A trichologist’s role in compensation claims

Your questions answered about how a trichologist supports legal claims against hairdressers

As specialists in compensation claims for hairdresser negligence which causes scalp burns, scalp blisters, hair damage or hair loss, we’re often asked ‘what’s a trichologist?’ by our clients. That’s because one of the steps in suing a hairdressing salon involves getting guidance by a trichologist (more on this later).

In today’s blog, we explain the role of a trichologist along with why, when and how to instruct one…

What is a trichologist?

First things first, a trichologist is an expert on diseases and problems relating to the hair and scalp, as well as their cures and treatments.

The term ‘trichology’ itself derives from the Ancient Greek word ‘thrix’, meaning hair. While trichologists aren’t doctors, they advise people suffering from hair-related issues by diagnosing and recommending a course of action. They don’t prescribe drugs, or perform medical and surgical procedures.

A trichologist’s training

To fully understand the role of a trichologist, it’s useful to know how they’re trained to do their job. Trichologists undergo specialised training comprising a combination of academic studies with hands-on experience, observations and mentoring.

Once certification has been achieved through successful completion of an accredited programme, trichologists join a professional organisation – the Institute of Trichologists, Trichological Society and International Association of Trichologists, plus bodies specific to each country amongst them.

Why to see a trichologist

So, what types of conditions would demand that you visit a trichologist? To give you some examples of why you should seek a trichologist’s help:

Hair loss – both men and women

Pattern baldness is the form of hair loss that follows a well-defined pattern. For men, hair loss begins above the temples and recedes into a characteristic ‘M’ shape. For women, hair loss tends to be overall thinning without a hairline that recedes. Hair loss of this nature is permanent.

Usually, this type of hair loss is associated with a medical or inherited condition – from high blood pressure to polycystic ovary syndrome – rather than resulting from a hairdressing appointment that’s gone badly wrong. Your trichologist will get to the root cause and signpost you to a doctor.

Hair shedding

To use its technical term, telogen effluvium is the process of large sections of hair detaching from the scalp. It’s temporary hair loss that’s triggered by any number of factors such as stress, poor diet, menopause, childbirth, underlying health conditions and sudden weight loss. Hair shedding is a side effect of some medical treatments too, chemotherapy drugs for instance. This is called anagen effluvium.

Again, hair shedding isn’t caused by a bad experience at the hairdressing salon. A trichologist is a good place to start and he/she can direct you to a physician or psychologist for appropriate support.

Alopecia

The most complex form of hair loss is alopecia as it comes in many varieties, comprising alopecia areata (the body’s immune system attacking healthy tissues so that hair falls out and new hair is prevented from growing – there are round patches of hair loss), alopecia totalis (complete loss of hair on the scalp and, potentially, elsewhere on the body) and cicatricial alopecia (otherwise known as scarring alopecia).

It’s this latter type of alopecia we encounter most in our clients. Essentially, scarring alopecia is the result of hair follicles being destroyed, scar tissue being formed and hair being unable to regrow thereafter.

Whilst skin conditions, autoimmune diseases and inflammatory disorders are often to blame, so too is a hair treatment injury. For instance, the incorrect use of hair relaxing and hair curling chemicals, and excessive application of heat styling tools like hair straighteners, curling irons and blow dryers. Certain hairstyles are guilty also. Those styles pulling hair away from the scalp with extreme force (overtight ponytails and braids) or placing heavy weight onto hair strands (hair extensions) can irreparably damage hair, especially in the case of badly fitted hair extensions.

When to meet with a trichologist

In a nutshell, the answer to the question of when to see a trichologist is: as early as possible. The sooner you seek a trichologist’s services, the greater your chances of recovery – at least partially, if not fully. With early intervention and detection, you’re better able to stop the hair loss and even reverse the effects.

In our ‘3-step plan to suing your hairdresser’ blog, the involvement of a trichologist occurs in step #2, after documenting what’s happened and as part of pursuing a legal claim with a law firm behind you.

What to expect at your trichology appointment

Pinpointing your hair loss/damage problem(s) necessitates (1) a trichologist asking a series of questions about your health, nutrition, lifestyle, family history and hair care routine, (2) a trichologist examining your hair and scalp with the naked eye, through a digital microscope and/or via a hair pull test, and (3) a trichologist giving his/her analysis, recommendations and referrals.

How to find a trichologist

As set out in our earlier blog, you don’t need to go it alone. Finding a qualified, reputable trichologist takes research. You’ll be pleased to learn that the Hairdressing Claims team has long-standing partnerships with expert trichologists. We’ll set up an appointment on your behalf as your matter progresses, in the initial stages of suing your hairdresser for harm and injury you’ve suffered at their hands.


Are you keen to pursue a compensation claim for hair damage or scalp burns from your hairdressing salon? Then get in touch with us here at Hairdressing Claims team by emailing enquiries@hairdressingclaims.co.uk, calling 0800 141 3682 from a landline for free, phoning 0333 202 6560 from a mobile or completing our online enquiry form.

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