Trichology is a set of cosmetology services that promotes healthier hair growth. It is not a medical service, nor a newly developed study. In fact, it is a 110 year old practice that was first introduced by The Institute of Trichologists in London. The Institute defines trichology as “the science of the structure, function and diseases of the human hair.” It goes on to say, “Clinical trichology is the diagnosis and treatment of diseases and disorders of the human hair and scalp.”
If you read just this definition you may mistake it for a medical service which only licensed doctors can perform. In reality, it is an unregulated wellness service that can be preformed by almost anyone, provided they have some level of training. Ideally, the treatment would be provided as a part of a cosmetology service.
When trichology was first introduced, a group of doctors, scientists and cosmetologists foresaw it as a separate medical specialty. But since the study of the hair and scalp overlaps with the study of dermatology, it failed to get recognized as such. In 1972, with the help of Dr. David Salinger, the University of Southern California reviewed studies of trichology but came to a similar conclusion.
Despite this disappointing outcome, The Institute of Trichologists continues to train trichologists, and many well-trained trichologists are providing professional services throughout the world. Some work side by side with dermatologists, and others are operating their own non-medical clinics. Trichology rests in a liminal space, not classified as medical nor purely cosmetic. It is partially due to this lack of classification that trichology has not attained popularity.