I became interested in trichology after I saw a lot of clients in hair systems. And I was wondering what I could do before they got to that point. My interest in trichology started with my daughter Carli. She lost over 50 percent of her hair due to alopecia areata when she was 9 (she is now 27). It was something that not only was hard for her but it affected the whole family.
I was used to fixing anything and I couldn’t fix this. It was unbearable at times to watch my child withdraw and try to become invisible because of the teasing and looks she would get. And this wasn’t just from mean classmates – it was adults too. I will never forget the time while she was in middle school and I took her to get her ears pierced. She and I picked out a cute pair of pink stone earrings hoping that it would stop people from thinking she was a boy since her hair was very short. The top would fall out and then grow back, it was a vicious cycle. After she got them pierced we went to show her Grammy at work. Carli was so proud to show her. Then this man came up and mistook her for a boy. You expect that sort of thing when they are babies, sometimes it’s hard to tell, but here she was with her cute PINK earrings and someone just assumed she was a boy because of her hair.
My heart broke for her; she didn’t fit in with any of the other girls at school. They all had long beautiful hair and hung out in their clicks. I was happy that she became her own person and didn’t follow the pack, but it wasn’t easy for either of us at the time. I had to apply for a special exception from her school so she could wear hats. She would always wear a cute beanie. Thank goodness they were popular and I could find cute girl ones at the Gap. After few more comments she began to wear big baggy sweat shirts and baggy jeans and ball caps. It became hard to tell if she was a girl or boy. It was her way of hiding. We were at Target one day and she went to the restroom, when she found me she was in tears. I looked into those big blue teary eyes and asked her what was wrong and she proceeded to tell me a woman stopped her before entering the restroom and said, “Young man, the men’s restroom is over there this is the lady’s restroom.” She told her, “I am a lady.” I was proud of her for speaking up.
I became very involved with NAAF. The National Alopecia Areata Foundation. I raised money having 5K runs two years in a row. Both were very successful and were during September which is the alopecia areata’s awareness month. We had great coverage from the press and TV. I was a mom on a mission. I was also involved as a support person answering phone calls that would come into NAAF from people looking for help. When a mother would call I could hear the pain in her voice as they described what their child was going through. Every story was different, but the same. It didn’t matter if it was a boy or a girl it was just as hard on the child and their families. It was then I became interested in trichology and more natural treatments.
At the time I was looking for an online course I only saw the school in London for a 2 year course When I looked again a year later I found Dr. David Kingsley had an online course. I personally chose World Trichology Society with David Kingsley. His certificate took me about 8 months but I finished and graduated in 2013. I had 3 other people in my clinical with WTS Two of them I still keep in touch with, the third one moved back to Spain. My second certificate was with USTI. I use d and still use Xtc products along with others to treat my hair loss clients.
I have owned a salon from the early days of my cosmetology career. I think I was too darn suborn to work for someone else. I did try it for a few years but it didn’t work out. I have built 4 salons and managed up to 25 people with two salons at the same time. In 1991 I had had enough and was ready to just work alone in a small cottage behind my home. I really enjoyed spending time with my clients and not being torn between my family and the staff. If I could have afforded not to work behind the chair and just managed the salon staff, that would have been perfect, but the truth of the matter was I couldn’t afford not to work behind the chair and I enjoyed doing hair. My salon was a commission-based salon and required a lot of management.
To get back to the point of this story, I feel that trichology needs to be licensed in each state. Right now, anyone can claim they are trichologist. Those of us that are properly trained and certified know how much money and time it takes. The states should regulate and license it under cosmetologist and barbering. Each person’s scalp is different and different ethnicities face different challenges. In the long run the emotional loss is so traumatic for everyone.
Trichology is the scientific study of hair and scalp, and is becoming a very popular study in the cosmetology industry. Trichology is a certification that a student receives after a lot of money and time of study. It’s time for each state to recognize it under the professional Regulation of cosmetology. Like the internet it’s like the wild wild West. It’s become such a money maker that everyone wants in on the business of hair loss business. We are not medical Doctors and sometimes the conversation I see are way out of our expertise.
Patti Wood WTS, USTI
Patti Wood WTS, Owner of Off 5th Avenue Salon, is a professionally trained hair stylist and a certified Trichologist specializing in Hair Replacement therapy and solutions. Patti has helped many clients solve hair loss problems ranging from cancer treatments, male or female pattern baldness, hair thinning, and Alopecia Areata. She works closely with Dermatologists and Physicians in treatment plans.