the scalp being looked at under a magnifying glass. Sometimes blood work may be requested which can be done through the NHS or through the clinic itself.
Your trichologist will give you a preliminary diagnosis and a hypothesis as to why you have hair loss. They will decide on the correct course of treatment based on all factors discussed, and if they think you may have an underlying medical issue causing your hair loss, they will advise that you speak to your GP.
Not everybody who seeks the advice of a trichologist has a hair problem. Some people choose to have a consultation for advice on how to keep their hair and scalp in top condition in order to reduce the risk of hair loss. Doing so could save money further down the line.
Alternatively, you can consult your GP who will examine your hair and offer a course of treatment but the consultation will not be as thorough as that of a trained trichologist.
What Can A Trichologist Help With?
Professional trichologists will investigate and help deduce the reason you are suffering from hair loss. Trichologists can cover a variety of hair and scalp problems including chronic diffuse hair thinning, to genetic hair loss and itchy/flaky scalps that cause irritation.
These are some examples of the common issues that trichologists are consulted on:
- Alopecia Areata
- Alopecia Totalis
- Alopecia Universalis
- Telogen Effluvium (shredding/thinning of hair)
- Infectious hair diseases
- Hair restoration
- Itchy scalp
- Painful scalp
- Scaly scalp
With hair treatments available for men and women, including laser therapy, hair systems, scalp micro pigmentation and alopecia treatments, a trichologist can help determine the exact cause of hair loss, allowing you to choose the best treatment for your needs.
In scalp disorder cases, your trichologist could prescribe treatment in the form of creams and shampoos which can be used in the clinic or at home. These treatments are usually manufactured by the trichologist themselves or by other licensed experts who manufacture such solutions. These products must be used under the instruction of your trichologist.
What to look for in a Trichologist
As trichology is a paid service unavailable on the NHS, you must ensure the individual you consult is a reputable practitioner. A professional trichologist will be a registered member of The Institute of Trichologists and should have AIT, FIT or MIT at the end of their name.
How Optima Can Help
If you’re looking for a reputable trichologist, Optima Hair Specialists can help. You can book a consultation or call us now to arrange your confidential diagnosis appointment for only £99. Alternatively, you can arrange a free of charge consultation on the treatments available with us 6 days a week. Call or email us to speak with one of our hair loss experts.