By John Ranney, Owner, Freedom Clinic, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Trichology is a branch of dermatology concerned specifically with the hair and scalp. While there are many concerns about the hair and scalp, hair loss is one of the most important areas of trichology.

John Ranney

The problem with modern-day dermatology is that while education in the area of hair loss may take place in a dermatologist’s training, few dermatologists actually practice diagnosing and treating hair loss once they become licensed dermatologists. This creates a distinct need for trichologists specializing in hair loss and other scalp concerns.


In my market in the greater Toronto area of Ontario, a population of over 6 million people, there are only two certified trichologists that I am aware of. There are also no dermatologists specializing in hair loss, and most dermatologists and family doctors brush off their patients’ hair loss concerns, leaving their patients frustrated and helpless.

Consequently, our phone rings constantly with people wanting to book appointments with the trichologist. Many people want to see a trained hair loss professional — a trichologist — before deciding on treatments or procedures. This is because many do not understand or believe that their hair loss is simply genetic. And, it may not be.

Benefits to the Clinic

There are several important benefits that trichology can bring to the hair replacement clinic. Being a trained and certified trichologist brings a wealth of knowledge into your studio. Now, you are able to properly recognize and understand the various causes of hair loss, the stages people are at, and what can be expected of their response to treatments. Questions like: Should I use laser therapy on my patients with frontal fibrosing alopecia can be properly answered. There is nothing more frustrating and possibly misleading, than not being able to honestly answer a patient’s question due to a lack of knowledge.

Being a certified trichologist adds legitimacy to your studio. You are now more respected not only by other professionals in the industry but also by the patients you are treating. They trust you more, and rightly so, because your training allows you to answer their questions and prescribe the proper treatments more effectively.

Many of the people I see do not believe the cause of their hair loss is genetic. So having the tools and expertise to convince them is helpful. And it’s more than just looking at the scalp through a microscope. You need to be able to explain to your patient what you are seeing. You need to know all of the symptoms of the many hair loss conditions and be able to translate those into proper diagnoses.

Added Revenue Streams

Trichology allows you to add more services to your studio. Treatments and related products for scalp issues other than hair loss are an entirely new revenue stream. And the initial consultation itself can be a paid consultation since your goal here is to inform the client of their condition and then the possible solutions. In the past, we did so many consultations where the client only wanted to know the cause of their hair loss, and may not have had any intention of doing anything. These consultations can be billed as “Detailed Scalp Analysis” or something similar, thus becoming a new source of revenue. In our clinic, we charge $175 ($125 U.S. dollars) for this type of consultation.

Two Different Consulting Approaches

A trichology consultation is different from a consultation for the purchase of a hair system or other specific service. It is important to differentiate this prior to meeting your client. In your trichology consultation, which should be a paid service, you will analyze the scalp and hair using various tools, and enter into a much more detailed consultation questionnaire. This differentiation can be done by pre-screening on the phone, or can also be done once you sit down with the patient. Your initial “discovery” portion of the consultation process will help you determine if this client needs a full-scale hair loss workup, or is simply looking for a hair system, hair transplant, or platelet-rich plasma treatment. For example, men with moderate to advanced androgenic alopecia generally do not require a full analysis, as the cause of their hair loss is usually obvious. In these cases, we move into a sales consultation for our various solutions.

This may lead to some confusion in marketing, as many studios like to advertise a free consultation. In our salon, we do still offer an initial free assessment, and it is during this initial consultation that we can determine if the client needs the full scalp analysis. However, if you have the details of your trichology services on your website, including consultation fees and services, many patients will call and book for this specific service, making the screening process moot.

What is Needed

In Canada, there are several requirements that should be met to offer trichology services. The first is the training. There are three major sources of specific Trichology training that I am aware of. In order to avoid the promotion of these facilities I will not offer any details, however, interested parties can contact me, or simply Google “certified trichologist training.”

Outfitting your studio is not difficult once you are trained. You will need a consultation room, which most studios and salons will already have, a computer and a good digital microscope for scalp analysis. There are other tools that you will learn about in your training that you may choose to use. A more detailed questionnaire will also be provided in your training.

To take your trichological analysis to the next level, I also recommend getting teamed up with a nurse practitioner or general practitioner who can offer:

1. Blood test requisitions.

2. Simple prescriptions for finasteride, oral minoxidil, steroid creams, spironolactone.

3. Referrals to other specialists for biopsies, or clinical injectables. Incidentally, if you have access to a trained registered nurse, you can offer some of these services in your clinic, such as platelet-rich plasma treatment.

4. Approvals for services like platelet-rich plasma treatment.

This opens up our ability to offer even more services such as platelet-rich plasma injections. It is also important to note that once these trichology clients undergo their analysis and have a complete understanding of hair loss from a trained professional, they are most likely going to come to you for any of their future hair and scalp needs. So many of these clients do turn into hair or scalp treatment, hair transplant and hair system clients.

From Salon to Clinic

Adding trichology to your hair replacement studio or salon definitely raises the bar on several levels. The complete hair loss clinic will be able to offer a level of expertise your competition does not have. It also adds the possibility for several more revenue streams. When you list these services as well as the team members on your website (RNs, NPs), referrals start to pour in from other professionals. This approach has been so powerful in our Toronto clinic that we no longer need to advertise any of our hair loss services. Our Google presence has shot up to the first page for most keywords, and we are now booked at least two weeks out just for consultations. Aside from this, we’ve added several revenue streams, which can also be offered to our existing clientele, and raised our legitimacy far above any of our competitors.