Frequently Asked Questions

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What does IoT mean?

IoT is the abbreviation of The Institute of Trichologists.

What is trichology?

Trichology is the science and study of hair (from the Greek ‘trikhos’ meaning hair). Clinical trichology (i.e. trichology in the context of practising members of the Institute) is the diagnosis and treatment of diseases and disorders of the hair and scalp.

So what is a ‘qualified trichologist’?

So far as the Institute is concerned, a qualified trichologist is someone qualified by and registered with the Institute.

There are other people, nothing to do with the Institute, who might claim to be ‘qualified’ but they are not recognised by the Institute as ‘qualified trichologists’.

What happens in a consultation?

During a consultation, your trichologist will look at any health problems you may have, any medications you may be on, diet and lifestyle. We ask that you do not wash your hair on the morning of the consultation so that we can see the hair and scalp in its natural condition. If you have had any blood tests take along a copy of your results, a list of any medications you are on and a list of products you are currently using.

After the consultation, if the trichologist consultant deems it necessary to have any further tests they will recommend which tests you need, the consultant will diagnose and recommend treatments that can be carried out at the clinic or recommend a home care regime.

What are the consultation costs?

All our members run their own clinics so we would advise phoning those in your area to enquire about services and costs as this can vary due to location.

As an example, please see the information below for our clinic in Trinity Road, Tooting, London:

The consultation will take up to an hour – £95

Medication and treatments, if needed, are extra.

What is meant by the letters ‘AIT’, ‘MIT’ and ‘FIT’ after peoples’ names?

They all indicate that the person is a fully qualified and registered member of The Institute of Trichologists. AIT is an Associate Member of the Institute, MIT is a full member and FIT is a Fellow of the Institute.

An AIT is likely to be recently qualified and undertaking their 2-year mentorship period towards full membership.  An MIT is a full member who has been approved by the Board for full membership after their mentoring and been qualified for at least 3 years. An FIT is a Fellow of the Institute who has been awarded and recognised for his or her outstanding contribution to the Institute or undertaking research in the profession

Should I see a trichologist or a dermatologist? and what is the difference?

As already mentioned, trichologists are not medically qualified, but are specialists in the scalp and hair, just like chiropodists are not medically qualified and specialise in the feet. A dermatologist is a medical doctor who has specialised in skin – all over the body, not just the scalp.

Dermatologists within the NHS are under pressure of targets to see all suspected skin cancer patients within a short time. Therefore, if you wish to consult an NHS dermatologist about your scalp problem, you are likely to have a long wait indeed. Also, to consult a dermatologist under the NHS you will need a referral from your GP, whereas you may consult a trichologist immediately and you do not need a referral (although some GPs will refer patients to a trichologist

What safeguards does membership of The Institute of Trichologists offer?

The Institute of Trichologists is over 100 years old (founded in 1902 – see history) and has built up a high reputation for standards of training and professional practice.

All registered members are fully and properly qualified.

All Institute members are bound by the Institute’s strict and enforceable Code of Professional Practice and Ethics.

The Yellow Pages list trichologists who are not Institute members. Why?

They all indicate that the person is a fully qualified and registered member of The Institute of Trichologists. AIT is an Associate Member of the Institute, MIT is a full member and FIT is a Fellow of the Institute.

An AIT is likely to be recently qualified and undertaking their 2-year mentorship period towards full membership.  An MIT is a full member who has been approved by the Board for full membership after their mentoring and been qualified for at least 3 years. An FIT is a Fellow of the Institute who has been awarded and recognised for his or her outstanding contribution to the Institute or undertaking research in the profession

Why are there no registered Institute members in my area?

Trichology is a very small profession, and outside of the main cities like London, Manchester and Glasgow, members are very thinly spread.

The Institute cannot dictate where its members live and work!

Are trichologists just glorified hairdressers?

No. Trichology and hairdressing are very different. The only thing they have in common is hair. Hairdressing of course, is cosmetic and to do with fashion and grooming whereas clinical trichology is diagnostic and therapeutic, based on medical and scientific knowledge. Not surprisingly though, some trichologists do come from a hairdressing background, but many do not.

How does someone become a qualified trichologist?

Only by following and successfully completing the Institute’s own two-year training course, followed by a further two years study/mentoring to become a full member.

Can trichologists treat alopecia?

‘Alopecia’ is an umbrella term for hair loss, of which there are many types and causes. Most types of hair loss can be treated but some cannot.

What does CPD mean?

CPD stands for Continuing Professional Development. Members can attend professional seminars to earn their CPD points. One point equates to 1 hour of attendance. This shows a member is up to date and is updating their knowledge on the subject of trichology.

What is the CPD requirement for IoT members?

The IoT have made it compulsory for members to earn 10 CPD points over a 2-year period. This falls in line with other professional organisations.

Do I need a GP referral to visit a trichologist?

No! Trichology is available to anybody as a private self referral based service so you can contact a trichologist direct for an appointment. Consultation fees apply (see FAQ).

Is trichology available on the NHS?

Trichology is a branch of dermatology so in some cases trichologists may refer their patients to a dermatologist via a GP for certain conditions we cannot treat like a scarring auto immune hair loss problem or persistent long term stubborn cases of alopecia areata that are not responding to treatment.

Why do you mention specialisms in a trichologist's listing? Are all trichologists not trained the same?

All IoT trichologists have been trained to a high standard in the same areas of hair and scalp disorders. Some choose to have a specific interest in certain areas such as womens/mens hair, Afro textured hair, hair replacement or litigation work but all members are capable of the above.

What is an expert witness/litigation trichologist?

The above refer to a trichologist who has trained additionally and specialises in the legal side of trichology. Members will specify in their listing if they are an expert witness. Usually solicitors contact a trichologist and request their CV on behalf of the client they represent.

Can I claim on my medical insurance for a trichology appointment?

Most insurance policies do not cover trichology on a policy unless the consultant is GMC registered. It is best to check the small print or contact the supplier to be sure as all policies vary.