How to Choose a Trichologist?
Unfortunately anyone can set up a business or a ‘clinic’ and call themself a trichologist, with no training, no qualification, no experience, and no aptitude whatever. So caution is advised. The Institute of Trichology was founded, in part, to address this problem. That was over 100 years ago and still the problem persists except nowadays the marketing can be even more persausive.
All registered members of our Institute are fully qualified and are bound by a strict Code of Professional Practice and Ethics.
Only qualified and registered members of The Institute of Trichologists are entitled to use the letters AIT, MIT or FIT after their names (designating, respectively, an Associate Member, Member or Fellow of the Institute).
Newly qualified trichologists are known as Graduates of the Institute and are not yet entitled to letters after their names. But they are all qualified trichologists and all will have certificates issued by The Institute of Trichologists to prove their status. If in doubt check the clinics section of this web site where all known qualified Trichologists are listed.
Yellow Pages and other directories may lead you to clinics where the charges are high, where the proprietors are not members of The Institute of Trichologists, and where the Institute’s Code of Ethics is not adhered to. You are strongly advised to check on the qualifications of the person you would be seeing – and check whether he or she is a member of The Institute of Trichologists.
In your dealings with a trichologist please ensure that you fully understand any proposed course of treatment and the costs involved before you commit yourself; and if the fees quoted by one trichologist, or any other aspect of your diagnosis and treatment, is unacceptable, feel free to consult another registered trichologist – either for a second opinion or for a more competitive fee quotation.
(Note: It is contrary to the Institute’s Code of Ethics for a registered trichologist to demand money in advance of treatments.)
Why Consult a Trichologist?
It is sometimes said that ‘hair is the barometer of health’, and hair can certainly be a reflection of an individual’s lifestyle, indicating the stresses, tensions and variations in the body’s systems. But you may consider that a scalp or hair condition is something that you would not wish to trouble your doctor with. That is where the trichologist comes in: as a hair and scalp specialist, the trichologist will understand your concerns and will usually be able to help. And unlike medical doctors, trichologists receive training in all aspects of hair science, hair care and hair processing.
The trichology practitioner will ensure that each patient will, where necessary, be given as much as an hour of the trichologist’s time in the initial consultation and diagnosis, enabling a thorough examination of the hair and scalp to be made and a complete history to be taken. (What family doctor in a busy GP practice could give that sort of time to any patient?) The trichologist will take a holistic viewpoint, giving consideration to various aspects of lifestyle and diet, and care and management of the hair (including sensitivities and allergies suffered) before a suitable regime for the scalp and hair is recommended.
There are other reasons, apart from hair loss, scalp problems and hair texture problems, that you might wish to consult a trichologist, one of which is for sound, professional advice on keeping your hair and scalp in good condition and thus avoiding many of these problems in the first place. This happy state of trouble-free hair and scalp exists naturally in some people, but many others will require the professional advice and assistance of a qualified trichologist.
The initial consultation and diagnosis
As previously stated, an initial consultation is likely to last up to an hour. During this time the trichologist will ask many questions about your health, family history, lifestyle, diet, and the like. It is useful to take with you to this first consultation details of any medications that you are taking and results of any recent blood tests that you may have had.
It is only after this detailed questioning and a close examination of your scalp and hair that your trichologist will be able to make a diagnosis. However, it is not always possible to make an immediate diagnosis. It is common for scalp disorders to be diagnosed at the time of consultation, but hair loss problems may require blood tests, either from your GP, or carried out privately by the trichologist. Once diagnosis has been made, advice will be given, and only if thought necessary will treatment be offered. Decisions will also be made as to whether or not you should be referred to a medical doctor.
Hair Secrets by Maggie Jones, edited by Marilyn Sherlock MIT, Chairman of The Institute of Trichologists. Published by Collins and Brown. Available from bookshops, price £14.99