The Erosion of clinical Trichology – my distress
I may be traditional in my views on ethical behaviour but to me the ‘raison d’etre’ of a qualified Trichologist is:
- Investigation (of the patient’s presenting problem)
- Explanation (as to the type of hair or scalp problem the patient exhibits and contributing causes through evidential pathology testing)
- Treatment recommendations (options, alternatives, as well as duty of care in suggesting same)
It is definitely NOT setting up shop to engage in predatory practices; preying on the anxieties of consumers & to rip them off selling useless bottles of lotions – as well as trashing the 115 year tradition of Trichology as a science-based, academic specialism.
We all like to present ourselves from the most advantageous standpoint to highlight talents, experience & services – or any other exclusive benefit we can you offer the consumer. This is a ‘no brainer’ as the Americans like to say – providing it’s true.
I have been a full-time practicing Trichologist for almost 20 years; 43 years in the health field – and I am still learning.
So I become irritated in the extreme when some Trichology ‘wannabes’ do a basic course & begin immediately posturing themselves as white-coated ‘hair science experts’ – poncing around the country conducting celebrity seminars, setting up Trichology training schools & franchises, or flogging their over-priced ‘treatments’ – which apparently work for everyone regardless of the problem.
Apparently these Trichology ego-trippers are so good – and their treatment products work so well – they don’t need to investigate the many potential causes (via pathology testing) as I or other methodical practitioners still need to do. They seemingly have the ‘miracle cure’ to hair loss the world’s been waiting for – as long as you’re prepared to pay them enough ‘up front’ money.
I’m sure they’ll make lots of money and even achieve a YouTube following – but are they likely to enhance the science of Trichology? I doubt it.
Then there are those employed by large hair loss companies – usually on a sales commission basis – with their only ‘qualifications’ being some in-house trichology “training” that may extend from just a few days to a few weeks. They pose as independent hair loss analysts, but usually only ever offer the company’s one dimensional treatment programs. This is blatant deception by any reasonable standard (in my opinion).
I urge readers to recall that in many situations thinning scalp hair is an indication of internal deficiency or disturbance – so (potentially) one’s health is ‘at risk’ here too.
Whatever ‘title’ your practitioner or consultant is giving themselves: if they do NOT first propose investigative pathology testing PRIOR to suggesting treatment programs for you to purchase from them (or their company) – this is AT BEST a ‘fingers-crossed + hope for the best’ “scatter-gun” approach – and unprofessional (which you are paying for).
Unfortunately I cannot name names or organisations here due to the libel laws they shelter behind. I leave it to the client’s ‘savvy’ that they know crap when they hear it – and refuse to be drawn in.
‘Caveat Emptor’ (let the buyer beware) has long ever existed in the hair loss treatment industry, and is not just confined to ‘dodgy’ salesmen or untrained charlatans preying on the distress or expectations of consumers in order to make some quick & easy money. They unfortunately exist in every profession where greed overrides professional ethics: medical (hair loss) specialists, transplant surgeons, to those asserting themselves as qualified Trichologists.
The most blatant scammer recently brought to my attention is a certified trichologist operating out of a shopping centre in Melbourne’s eastern suburbs. Her claims:
- She offers a unique, “natural herbal follicular” stimulator
- 99% absolute success rate with the “fastest results” of any product
- “No MAJOR side effects since 1993” (her strange claim at her website)!!
- $350.00 PER WEEK for ONE bottle of her magic lotion, OR
- $399.00 PER WEEK if you wish to attend her clinic to have to have this magic elixir applied by her (apparently) equally magic hands!
- She demands clients organise a direct credit with her for ONE year in a lock-in contract.
- At minimum $350.00 per year this totals to $5150.00 per year for a topical ‘something’ with absolutely NO scientific or quality control studies behind it!
These facts have been verified by Clients who have contacted me after consulting this person as well as my own investigations. I hope this piece is read by an investigative journalist or consumer body who will then investigate and expose this fraudulent con-artist.
I also strongly advocate that certain Trichology associations should more closely monitor the practices of their members rather than just collect annual subscriptions and adopt the ‘three wise monkeys’ approach to unethical behaviour in their ranks.
I remain a strident campaigner for the hair loss industry be regulated to a compulsory Trichology qualification standard & registered with an official governing body for consumer protection.
Writer’ Note: I expect my observations in this piece will be seen by some as ‘sour grapes’ toward the younger, tech-savvy new generation of Trichologists. Nothing could be further from the truth! As those who know me know, I will assist, coach, nurture or encourage any new colleague to improve their Trichology knowledge and business so this very special science continues and grows. My disappointment stems from those who want to use it to enhance their own perceptions of ‘celebrity’, or as a sales ‘edge’ or quick money spinner – and in doing so – detracts from the good name and tradition pure Trichology has long enjoyed.
Copyright: Anthony Pearce 2017