Trichology is a specialty area mainly concerned with hair and scalp conditions. To practice in this field typically takes a good understanding of hair and scalp physiology as well as medical and lifestyle factors that affect hair and scalp health. A professional qualified in trichology is often referred to as a trichologist. Hair fall, dandruff, or eczema of the scalp are some of the disorders commonly treated by practicing trichologists. Hair or scalp problems could be treated with medication, topical products, non-surgical methods, or surgical procedures.
The field of trichology is generally considered a paramedical specialty. Pharmacy or science graduates and beauticians may undertake courses and earn certification as trichologists. Some doctors of dermatology may specialize in this area. Trichology programs can vary in duration. Credentials from professional institutions such as The International Association of Trichologists and The Institute of Trichologists are generally better recognized.
Trichology involves scientific study of hair anatomy and the scalp, related biochemical processes, and hair growth and fall cycle. Trichologists are typically trained to diagnose symptoms and treat disorders such as alopecia, seborrhoeic dermatitis, scalp psoriasis, premature graying, and hair damage. Training usually includes different medications and trichological procedures for hair and scalp conditions. Expertise in this specialty could enable a practitioner to discern hair and scalp symptoms that signify another medical condition.
At the onset of treatment, a practitioner usually examines a patient’s scalp and hair, and inquires about hair-care routine and dietary habits. Sometimes a trichologist inspects a patient’s hair under a microscope and conducts a detailed analysis. A blood test might be suggested to check hormone levels, or to detect thyroid or iron deficiencies. In the case of hair loss, a trichologist might be able to determine the type of hair loss and whether it is reversible or not.
Depending on the specific condition, treatment might include a hair or scalp medication, and a topical formulation which may contain a moisturizer, an anti-inflammatory ingredient, or a keratolytic compound for scales or crusts on the scalp. For some patients, electrotherapy for the scalp could be prescribed to promote hair growth. Procedures such as hair transplantation may be performed on bald areas.
Salons can attract the services of some trichologists. As a part of their services, trichology salons often offer hair and scalp treatments that can help avoid issues. Preventive therapy could assist in improving the condition of the scalp and strengthening the hair follicle. A trichologist also may suggest a maintenance regimen for the hair.
Some trichologists are engaged in clinical research of hair and scalp or are involved in product development. Expertise in trichology could be applied to other areas such as forensics. Hair analysis might help a forensics team confirm the identity of a suspect. As a result, a qualified trichologist might be called upon to testify as an expert in court.