What is Trichology?
Trichology is the science of the structure, function and diseases of the human hair.
Clinical trichology is the diagnosis and treatment of diseases and disorders of the human hair and scalp.
Reasons to Consult a Trichologist
Hair loss can cause great distress, and there are many misunderstandings about its causes and treatment. Probably the most common type of hair loss is the so-called ‘male pattern baldness’, which, despite its name, can affect women as well as men, and for which, in men, there appears to be no specific, readily-available treatment. This is a problem that requires sympathetic handling, and a qualified trichologist has to understand the patient’s anxiety and help him come to terms with the loss of hair. Some women suffering from this condition can be helped with medical assistance and the use of hormonal treatment.
There are many other types of hair loss which can and do respond to treatment and advice without medical assistance. There are also some types of hair loss which can have a natural or spontaneous recovery. Excessive hair loss can often be a symptom of some other problem or variation in the metabolism of the body, and for this reason, co-operation between the patient’s doctor and the trichologist is often necessary.
Problems of the scalp
Problems of the scalp, ranging from dandruff to more inflammatory conditions, occupy much of a trichologist’s time. As with the hair, these problems can be symptomatic of some other metabolic variation. Stress, poor diet, or even some allergies to certain foods, can be responsible for the build up and shedding of dead skin cells. The management of hair and scalp that are excessively greasy is another area in which the advice of a qualified trichologist is often sought. Here, guidance on the right type of shampoo for any particular individual, and on its frequency of use, might be particularly relevant.
For more details on the types of conditions treated by Trichologists is as given below
Alopecia is a blanket term for hair loss of any kind. There are many types and causes of hair loss (alopecia), most of which can be effectively treated. Hair loss may be genetically inherited, or it may be caused by a variety of other factors including protein or other dietary deficiency, hormonal imbalance, and stress. Hair loss can also be the first sign of an otherwise undiagnosed or undetected underlying illness. Androgenetic Alopecia
The main type of hair loss for which there is no effective treatment is genetically inherited hair loss (known as Male Pattern Baldness or Androgentic Alopecia).
It is important to note, however, that this condition can and does affect females too, even though it is called Male Pattern Baldness (it is gene-linked, not sex-linked). In women, it is likely to lead to diffuse hair loss, (a general thinning of the hair density) rather than to obvious bald patches.
Although there is no cure for this condition, hair loss can be limited or slowed down in some cases and treatments are likely to be more effective on women than on men.
The important thing to understand is that the best that can be said of treatments for genetically inherited hair loss is that they can be effective to some degree on some people some of the time.
Can occur after infectious scalp disorders or, more rarely, they are auto-immune conditions (when the body attacks the hair follicle as it would invading bacteria).
Other types of alopecia that you may have heard of include Alopecia Areata, Alopecia Total is, Alopecia Universalis and Traction Alopecia (there are others, too). These are all entirely distinct from Androgentic Alopecia (above) and have a much better chance of responding to professional diagnosis and treatment.
Hair problems including decreased manageability may rarely be one of the first signs of thyroid undersecretion. The hair loss, if any, will be diffuse, and the condition can therefore be confused with several other conditions, including androgenetic alopecia in women. Expert trichological or medical advice is essential; but, providing early treatment is initiated, full recovery of the hair should occur. Correct diagnosis will require blood tests.
More and more cases of diffuse hair loss in women are attributable to iron deficiency. This is more probably common among vegetarians and those with eating disorders. It is not always appreciated that iron deficiency can occur even not a patient is not clinically anaemic and has normal haemoglobin levels. As with thyroid problems, with which the symptoms of iron deficiency can be confused, a blood test is essential to correct diagnosis. No diffuse alopecia (thinning of the hair) should ever be ignored. It can be an early manifestation of several underlying conditions.
Traumatic Hair Loss or Breakage
This type of hair loss is caused by hairdressing damage and other traumas involving chemicals, heat or physical trauma. Often the sufferer is unaware of the causative factors. If treated before the scalp is damaged, hair will regrow.
Problems of the scalp, ranging from dandruff to more inflammatory conditions, occupy much of a trichologist’s time. As with the hair, these problems can be symptomatic of some other metabolic variation. Stress, poor diet, or even some allergies to certain foods, can be responsible for the build up and shedding of dead skin cells.
The management of hair and scalp that are excessively greasy is another area in which the advice of a qualified trichologist is often sought. Here, guidance on the right type of shampoo for any particular individual, and on its frequency of use, might be particularly relevant.
Many infants, during the first three months of life, develop a matted, crusted scale of the scalp, with reddening. Some also develop simultaneous scaling and reddening behind the ears and on the neck. A rash may sometimes accompany the condition. Cradle cap is a form of seborrheic dermatitis and is fairly easily controlled but not cured. In most cases, cure will eventually occur spontaneously, but if the condition persist, consult a trichologist.
Psoriasis is a common scaling skin disease which affects around 1 to 2 per cent of the population. Most psoriasis sufferers will develop psoriasis of the scalp at some time, and the condition is both distressing and cosmetically disfiguring. However, psoriasis does not generally cause permanent loss of hair.
The precise cause of psoriasis is not known, but it is almost certainly the result of a disorder of the immune system.& nbsp; Confusion can occur with other conditions, and correct diagnosis prior to treatment is essential.
Ringworm is a parasitic skin infection caused by a fungus. It can be disfiguring and often causes hair loss. There are several types and variants of the condition and, in certain circumstances, it can lead to scarring and permanent hair loss. Infection can result from direct personal contact or via objects such as hairdressing clippers. Ringworm often reaches near epidemic proportions in schools and is mainly a disease of childhood. It is a serious condition which requires immediate and appropriate treatment. It should not be ignored!
An inherited, itchy, inflammatory, scaling scalp condition which can cause much discomfort and embarrassment. The condition is treatable, with much success, but is not wholly curable.
A heavy scaling condition which can cause patchy hair loss. Prompt treatment can remove scaling and stop progression of associated hair loss. CONTACT DERMATITIS A scalp condition affecting areas of the scalp in contact with a chemical irritant. Symptoms can range from mild scaling and irritation to violent allergic reaction. Trichological treatment is very effective.
A pustular condition mostly affecting young black men. It can lead to permanent hair loss and even to KELOIDS (raised scar tissue at the back of the neck). Prompt treatment and correct advice are essential, but the condition is not always curable.
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