Frequently Asked Questions


What is trichology?

Trichology is the science and study of hair (from the Greek ‘trikhos’ meaning hair). Clinical trichology (i.e. trichology in the context of practising members of the Institute) is the diagnosis and treatment of diseases and disorders of the hair and scalp.

So what is a ‘qualified trichologist’?

So far as the Institute is concerned, a qualified trichologist is someone qualified by and registered with the Institute.

There are other people, nothing to do with the Institute, who might claim to be ‘qualified’ but they are not recognised by the Institute as ‘qualified trichologists’.

What is meant by the letters ‘AIT’, ‘MIT’ and ‘FIT’ after peoples’ names?

They all indicate that the person is a fully qualified and registered member of The Institute of Trichologists. AIT is an Associate Member of the Institute, MIT is a full member and FIT is a Fellow of the Institute. An AIT is likely to be junior and quite recently qualified, an MIT is qualified and has been in practice for at least 3 years and an FIT is a qualified member who has been recognised for his or her outstanding contribution to the profession of the Institute.

Should I see a trichologist or a dermatologist? - and what is the difference?

As already mentioned, trichologists are not medically qualified, but are specialists in the scalp and hair, just like chiropodists are not medically qualified and specialise in the feet. A dermatologist is a medical doctor who has specialised in skin - all over the body, not just the scalp.

Dermatologists within the NHS are under pressure of targets to see all suspected skin cancer patients within a short time. Therefore, if you wish to consult an NHS dermatologist about your scalp problem, you are likely to have a long wait indeed. Also, to consult a dermatologist under the NHS you will need a referral from your GP, whereas you may consult a trichologist immediately and you do not need a referral (although some GPs will refer patients to a trichologist.

What safeguards does membership of The Institute of Trichologists offer?

The Institute of Trichologists is over 100 years old (founded in 1902 - see history) and has built up a high reputation for standards of training and professional practice.

All registered members are fully and properly qualified.

All Institute members are bound by the Institute’s strict and enforceable Code of Professional Practice and Ethics.

The Yellow Pages list ‘trichologists who are not Institute members. Why?

There is no system of registration or control of trichology in the UK. Therefore, the legal position is that anyone can set up and call himself or herself a trichologist, with no training, no qualifications, no experience and no ethics!

The Institute always recommends that people consult only qualified and registered members of The Institute of Trichologists.

Why are there no registered Institute members in my area?

Trichology is a very small profession, and outside of the main cities like London, Manchester and Glasgow, members are very thinly spread.

The Institute cannot dictate where its members live and work!

Are trichologists just glorified hairdressers?

No. Trichology and hairdressing are very different. The only thing they have in common is hair. Hairdressing of course, is cosmetic and to do with fashion and grooming whereas clinical trichology is diagnostic and therapeutic, based on medical and scientific knowledge. Not surprisingly though, some trichologists do come from a hairdressing background, but many do not.

How does someone become a ‘qualified trichologist’?

Only by following and successfully completing the Institute’s own two year training course, followed by a further two years study/mentoring to become a full member.

Can trichologists treat ‘alopecia’?

Alopecia is a general term meaning hair loss of which there are many types and causes. Most types of hair loss can be treated but some cannot be treated.