Hair and Scalp Specialists: The Alternative Hair Doctor or 'Trichologist'

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What is Trichology?

If you have a problem with your hair or scalp the specialist to see is a trichologist in the same way you would see a dermatologist for a skin problem. They can treat hair loss, baldness, scaling of the scalp, itching, hair breakage, dryness and oiliness amongst other things.

A trained trichologist should have studied and successfully completed a recognised Trichology Educational Program and VirtualHairCare would recommend that you go to a trichologist who is a registered member of an organisation such as the International Association of Trichologists.

What to expect from a consultation with a trichologist

Hair is a very sensitive 'barometer' to imbalances in the body - factors such as poor nutrition, medical or genetic problems, medication and stress can adversely affect their hair and scalp. During a consultation expect to be asked to give a thorough medical history. You may even be asked to take a blood test. All this information will enable the trichologist, in most cases, to identify the cause of your problem and where possible, treat it.

Hair Analysis

As part of the diagnosis, a trichologist may analyse the hair microscopically or have it analysed for its mineral levels, or suggest blood tests be run.

Microscopic analysis of hair is used to assess structural damage, establish the rate of hair loss, confirm the presence of fungus or lice, or identify genetic influences.

Mineral analysis of the hair in specialised laboratories is used to access the levels of such minerals as calcium, zinc, copper, magnesium, chromium, lead, mercury, aluminium and arsenic in the hair. These results can indicate nutritional or medical problems that are affecting the hair and skin. For some minerals hair mineral analysis is actually more accurate than blood tests.

Medical v Natural?

The distinct advantage trichology enjoys compared to other health related fields is that it bridges the gap between conventional and complimentary or natural medicine. This gives the trichologist the scope and flexibility to select the most appropriate treatment without being constrained by the limitations of any one discipline.

There are natural alternatives to prescription drugs for treating conditions such as menopause, male balding, alopecia areata and psoriasis. These natural products have been shown to be as effective, safer and more economical in clinical trials than their synthetic counterparts.

However, where the trichologist suspects medical conditions are the cause of excessive hair loss or any other problem you should be referred to a medical practitioner for assessment.

The importance of our hair and scalp condition to the overall way we feel and our general well being is often not recognised or dismissed by medical practioners as unimportant. That's where the expertise of trichologists fills a much-needed void.

Thanks to the International Association of Trichologists and to Tony Pearce IAT, RN.

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