Trichology, the science of hair, is a point of both medical and cosmetic study concerned with the hair and scalp. Focusing on the structure, function, and diseases of the hair, trichology is targeted at both the diagnosis and treatment of problems regarding hair health and hair loss. Originally offered as a course of study at the University of Southern California under the tutelage of David Salinger, trichology quickly expanded as a field with the creation of the International Association of Trichologists in 1974. A non-profit organization, the IAT seeks to develop educational programming and vital training in the study of trichology.
So Why is Trichology Important to You?
Today, certified trichologists serve as diagnosticians for patients with a wealth of varying hair and scalp-related concerns. Frequently operating out of medical offices, trichologists are the first stop in determining the cause of and treatment for hair loss. Essentially, trichologists determine whether hair loss is treatable and reversible – a step that is necessary before proceeding with any hair replacement methods.
Visits to a trichologist typically take about an hour and delve far deeper than most people expect into a wide range of topics. Initially, the consultation will begin with a conversation covering all aspects of lifestyle including diet, stress, activities, and a multitude of external factors. The next step will involve taking a full family medical history, specifically with regard to immediate family members and their experiences with hair and scalp health. Finally, the visit culminates in an examination of the head and scalp. Utilizing a variety of lights, computer tools, and a hands-on exam, the trichologist inspects every detail of the scalp, working through one small section of hair at a time to “read” both the scalp and the clogs that exist within the hair follicles. Following the exam, the trichologist will analyze the results and provide a final determination of whether the blood vessels are active (meaning hair regrowth is possible) or inactive (meaning hair regrowth will not happen).
When Should You Visit A Trichologist
While many patients would seek out a trichologist based on doctor recommendation or personal inclination following a period of hair change or loss, prevention is always better than a cure so it is not necessary to wait until a problem exists before seeking out a professional. Hair loss concerns are certainly a major factor in the role of a trichologist; however, patients can choose to see a trichologist simply to solicit advice on keeping a scalp and its hair in healthy condition. For many, this is seen as a preventive measure as it can help to reduce the risk of hair loss in the future.
It is important to remember that trichologists are specialists in the area of hair health, but they are not doctors – they are simply the first step in determining what the best course of action is regarding any hair loss occurrence. Services should only be paid for after they have occurred – never before – and certified trichologists are held to a strict code of professional ethics that are upheld by the IAT.
Despite the fact that hair loss is not typically a fatal condition to contend with, it is one that can have a lasting, destructive impact on a person’s social and emotional well-being. It is in those times that trichology becomes an incomparable field of study and your trichologist is there to help where medical professionals can’t always assist.