Trichology is the branch of medicine that specialises in the scientific study of the health of hair and scalps. A trichologist will be able to diagnose the cause of the hair loss (Alopecia) and scalp conditions, including Male & Female Pattern Baldness, then prescribe a suitable treatment to meet the individual circumstances of the patient.
The IAT administers the certification course developed by the University of Southern California. The IAT was established in 1974 and is a non profit organisation promoting the study, research and practice of hair and scalp health and disease.
The IAT also establishes standards, certifies students and publishes educational material.Qualified trichologists will have the initials IAT after their name and are bound by a strict code of ethics. They are required to maintain their knowledge by conducting ongoing research, study and to attend conferences.
How can a trichologist help?
Trichologists diagnose and treat hair and scalp problems and care for the general health of the hair. A trichologist is a hair and scalp specialist trained to diagnose and treat the following hair or scalp conditions:
- Loss of hair
- Lifeless hair
- Thinning hair
- Excessive oiliness
- Patches of hair loss
- Dryness of hair & scalp
- Itchy scalp and discomfort
- Hair shaft disorders / Hair breakage
- Hair damaged from colouring / straightening
- Scalp problems – whether in patches or all over the scalp
A consultation with a trichologist will begin with an in depth questionnaire. This will ask questions about your medical history, family history, and nutritional / lifestyle choices.
The trichologist will examine your hair and scalp and may take samples. These samples will be examined under a microscope or sent away for a mineral analysis. Once the cause has been established, a treatment plan will be prescribed. Photos will be taken to record the changes in your hair and / or scalp as treatment progresses.
Trichologist pay particular attention to nutrition as this can certainly play a role in hair loss and scalp conditions. They also pay close detail to the endocrine, immune, nervous, and circulatory and digestive systems, as these all play a part in the health of your hair and scalp.
Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis
Hair tissue mineral analysis is an analytical test that measures the mineral composition of the hair. The data collected from the analysis provides information about mineral imbalances, deficiencies or excesses of many essential and toxic elements within the body.
Hair tissue mineral analysis is a useful diagnostic tool to use in conjunction with blood tests to help provide a more holistic and comprehensive picture about your health. Minerals are essential for many processes within the body. Other nutrients require minerals to be utilised effectively. The production of hormones and the enzyme activity for RNA construction all require minerals.
What does hair tissue reflect?
During the growth phase of hair (Anagen), the metabolic activity is greatly increased which exposes the hair to the internal metabolic environment, including the extracellular fluids, circulating blood and lymph. As the hair reaches the surface of the skin, its outer layers harden, locking in the metabolic products accumulated during this period of hair formation. This provides a permanent record of the metabolic activity occurring within the body during its period of growth.
What is required for a hair tissue mineral analysis test?
The Hair tissue mineral test is a non-invasive test. All that is required is a sample of non-chemically treated hair taken from the back of your head.The first 4 cm of hair closest to the scalp provides the nutrient and toxic metal exposure over the previous 8 to 16 weeks. The hair sample is sent off to the laboratory and a comprehensive report is returned.
This report will give levels of minerals within the body, the ratio of minerals, the diagnosis of your cellular metabolic rate and also levels of any toxic elements. Treatment using prescribed mineral supplements will be recommended. Another hair analysis will be required 3 months later.
How is this useful to diagnose hair loss?
Some types of hair loss can be caused by nutritional deficiencies, imbalances or toxic elements within the body. Quite often the first symptom of these can be excess hair shedding.
Certain ratios of minerals, such as Zinc/Copper, can have an effect on hair growth and shedding. Once these imbalances are corrected, the hair growth cycle will return to normal and excess shedding will decrease.