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.
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.