Expert Advice

Why Every Stylist & Colorist Should Learn Trichology - (The Study of Hair Loss & Scalp Conditions)

Lauren Salapatek | March 25, 2015 | 12:06 AM
Why should you learn Trichology? (photo credit: Getty Images)
Photo By Getty Images

As a hairdresser, you probably have come in contact with hundreds if not thousands of heads of hair during your career. Out of everyone you have seen, there’s probably a percentage of clients you’ve come across with hair loss or scalp conditions.

At America’s Beauty Show this year, there were a few classes that focused primarily on these subjects – more specifically about Trichology, which is a branch of dermatology that deals with the scientific study of the health of hair and scalp.

Cosmetology + Trichology = The Perfect Blend of Art and Science” and “Hair Loss ‘Epidemic’: The Top 5 Causes of Hair Loss” were two classes that dived into the world of Trichology and explained why each hairdresser and haircolorist should undertake courses within Trichology.

“By learning Trichology, you will become a better haircutter and haircolorist," says Andrea Hayden, Trichology educator. "Trichology teaches you what’s going on underneath. A dry scalp or oily scalp are not normal conditions - and means that the scalp is not in balance."

She adds, “The skin is the largest organ and it tells you a lot. Your hair and skin give you the warning signs. Your body does talk to you. So if you notice a change in the hair or skin, it could be caused by an underlying health issue. Communicate to your clients about this.”

Hayden says that even though you may not have all the answers as a Trichologist, the point is "it’s your job to notice as a beauty professional". It’s also your job to recommend that they they go see a board-certified dermatologist if their conditions gets worse.

So what happens when you warn a client about their hair or scalp conditions and they don't get the problem fixed? And, that everytime they come in the problem gets worse?

“If this is the case, you may have to release them as a client. That liability is like an expanding balloon and you don’t want it to burst in your chair,” she says. “If you want proof that your client is seeking help, have them come back with a doctor’s note.”

So how do you notice if your client is experiencing hair loss or scalp problems?

#1. A receding hairline are indications of male/female pattern baldness.

#2. A noticeably wider part.

#3. Thinning on the sides and crown of the head are signs of diffused thinning.

#4. A smaller ponytail.

#5. Losing more than 100 strands daily without the same rate of re-growth.

#6. Noticing more hair than usual in the shower, comb or hair brush.

We also learned in the ABS Trichology classes that there are a number of contributing factors to hair loss or scalp problems.

#1. Dryness and oiliness are both indications of an unhealthy scalp environment.

#2. Excessive amounts of sebum can lead to Seborrheic scalp conditions.

#3. Acute build-up of sebum on the scalp (looks like an adult cradle cap), pointing to hormonal imbalances.

#4. Physical, chemical and mechanical causes of early stage of hair loss: discomfort when adding extensions or weaves (this is called traction alopecia which is hair loss that occurs as a result of continuous pulling of the hair. It may occur from hairstyles such as tight cornrows, plaits or braids without extension hair, excessive tightness with bobby pins); physical trauma caused by hot irons; chemical abuse caused by haircolor or over-processing caused by lightening the hair.

For more information about Trichology visit The International Association of Trichologists.

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