Treating hair loss is almost never a straightforward process that ends with one visit to a hair stylist. The problem is usually complex, with underlying causes that require an in-depth investigation and an effective solution. That’s why for hair loss sufferers all roads lead to a referral. The question is who should a client be referred to, a Dermatologist or a Trichologist? And do these two professions even differ?

Although Dermatologists and Trichologists have similar goals in mind – to eradicate hair loss and restore a healthy scalp – they are separate fields of study that implement different methods to achieve their desired outcome. This article will explain their main differences and show you how to determine which expert is a better fit for a hair loss client.


Who does a hair loss sufferer need, a Trichologist or a Dermatologist?

WebMD defines a Trichologist as “a specialist who focuses on Trichology — the study of diseases or problems related to the hair and scalp as well as their treatments.” (WebMD, 2023). Trichologists practice a holistic approach to health by looking at the body as a whole to get to the root issue. Holistic health involves digging deep into the lifestyle, health, and environment of the individual to identify the problem and find a solution.

Trichologists are not medical doctors so they can’t prescribe medications or perform medical procedures. What qualified trichologists can do is conduct an investigation into a person’s terrain (their physical condition, life circumstances, surroundings, and everything else that impacts their body). Once a Trichologist collects all these findings, they interpret them and recommend a course of action to restore scalp and hair health, as well as health overall. There is no state required licenisng for Trichologists, which makes it even more important to choose an expert who’s been certified by a reputable institution.

A Dermatologist is “… a medical doctor who specializes in conditions that affect the skin, hair, and nails” (The American Academy of Dermatology Association, 2023). They need to be board certified to practice.

Since they rely on modern medicine, Dermatologists use methods such as blood tests and/or scalp biopsies to assess the problem. Test results serve them to pinpoint the diagnosis and recommend the appropriate treatment.

Due to treatment restrictions in the medical field, dermatologists have a limited range of solutions they can offer to their patients. Dermatologists typically treat their patients with injections, prescriptions, and laser therapy. Using these methods, they will attempt to rid the patient of their symptoms.

Modern medicine is based on doctors who specialize in a particular part of the body or certain types of conditions. For example, cardiologists only treat the heart and blood vessels, while endocrinologists will only look at the patients’ hormonal status and their glands. Similarly, a dermatologist will only look at diagnosing and treating issues related to one’s hair, skin and nails. Since hair loss is usually a complex condition with an underlying cause that might have nothing to do with their hair or skin, this approach can be one dimensional and lack lasting results.


Is Trichology Superior to Dermatology When it Comes to Hair Loss?

Hair and scalp problems are often an outward manifestation of an internal issue. To get rid of the surface problem, we must treat the inside cause first. Modern medicine seeks to remove, reduce or at least hide the symptoms, while Trichology seeks to resolve the true issue that lurks beneath the surface.

When it comes to treating hair and scalp maladies Trichologists are best suited to find a solution. While Dermatologists are medically trained, most don’t specialize in the study of hair and scalp. This results in the issue that is causing hair loss being overlooked. Holistic health is the most effective way to heal the scalp and regrow hair because the primary focus is to heal the body and restore health. Healthy body equals healthy hair. Trying to fix the scalp without fixing the body first rarely works and isn’t even worth wasting time on.

As a hairstylist, you could expand your services into the field of hair loss by getting certified yourself. Demand for hair and scalp experts is growing year on year, and many of your clients are probably in a desperate need of someone they could reach out to. Most hair loss sufferers spend years covering up their problem before they reach a specialist who can help them in the long term.

Becoming a Certified Trichologist will allow you to advance your career and serve your clients on a higher level by resolving one of their most pressing issues: hair thinning and falling. For more information about becoming a certified Trichologist download our free guide below.

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