Longer hair, more volume, healthy hair! These are some hair goals that you can set to yourself. But sometimes your hair journey may not be as easy as you may think. Some problems may arise and make it more difficult.
Whatever you want to achieve, consulting a trichologist could be the first step to reach your hair goals. But how a trichologist can help you? This post is based Dr. Wilson’s article published in the Aesthetics Journal in their February 2020 issue. Let’s found out more!
What is trichology?Trichology is the scientific study of the hair and scalp. In Greek, 'trichos' means 'hair' and the suffix 'ology' means 'the study of'.
Trichology takes a holistic approach to treatment, by taking into account your lifestyle, diet and wellbeing as a whole, as well as the signs and symptoms present.
A trichologist is trained to assess patients with common hair and scalp problems. Some of those disorders include male and female pattern baldness, alopecia (areata, scarring, traumatic), psoriasis, eczema, hair thinning, dandruff, greasy or dry hair, itchy scalp, hair breakage and damage, scaly or flaky scalps.
Many trichologists supply patients with hair and scalp-care products such as medicated shampoos and conditioners as part of the treatment process.
Some may offer additional services such as advice on camouflaging hair loss cosmetically, wigs and hair pieces, or scalp micropigmentation to provide an overall service. Methods such as the use of ultraviolet light, infrared light, or high frequency electrotherapy may be used to assist in treatments.
Many trichologists will have experience in hairdressing or wig making and others will even arrange for blood tests as part of their assessment.
However, the majority does not have a clinical background and are therefore not able to prescribe medications.
Trichology vs. dermatology
Trichology exclusively focuses on the hair and scalp, while in dermatology the focus is on the skin around the entire human body, not just the scalp.
Dermatologists and trichologists do not follow the same training either.
A dermatologist is a medical doctor, completing at least 5 years of higher specialist training on the skin including the management of hair conditions.
Most trichologists in the UK are not medically qualified, and are therefore not able to prescribe. They get training from a variety of institutions including The Institute of Trichologists, International Association of Trichologists, The Trichological Society, and Trichocare. There are no rules and no registration system of who can call themselves a trichologist and they are not NHS registered.
In terms of consultation time and treatments, dermatologists and trichologists approach them differently. The length of a consultation in the NHS may be 10-20 minutes while trichology consultations can take between 30-60 minutes depending on the practitioner and your issues.
Dermatologists’ treatments are usually based on exclusively medical therapies that will include potent medications that GPs are not able to prescribe. GPs may prescribe medications for certain conditions including steroids, or antifungal creams/shampoo. Trichologists will use a variety of alternatives to treatments such as nutritional supplementation, scalp therapy products, low-level laser therapy, as well as traditional medical treatments including minoxidil.
Why should you see a trichologist?If you have any problems with your scalp or experiencing hair loss, talk to your GP first, who may refer you to a dermatologist.
A trichologist will have more time to diagnose your hair or scalp problem and the effect it has on you. They may well be able to offer some practical solutions.
When should you seek help from a trichologist?A previously said, your GP should be your first port of call, but it is worth knowing that the majority of GPs receive very little training in hair loss disorders before they qualify. So you may wish to seek out the services of a trichologist as they are likely to have received more training in diagnosing hair and scalp problems
A trichologist may help you if you are experiencing hair or scalp issues such as:
- Hair texture problems which could be due by over exposure to heat or strong chemicals. It can be hair loss, male or female pattern baldness, alopecia ( areata, scarring or traumatic)
- Scalp conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, folliculitis etc...:
How do you find a qualified trichologist in the UK?
Trichologists who have been through a training programme will be listed on the following websites International Association of Trichologists, The Institute of Trichologists, The British Association of Hair Restoration Surgery.
Dr. Ingrid Wilson from the Crewe Hair and Skin Clinic, who is currently collaborating with us, is a General Practitioner and completed training in Trichology with the Institute of Trichologists. She is also a member of the British Hair and Nail Society, The International Association of Trichologists, The Trichological Society, an affiliate Trichologist Member of the British Association of Hair Restoration Surgery.
Dr. Ingrid Wilson at her Crewe Hair and Skin Clinic
What kind of treatments a trichologist offers?Any treatment will be based on your first consultation. The Crewe Hair And Skin Clinc’s approach is to provide a full range of options, with the exception of hair transplant surgery, and welcomes all genders and hair types, whether European, Asian or Afro-textured.
Dr. Wilson’s consultations include advice on hiding the hair loss with camouflage products/wigs, advice on nutrition/supplements/devices/procedures and whether further advice/investigations/referral should be sought from a General Practitioner or dermatologist, and prescribing for a few hair loss conditions. Her clinic offers DNA tests for hair loss to provide a personalized treatment based on a person’s DNA profile, which is particularly useful in early stages of hair loss.
For scalp disorders, she may prescribe creams and shampoos for use either in the clinic or at home as treatments
How much does it cost?Prices may vary from one trichologist to another. Here are some of the services and prices offered by the Crewe Hair and Skin Clinic:
Trichology consultation 30-60 minutes £120
Follow up appointment within 12 months FREE
Clinic treatment (informed by consultation) £25
Hair mineral analysis Summary Report £59
Full practitioner service customer and doctors retest £69
Minoxidil 2% solution (if appropriate from consultation) £35
Minoxidil 5% foam (if appropriate from consultation) £39
DNA Test £250 - cost of trichology consultation if the test is taken up within 3 months.
Blood tests Price varies according to the condition.
Would you give trichology a try? Let us know what you think.