The Keepers of Your Crowning Glory

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Maintaining a whole head of good hair and a healthy scalp is a challenge that many people struggle with. This is where a trichologist steps in and banishes the woes away. Darshana Krishnamony tells you more about this career avenue

People value their tresses more than anything. This gave birth to an independent branch of science, in London in 1902, that deals with the scientific study of the hair and the scalp. Trichology, which is at its infancy in India, has diverse career opportunities to offer.

What does a trichologist do?
As a trichologist, one deals with problems like hair loss, greasy hair and scalp, frizzy hair, male/female pattern baldness, dandruff, itching scalp, greying of hair and more on a daily basis. Trichologists may also act as consultants to salons and cosmetic companies and help in their product design for shampoos and conditioners.

Is this profession flourishing in India?
Trichology is a growing science and is considered one of the crème de la crème professions within the medical industry. “Good hair and scalp condition is a  barometer to the person’s general well being and helps identify underlined health disorder if any,” notes Dr Akshay Batra, a well known trichologist and MD of Dr Batra’s Positive Health Clinic. Many people today suffer from hair and scalp related issues. Dr Batra adds, “A recent study showed that hair loss has become a decade younger with hair problems no more confined to middle aged men above 35, but are increasingly a concern amongst the youth aged 20-30, and women as well.” The need for a qualified trichologist is therefore increasing, as awareness regarding hair care and importance of healthy hair increases.

What do trichologists study?
Typically, aspiring trichologists needed to have a background in science. Of late, those who have a degree in medicine have become stronger contenders. While both diploma and degree courses are available, it is likely that in the years to come only those with a medical degree would be eligible for them. Diploma in trichology is a three-month long course and is currently open to paramedics, pharma graduates, clinical researchers, nurses, R&D professionals, science graduates, beauticians and hair stylists. A sixmonth programme leading to an international degree certification in trichology may be taken by medical  practitioners only.

What perks do trichologists enjoy?
No erratic work schedules as there are no medical emergencies.

What about challenges?
Marilyn Sherlock, a qualified trichologist and the Chairman at the Institute of Trichology (UK), in an interview with the Videojug says, “I would say that the hardest part of my job is when I’m faced with a situation I know can’t be rectified. If I’ve got, for example, a scarring or a scalp disorder and the person who’s sitting there is hoping that I’m going to be able come up with some miracle cure, I know I can’t and I also know I’ve got to be honest and say so.” Also, trichology is not as popular in India as it is elsewhere. Hence it is battling the  odds to gain its space in this country.

DERMATOLOGY VS TRICHOLOGY
Although trichology is today marketed as an individual subject, it is in fact a component of dermatology. Dermatology is the study of skin and all skin appendages which include hair and nails. Therefore, all dermatologists are trichologists, but not all trichologists are dermatologists. Dermatologists and trichologists often work together in several cases.

COMMON TREATMENT METHODS TRICHOLOGISTS OFFER
Subject to the patient’s complaint and their requirement, a trichologist may provide:
◊ Laser treatments
◊ Medicines
◊ Wigs
◊ Hair transplant treatments
◊ Mesotherapy (treatment for baldness, patchy hair loss and hair thinning)

CAREER FACTS: TRICHOLOGIST
JOB PROFILE: A trichologist deals with all matters of the hair and scalp. They may be nutritional trichologists (treat hair problems with dietary solutions), counselling trichologists (advice patients on which shampoos, oils, etc to use), chemistry trichologists (work with shampoo companies to create shampoos and conditioners) or forensic trichologists (work with investigation bodies on evidential hair ±  hair from crime scenes).

INCOME: If you start at a hospital, expect Rs. 10,000 a month. If at an MNC, salaries can be upto Rs. 30,000 a month. If you establish your own clinic, your salary is in your hands.

SKILLS SET: A basic understanding of science, ability to communicate, and a scientific and methodical approach

STUDY:
◊ MET-Richfeel Institute of Trichology, India
◊ International Association of Trichologists (IAT), Australia
◊ The Institute of Trichologists (TIT), UK

 

Volume 3 Issue 7

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