BLOG: Hair loss and your client, by trichologist Sally-Ann Tarver
Sally-Ann Tarver MIT.FTTS is consultant trichologist at The Cotswold Trichology Centre & Theradome GB
Hair loss is a distressing condition for anyone, man or women. Often, people comment that their hairdresser discovered it. The onset of Alopecia in particular can remain unnoticed for quite some time until either the sufferer or their hairdresser notice it. For hair loss conditions such as this one of the most essential pieces of information in determining what triggered the loss is knowing exactly when it started.
For the hairdresser, being the bearer of bad news to a client is a rather daunting task. In reality they are better off knowing so they can act on it, rather than letting them walk away and discover it weeks of months later when it could become far worse.
With the wealth of hair loss products on the market today it can be tempting to sell clients an off-the-shelf solution to their problem. However, without a diagnosis or knowing what caused it, how can the correct treatment be prescribed?
Many hair loss and some scalp conditions are a result of nutritional deficiencies, medications or symptoms of an undiagnosed health condition. Retail hair loss treatments will rarely help hair loss conditions due to these causes.
Often the first step is to consult a GP and some GPs are knowledgeable about hair loss and will show a genuine interest in helping their patient with hair loss concerns.
Referring your client to a good trichologist can be the most useful suggestions you can make to help them. A good trichologist should be able to diagnose the condition, explain what has gone wrong and how to go about fixing it.
Signs your client may need help and what to suggest:
Significant increase in hair lost during shampooing. The amount of hair lost during washing varies from person to person and factors such as how long it has been since they last washed it and if they have worn it up or left down can cause normal shedding to vary.
What to suggest: Ask if they’ve noticed anything unusual themselves and suggest monitoring it. If it doesn’t improve over four to six weeks or has already been noticeable for eight weeks or more, recommend they seek help.
Scalp Redness in combination with loss of hair. These symptoms can be quite serious and sometimes lead to permanent hair loss. Scarring alopecias are becoming concerningly common in women, particularly in the over 50s.
What to suggest: This category of hair loss is best treated as soon as it is discovered, recommend they seek professional help ASAP.
Clearly defined bald patches with ‘stubble’ around the borders. Often a sign of Alopecia Areata and affects around two per cent of the population at some time in their life. Surprisingly people can develop quite large patches and not notice anything unusual, particularly if it is not visible to them in the mirror.
What to suggest: Discreetly make them aware. Alopecia Areata may correct itself within a few months but can also become much worse before it gets better.