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What is trichology?

Trichology is the scientific study of the structure, function, and diseases of the human hair and scalp. A trichologist can help you if you are experiencing hair breakage, an excessive amount of hair loss, a sudden bald patch, or an uncontrollable amount of itching or flaking of the scalp.

Trichology.edu.au says, a “trichologist will carefully question each new client and examine the scalp thoroughly to assess the problem and its cause. A microscopic examination of the hair might be required to aid in the diagnosis of the problem."

If you are thinking of going to a trichologist for a consultation, here is how you can prepare.

Be ready to thoroughly answer questions about your health

During your first consultation, family and personal medical history will be evaluated. The trichologist will ask you to fill out a form which ask you questions about family genetics, diet, nutrition, and medications. This information is essential to help the trichologist find out cause of the problem. When answering these questions, you need to be as honest as possible so that you get a proper diagnosis.

Go to the consultation with your hair and scalp easy to access

Have your hair in a loose style, bun, or ponytail. It also needs to be detangled. If you are going in for a consultation concerning excessive hair loss, the trichologist may want to gently remove hair from your scalp by running their hands through your hair. The trichologist may want to look at the shape of the hair bulb attached to the fallen strands of hair or to see the percentage of hair loss.

Schedule enough time for the consultation

It is important to schedule enough time for a trichology consultation. It can take anywhere from 45 minutes to 2 hours for a consultation depending on the problem and if you decide to get a treatment on the same day. Find out in advance how long the first consultation will be from the trichologist. In order to get your money’s worth and receive accurate answers, it is important to not rush your consultation.

Minimize how often you shampoo your hair

It is recommended that you do not shampoo your hair three days before your consultation.  When you shampoo your hair to close to the trichology consultation, you wash away evidence that may help the trichologist diagnose your problem, for example, excessive flakes and shedding hair.

Do not use scalp oils

Stay away from using oils on your scalp unless you are going to do a pre-poo treatment in which the oil will be shampooed out. Oils create a barrier on the scalp and it can be difficult to see what is happening on the skin and can also cause the trichologist to give you incorrect information about your problem.

Get your pH tested

Sometimes hair loss can be an indication of an imbalance in the body. A trichologist may ask you to test your pH with the use of your saliva or urine. pH testing allows the trichologist to get insights on whether the body is maintaining proper pH balances. The trichologist will advise you if you should use the test first thing in the morning or several times throughout the day for 24 hours. This test can indicate to trichologist if you have a diet high in foods and drinks that are too acidic or alkaline and what to do about it. When the body does not maintain proper pH balances, health problems may occur, which can trigger hair loss.

Bring in a copy of your blood work results

Your trichologist may want to see blood test results, which should be 3 to 6 months old. Trichologists can use this information about your health to see if there are any abnormalities that may be triggering the problem you are concerned with.

According to philipkingsley.com, “Your doctor may well say that everything is normal and not to worry, chances are that you will still be concerned because you know that something is amiss.  Also, there is always an underlying cause for hair loss. The reason for confusion is frequently this: your GP will read your blood test results differently than a trichologist will. He or she is looking for levels that might affect your general health, but not your hair – a non-vital tissue.”

Be prepared to learn about treatments

Trichology.edu.au notes that a “trichologist must decide if treatment is necessary and whether the problem is within his or her realm to treat, or should be dealt with by another specialist. Treatment by the trichologist might consist of the application of a particular cream or lotion to the scalp or the use of nutritional therapy.”

Trichology consultations vary depending on the type of training and experience of the trichologist. Do your research by reading reviews or ask people if they can recommend a trichologist to you.

Have you ever had to see a trichologist? What was your experience during the consultation? 

Writer Sophia Emmanuel is a licensed cosmetologist and certified IAT trichologist.