What is trichology?

Trichology is the fascinating branch of medicine that studies the health of hair and scalps. Due to their extensive training, a trichologist is qualified to diagnose the cause of hair loss and scalp conditions, including male and female pattern baldness or alopecia, and then prescribe a suitable treatment depending on the individual’s circumstances.

Trichologists receive their qualifications by undergoing an extensive training course on hair loss and scalp conditions with The International Association of Trichologists (IAT). 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 certification course it administers was developed by the University of Southern California.

The IAT also establishes standards, certifies students, and publishes educational material. Qualified trichologists will have ‘IAT’ after their name and are bound by a strict code of ethics. They are required to maintain their knowledge by conducting ongoing research and study, and attending conferences.

Both MHRA and Foli Sim Scalp Micropigmentation are proud to have Kate Dawes as part of the team; as one of just five trichologists in Western Australia, Kate’s expertise in male and female hair loss is internationally renowned.

How can a trichologist help?

Trichologists are specialists trained to diagnose and treat hair and scalp problems. They care for the general health of hair by diagnosing:

  • Lifeless hair
  • Loss of hair
  • Thinning hair
  • Excessive oiliness
  • Patches of hair loss
  • Dryness of hair & scalp
  • Itchy 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 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.

Trichologists pay particular attention to nutrition as this can play a significant 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 affect the health of your hair and scalp.

additional information

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.

When used in conjunction with blood tests, hair tissue mineral analysis is a useful diagnostic tool in painting a more holistic and comprehensive picture of your health. After all, minerals are essential for many processes within the body, and other nutrients require particular minerals to work effectively. For example, the production of hormones and the enzyme activity for RNA construction all require minerals.

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What does hair tissue reflect?

During the growth phase of hair (Anagen), the metabolic activity is greatly increased; this 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 non-invasive; all that is required is a sample of non-chemically treated hair taken from the back of your head. The first 4cm 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 eventually, a comprehensive report is returned.

This report will provide information on the levels of minerals within the body, the ratio of minerals, the diagnosis of your cellular metabolic rate, and the levels of any toxic elements. It will also recommend treatments using prescribed mineral supplements. 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. In fact, excess hair shedding is often the first symptom of these conditions.

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.

Is it normal to see hair falling out everyday?

Yes. It is perfectly normal to shed approximately 100-150 hairs everyday as part of the normal hair cycle. Most people have approximately 100,000 hairs on their head. These hairs are constantly cycling between the growth and resting phases. If you do notice you are shedding significantly more than this or your hair just appears to be thinning, make time to have a consultation with a trichologist to determine the best course of action that is most appropriate for you.

What is Alopecia?

Alopecia is the term used for hair loss. There are many types of alopecia: androgenic alopecia (male and female pattern baldness), alopecia totalis, alopecia universalis, and alopecia areata, which is an autoimmune disorder. It is advisable to have a consultation with a trichologist to have the condition diagnosed correctly, so that the right treatment can be prescribed to suit your circumstances.