The word Trichology is derived from the Greek language and means hair. In the general sense, Trichology is the diagnosis and treatment of diseases of the human hair. From a clinical perspective, trichology is the diagnosis and treatment of scalp and hair disorders and diseases. A proper medical diagnosis in regard to the underlying cause of any particular hair loss problem is the first and most important step on the road to recovery. The biggest contributor to hair loss in both men and women after puberty is androgenetic alopecia, also known as male or female pattern hair loss. This particular hair loss is caused by the negative influence of natural male hormones on hair in genetically susceptible people. Many individuals have some degree of androgenetic alopecia that worsens gradually as they age.
There are several more serious systemic hormonal, nutritional and auto-immune disorders that cause hair loss. These more serious hair loss conditions need to be identified and not confused with male or female pattern hair loss. Dermatologists and other medical professionals trained in the field of general medicine (which includes the study of hair, skin and nails) can best diagnose and manage these types of hair conditions. A medical professional with a specialty working in the field of hair is referred to as a Trichiatrist or Dermato-Trichiatrist. Trichologists are non-physicians that work in the field of hair. They are certified by and registered with the Institute of Trichologists but do not complete formal medical training through a recognized Medical School. Barbers, hairdressers and cosmetologists often expand their
knowledge of hair and scalp conditions to provide a better service to their clients by becoming
Trichologists. Conditions that are commonly addressed are hair breakage, oily scalp and natural
remedies to promote hair growth.
Trichoscopy is a method of examining scalp and hair under high power magnification. It was developed over time by groups of dermatologists from across the globe, starting in 2004. The technology has become more sophisticated over time and is now accepted as a standard of practice and widely used. Trichoscopy can provide valuable information to the clinician as part of their clinical examination to diagnose scalp and hair conditions. It is often used in combination with laboratory testing of blood samples and an examination of scalp biopsies.
Clinicians can use trichoscopy to document and monitor hair growth. Some hair transplant physicians are using the technology to plan hair transplants by measuring the number of available follicles in the donor area prior to harvesting. By mapping the recipient area the physician can obtain a better understanding of how many follicles will be needed to satisfactorily cover the recipient area. Having donor area and recipient area follicle counts can assist a physician to plan a hair transplant more accurately and help to prevent over-harvesting and depletion of the donor area.