Trichology – Definition, Training, Career



What is Trichology and What Can a Trichologist Do?

The definition of Trichology is ‘the science and study of scalp and hair in health and disease’.

Trichologists are able to diagnose and treat a wide range of hair loss, hair conditions and scalp problems. Some undertake medico-legal work and act as expert witnesses in personal injury cases.  Because Trichologists are not restricted to a particular treatment method, they’re flexible to choose between orthodox or complementary medicine. However, Trichologists who are not medical doctors cannot sell prescription treatment. 

Many Trichologists work holistically and aim to improve general health which, consequently improves hair loss and scalp health. As a result, this is often the most successful type of hair and scalp treatment. However, it requires willingness by the patient to make personal changes to habits, lifestyle, diet and personal health. 

Trichologists study anatomy and physiology of the human body with a particular focus on the scalp.  Hair is said to be a barometer of health and therefore understanding the human body is of great importance. Trichologists are not Doctors and cannot diagnose medical health conditions.

An experienced Trichologist will have seen many thousands of patients with all manner of medical conditions. Because of this they may recognise symptoms of a health condition and request you see your GP. Alternatively, some Trichologists may write to your GP. However, unfortunately some GP’s  don’t appreciate non-medical professionals making suggestions regarding their patients. Sometimes letters to GPs can be counterproductive.  

History of Trichology

The word ‘Trichology’ originates from the ancient Greek word Trikhos meaning hair. An interest in hair loss and hair care originated around 1860 in a London barbershop under a certain Professor Wheeler. As a result, The Institute of Trichologist was inaugurated in 1902 and the interest in hair disorders became known as Trichology.  

Trichology in the UK

In the UK there are three organisational bodies who offer courses in Trichology. All courses are Open University style home-study. Because most students choose Trichology as a second career, this type of training lends itself well to family life. The majority of study is carried out at home and students visit training centres for lectures and clinical observation.

The three UK bodies are:

The Institute of Trichologists. –  

The first and oldest founded in 1902.  The IOT run a structured two-year course from September to July each year.  Qualifying students graduate some months later. Further training, mentorship and submission of cases histories continue in the following years to achieve MIT status or full membership.

Qualification recognised by the letters AIT, MIT FIT

IOT institute of trichologists logo


The Trichological Society.  

Founded in 1999, TTS run a modular three year University style course. Students write around 20 essay topics a year and submit a final dissertation at the end. Almost 70% of the course is based on in-depth study of hair and scalp disease. Students attend seven days of clinical experience per year. At the end of the course students take a final viva voce exam and demonstrate their knowledge with new patients in the presence of examiners. 

Qualification recognised by the letters LTTS, FTTS

Trichological Society Logo






The most recent training organisation, set up to educate hair professionals who have an interest in Trichology. Trichocare offer two courses, a one year introduction to Trichology and a one year level 4 ITEC Certificate in Trichology for Hairdressers. 

Qualification recognised by the letters ART



ART Trichologist logo





What to Ask When Booking A Trichology Consultation.

Please be aware, it is not against the law for an untrained person or hairdresser to set up as a Trichologist. Due to this, there are many ‘hair clinics’ where ‘specialists’ have had no formal training at all. In reality many originate from a sales, marketing or office background and may consider themself an expert following their own hair transplant.

Registered Trichologists carry insurance for both professional indemnity and public liability. They  practice in accordance with a code of ethics and professional practice guidelines.

If you are trying to locate a Trichologist, when you call a clinic, ask these questions:

  • Who will I be seeing?
  • Which organisation are they qualified with?
  • How long have they been qualified?
  • Are they insured?


Trichology As A Career

Many people achieve a Trichology qualification but only a handful set up and stay in practice.  A Trichology career is highly rewarding and a caring profession. However, potential students with an interest in training as Trichologists should bear in mind there are few Trichology ‘jobs’ available . Consequently most Trichologists are self-employed and operate independent Trichology Practice.

There are many types of Trichology practice. Part time Trichologists are rarely committed to renting an entire premises and most operate from a room within other businesses such as salons. Furthermore, there are quite a few “no fixed abode’ Trichologists who travel around the country. Many Trichologists convert part of their home or build home extensions to work from, this works particularly well for those in semi-retirement.  

Cotswold Trichology

Cotswold Trichology is a converted townhouse. At the very onset Trichologist Sally-Ann Tarver was very clear that Trichology was a profession for life and committed to finding a location that was spacious and comfortable. 4B Port St opened 1998 and furthermore, with recent expansion to the first floor, offers 1500 square feet of treatment, consulting and waiting areas. It is certainly no shed!

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