Trichology is a venerable field of medical study with over a century of history, yet the term may be new to many of us.
In this article, we will explore what trichology is, what it is related to, and how it can help solve certain conditions.
What is trichology?
Trichology is the study of hair, the scalp and the problems that affect it. The term comes from the ancient Greek for hair (thríx).
Although the Trichologist Institute was founded in 1902, it is still going strong more than 100 years later. Certified trichologists will be registered with a leading body such as the Institute of Trichologists and may be members of the Association of Registered Trichologists (ART). They must adhere to strict codes of professional conduct and ethical practice.
What does a trichologist do?
The work of a trichologist involves the understanding, diagnosis and treatment of patients with hair and/or scalp diseases.
Trichologists build their understanding of human hair and scalp through comprehensive research. This gives them the insight they need to recognize the many problems patients may be experiencing and make an accurate diagnosis.
Some patients may feel uneasy about seeing their GP to discuss a hair change if they feel their GP cannot treat it. But this is a trichologist's area of expertise and they are there to help patients whenever possible.
What hair problems can a trichologist solve?
A trichologist can help solve the following hair and scalp problems:
Male pattern baldness
According to the British Association of Dermatologists, male pattern baldness is the most common form of hair loss affecting men - around half of men over 50 will experience it.
It is caused by a combination of hormonal and genetic factors, including dihydrotestosterone (DHT). This causes the scalp hair follicles to produce shorter, narrower and lighter strands of hair until they stop producing them altogether.
Male pattern baldness can be passed down from one generation to another, from one or both parents (as female pattern baldness affects about half of women over 65).
Its severity can vary: some men may lose part of the hairline and crown, while others may experience complete baldness on the scalp. The Norwood Scale is a useful resource for diagnosing male pattern baldness, covering seven stages of hair loss.
The most effective treatment for male pattern baldness is a hair restoration procedure. Hair transplants are cheaper, safer and more reliable than ever thanks to the latest technology and innovative methods.
Hair loss, also known as telogen effluvium, occurs when a patient loses more hair per day than is considered normal or healthy. That's an average of 50 to 100 a day (according to the American Academy of Dermatology).
You may notice more hair on your pillow in the morning or in the shower drain after shampooing.
Telogen effusion can be caused by various factors, such as:
- physical injury (accident, surgery, etc.)
- Fluctuations in hormone levels (such as during pregnancy)
- Nutritional deficiencies (such as low iron or zinc)
- Medications (such as some antidepressants)
- Hair loss can stop with certain lifestyle changes, such as adopting a healthier diet, reducing stress, or taking medication. And there is no guarantee that lost hair will grow back without treatment such as a hair transplant.
Excessive hair growth
Patients can visit a trichologist to prevent excessive hair growth on the body, especially on the face or visible areas (thighs, abdomen, chest, neck). This is a condition known as hirsutism.
Hirsutism can be caused by:
- An increase in androgens
- Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
- Anabolic steroids
- Various drugs
- Hormonal conditions
- Treatment may include hormone control, temporary hair removal with creams, or a permanent solution such as electrolysis or laser hair removal.
Hair breakage can be caused by a variety of conditions or problems, including:
- Idiopathic trichoclasia
- Trichorrhexis Nodosa
- Traumatic alopecia
- Specific hairdressing techniques
- Follicular problems such as tangles, knots, excessive dryness or excessive use of dyes or extensions can interfere with healthy hair growth.
Patients can grow out of some of these conditions, but a trichologist can recommend treatment to relieve or combat the symptoms.
Dandruff can be caused by:
- Dry scalp
- Poor nutrition
- Using too much or not enough shampoo
- Excessive sebaceous oil secretion
- Dandruff can be treated with specially formulated shampoos.
What to expect from a trichologist consultation?
During the consultation with the trichologist, he will discuss your medical history, lifestyle, diet and approach to hair care. This will help them understand your problem and its cause.
A trichologist will also examine your hair and scalp with a digital microscope or magnifying instrument. This may include a detailed analysis of one or more areas. They can also ask additional questions while they work.
How does a trichologist arrive at a diagnosis and what is the next step?
A trichologist will make a diagnosis based on the information you provide and a thorough examination of your hair and scalp.
If your condition can be treated, they will recommend a treatment plan designed to help relieve, reduce or reverse the problem. They will give you a realistic perspective on the success of your treatment and the results you can expect in the future.
If a trichologist can't solve your problem, he or she may recommend that you see a specialist in another field for further options.
News and answers
What is trichology?
Trichology is the study of human hair, scalp, conditions affecting both, and treatments.
What exactly does a person who studied trichology do?
A qualified trichologist examines the patient's hair and scalp to determine the root of hair loss or other conditions. They can recommend treatment based on their findings.
How can a trichologist help you?
A trichologist can help you by diagnosing your condition (such as male pattern baldness, telogen effusion) and recommending a treatment plan.
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