Is a Trichologist a Doctor?

So, Is a Trichologist a Doctor? The answer is No, they are trained in the scientific study of the hair. Remember, Hair loss is a huge issue today. With the emphasis being placed on everyone looking their best, and the internet being quick to point out even the smallest of flaws, people are working harder than ever to look their best. Hair loss is a universal problem and it's not just for the older crowd. Hair loss begins to affect people are early as 21 years of age and collectively people are spending over $2.8 billion annually to remedy this problem.

People are flocking to their dermatologists and trichologists to help with their hair loss. They are reaching out to hair transplantation surgeons to get the best results possible. Even a host of celebrities are jumping on board to keep their locks looking fresh. But what role do each of these specialists play in the hair loss industry? And how do you know who to visit with about your hair loss? This article will help explain who exactly a trichologist is, and what it is that they do. It will explain the role of a dermatologist in the hair loss industry, and how these different specialists work together to get you the best results. At the end of this article, you will know who to see, and when to see them.

What is a certified trichologist?

A certified trichologist is a medically trained person that studies the health of the hair and scalp. These specialists are trained in dealing with hair loss, scalp issues and diseases, and the treatment of these issues. These specialists focus on all things relating to your hair and scalp.
The word Trichology comes from the Greek words, 'Trikhos’, meaning hair and ogy’, meaning study, translating to, the study of hair.
A certified trichologist does take coursework and must also complete the certification exams to be certified. These exams are lengthy and detailed, requiring the applicant to know much about the human scalp. Once a person becomes a certified trichologist, this does not mean they are a medical doctor.

What is the role of a trichologist?

Trichologists will examine your hair and scalp to make a diagnosis. Not only will they conduct a physical examination, but they will also ask you about your medical history, diet, and lifestyle. They may also ask about your hair care routine. This information is all used to help diagnose any issues of your scalp and hair. Trichologists may do a hair analysis to decide the health of the hair bulb. They also look for the presence of a fungus or for structural damage in the hair shaft.
Your trichologist will often refer you to a GP if they suspect you may be suffering from a medical condition. Keep in mind, that a trichologist cannot issue prescription drugs unless they are also a certified medical doctor or dermatologist.

Trichologists often work with dermatologists to make a diagnosis or figure out the best course of treatment.

Trichologists do not prescribe drugs or perform medical procedures, as they are not licensed medical doctors, so when the scalp or hair problem is related to an underlying medical condition, a dermatologist is often brought in to aid with the case.

Do dermatologists help with hair loss?

Dermatologists are medical doctors with a specialization in treating our skin, nails, and hair. After school, they generally have a 3-year residency to complete under another dermatologist. They often work with tricologists to determine the underlying cause of hair loss.

As society stresses the importance of looks, more men and women are reaching out to trichologists and dermatologists to help with their hair loss. Hair loss affects about 80 million people in the United States, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. Most of these cases come from hereditary hair loss, known as a male pattern and female pattern baldness, and are not easy to treat.

Some forms of hair loss are due to hormonal imbalances. Thyroid diseases, autoimmune diseases, diabetes, iron deficiency, and other issues like lupus are also cause for hair loss. Dermatologists are trained to spot these other issues and offer treatment for them. Treatment for hair loss can depend on the reason for hair loss and can range from topical ointment treatments to hair transplants. If a person has been diagnosed with a condition and decides to go with a hair transplant, their dermatologist can help with that.

What can a dermatologist prescribe for hair loss?

Several options are available for hair loss treatment, depending on your diagnosis. The most common treatment is minoxidil. This topical ointment, applied twice a day, stimulates hair growth by reversing the shrinking of the hair follicle. Another treatment option is pills prescribed by your dermatologist. Propecia and Advodart are being prescribed for males and Spironolactone for women.

A third option is a hair transplant. Plugs of skin from healthy parts of your scalp are implanted where you have thinning hair and new hair begins to grow within a few months. Office-based laser combs are also sometimes successful in stimulating hair growth.

Can trichologists do a hair transplant?

Hair transplants must be done by someone with some surgical knowledge. Since a trichologist is not a medical doctor and has no in-depth medical or surgical training, they do not do hair transplants themselves. They do; however, work closely with hair transplantation surgeons, and can refer you to an expert to have your transplantation completed. Your surgeon will go over the different types of hair transplants available and explain which option will work best for your treatment. They should also take the time to explain the procedure and answer any questions you may have.

What does a trichologist treat?

As mentioned above, trichologists specialize in the study of everything related to your hair and scalp. Some things that trichologists treat each day include hair loss, dandruff, itchy, flaky, or burning scalp, inflammation of the hair follicles (Folliculitis), and Psoriasis.

A trichologist will be able to decide if your hair loss is due to genetics, your diet and exercise routine, or stress, or if there are symptoms on a medical condition or hormonal imbalance. A trichologist will be able to help you get started on a road to hair regrowth, and they will know when to refer you to a dermatologist for further analysis. If you are experiencing hair loss, find a trichologist. They can help you get the hair you are looking for.

Is trichology a real science

Trichology is known as the "science of hair", the idea behind this field is to help hairstylists, and salon owners develop knowledge about hair loss and scalp disorders. It is not seen as a medical profession, but closer to cosmetics. However, there is a field known as dermatotrichologist which in 2010 was proposed for board-certified dermatologists dealing with the scientific study of the hair and scalp.

Doctors including dermatolgists are medical professionals, they often undertake courses in the trichology, this is an important distinction, be wary of accepting medical advise from someone who is not a registered medical doctor.

The new term was created called “trichiatrist” which simply means “medical treatment of the hair,” Trichiatrists are different from trichologists since they are medical doctors.

How to become a certified trichologist?

Keep in mind that many trichologist courses are distance learning, they are not medical doctors who have undertaken many years of clinical training. While I was doing some research I came across the following training providers.

The International Association of Trichologists
The Institute of Trichologists (provides a two year distance learning course)
The US Trichology Institute

What would a Trichologist course entail?

I will give some general subjects or competency below that some Trichologists courses may include:
  • Communicate effectively with clients
  • Refer patients to medical health care professionals
  • Maintain equipment, tools, and work areas
  • Apply knowledge of hair and scalp problems
  • Perform trichological assessments of the scalp
  • Understand and help with nutrition
  • Develop natural scalp treatment therapies
  • Perform hair loss diagnosis
  • Design nutritional therapies
  • Apply hair loss therapies

What do Trichologist Earn

Salary wise it really depends, they can earn up to $20,000 per annum, however, this is dependent, if you had your own private practice with a good following, one could easily earn more. Our research shows that they are paid a similar wage to barbers/hair stylists, with some Trichologists earning $29,000 per year ($14 per hour). According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are over 15,000 employed nationally as of May 2016.

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