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’?

The Institute of Trichologists has been providing education and certification of qualified Trichologists since 1902.  The Institute of Trichologists remains the most established and largest supplier of Trichology education in the UK today, and any Member with the letters AIT, MIT or FIT after their names has completed their education with The Institute of Trichologists and is competent to operate a clinical practice.

Other providers of Trichology Education include, the International Association of Trichologists, Trichocare, and the Trichological Society are the most established and recognised.

The International Association of Trichologists were formed by a past Chairman of the IoT and as such their education is very aligned with that of the IoT and is aimed at International students, we welcome members from around the world as International Affiliate Members of the IoT.

Currently the IAT is the only external organisation that can attain membership status with the IoT.  We are working to widen our Membership categories to embrace other established bodies.

Our Register of Members clearly details all of those Trichologists that have attained an academic and clinical education to enable the safe and comprehensive practice of Trichology, it they are not listed on our Members website then we do not recognise them and cannot regulate them, for example ensuring that continuing professional development studies are carried out annually.

A Registered Member will always work within their area of competence, which is to diagnose hair and scalp conditions, treatment can be given, however in certain cases referrals will be made to Medical Professionals for blood tests, biopsies and prescribed medications.

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 was founded in 1902 and has led the way in education and clinical practice, not just in the UK but Internationally as well.

All members who are registered are bound by a strict code of professional practice and ethics, if this code is not adhered to, and breaches are found we will investigate, instigate corrective action where possible and if serious enough remove the member from our register.

All members must complete at least 10 hours of continual professional development education over a 2-year period, failure to do this will mean that they lose their membership status.

All members are fully insured and have the care of the public as their first priority with rigorous health and safety and data protection procedures in place.

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

Unfortunately, anyone can set up and call themselves a Trichologist.  The Institute of Trichologists is undergoing registration with the Professional Standards Authority, as a register of Allied Healthcare Professionals, all Trichologists will be encouraged to become registered members with clear details of their qualifications and education.  You can find a registered Member here. Anyone not on the register may not be qualified and will not be bound by the code of professional conduct and ethics, our Members first objective is always the safety of the General Public.

Why are there no registered Institute members in my area?

Trichology is a very discrete specialism, often our Members are from large cities such as London, Birmingham, Glasgow and Manchester.  We do have over 150 Members and are always keen to hear if there is a geographical area that has a demand as we are able to inform our members or offer satellite clinics to meet that demand.

As an Institute we have no control over the geographical locations of our Trichologists.

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?

To qualify via the Institute of Trichologists education programme students undertake 3 years of study and 2 further years of clinical mentorship to become a full member.  Details of other educational providers and the qualification that students attain can be found on their websites.

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?

Currently Trichology is not recognised as an NHS service, we are working to change this via our Professional Standards Accreditation.  Trichologists do work closely with Dermatologists and regularly refer patients for prescribed treatments that our outside the treatment competence of the Trichologist.  There are some hair loss conditions that are scarring and progressive which can be treated with prescribed medications whilst the symptoms felt on the scalp can be treated with Trichological scalp treatments, a good example of how Trichology and Dermatology work closely together and complement each other’s skill sets.

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

All Members of the Institute of Trichology have been trained to the same standard in relation to hair and scalp disorders.  Some Members further develop their knowledge in certain areas of clinical practice and seek further education and expertise in that area, for example, Afro Textured hair, litigation work, Hair Replacement or Cosmetic procedures, this allows every Trichologist to clearly advertise any particular specialisms.

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 private medical insurers do not cover Trichology as an approved service.  We are working with our PSA registration to provide information and statistics to private medical insurance companies with the objective of achieving recognition for Trichology as an Allied Medical Service.  It is always best to check with your Insurance Provider to be sure of what is and is not covered under your policy.