Trichology is a specialised branch of medicine that deals with the scientific study of the health of hair and scalp and the diseases related to them. Problems may include baldness, scaling of the scalp, itching, scalp eczema and psoriasis, premature graying, hair loss, hair breakage, hair damage, hair thinning, seborrhea dermatitis, head lice, dandruff, dryness and oiliness. Derived from the Greek word 'Trikhos' which means 'hair', the disciplined area of Trichology originated in London, England in 1902. Since Trichology deals with the anatomy, growth and diseases of the hair, this field involves in-depth study of chemistry, biology, anatomy and physiology, and has gained much importance in the recent years with the popularisation of paramedical sciences. Nowadays people are very much conscious of their beauty, health and looks. Many of them, irrespective of their age are suffering from various types of hair and scalp problems caused by pollution, UV rays, use of chemicals on hair, harmful hairstyling methods and products, stress level etc. Here comes the scope for Trichologists, the academically trained experts in hair and scalp biology and disorders. One does not need to be a doctor to become a Trichologist. Trichologists are health care workers/ hair scientists / hair doctors or hair and scalp specialists who diagnose and treats scalp related problems. A Trichologist's job is very different from that of a hair stylist or beautician. They spend hundreds of hours just studying the hair, scalp and their intricacies. The main job of Trichologists involve evaluating the client; examining and diagnosing the cause of their disease/ problems and giving appropriate treatment. They cure or prevent diseases by prescribing treatments such as application of special lotions and ointments to the scalp, or by using materials such as, electrotherapy machines and ultra-violet lamps. Trichologists treat damage of the hair or scalp caused as a result of the misuse of hair colouring, permanent waving and straightening products, and give advice to those persons about the side effect. They can also prescribe nutritional supplements. Trichologists who are not medically qualified do not treat hair problems with prescription drugs, which is the prerogative of the dermatologist. So if a patient needs a prescription drug or a surgical procedure, trichologists refer them to a dermatologist or medical practitioner. How to Become a Trichologist Educational Qualifications To work as a Trichologist, it is not mandatory to have a doctoral degree. One must obtain a Diploma / Certificate in Trichology. Plus two students from any stream can enroll for a Diploma course in Trichology, which is considered as the entry-level qualification in this field. As Trichology involves a bit of biology, preference may be given to science students. Since Trichology as a course of study is not recognised by any government-recognised body in India, institutes that offer these courses affiliate themselves with either the International Association of Trichologists (IAT), Australia (www.trichology.edu.au), or The Institute of Trichologists, London (www.trichologists.org.uk) MET-Richfeel Institute of Trichology is India's first institute to offer internationally recognized diploma and degree programmes in Trichology. The Institute is a tripartite association between Mumbai Educational Trust, Richfeel / Trichology Centre and International Association of Trichologist (I.A.T), Australia. The institute offers Diploma and Certificate Courses in Trichology. The 3 month Diploma in Trichology is open for science graduates, pharma graduates, R&D professionals, paramedicals, clinical researchers and nurses. Beauticians and hair stylists with a minimum HSC level can also join this course. Diploma course in Trichology develop one's knowledge in Hair and Scalp disorders. It is a value added advantage to business prospects for multi national employees. This program helps research scientists to enhance their knowledge for product development, product explanation and product marketing. The 6 month certification, Certified Medical Trichilogist Programme is open only for qualified doctors (MD, MBBS, BHMS, BAMS etc.). These programs can be undertaken by correspondence (distance learning) and a clinical training will be conducted at MET institute, Bandra, Mumbai under the guidance of certified Trichologists. Some other institutes that conducts trichology courses are Institute of Cosmetic and Laser Surgery Center - Mumbai, Vcare's Global Institute of Health Sciences (VGIHS) - Chennai, VLCC institutes etc. Qualities Required To be an expert in the area of Trichology, one must gain adequate knowledge about the causes, symptoms, diagnosis and prognosis of specific hair and scalp disorders. A Trichologist must possess basic knowledge of science, understanding of basic genetic principles, personal hygiene, a scientific and methodical approach. Good listening skill, patience, ability to communicate, empathize are the attributes needed for aspirants. Job Prospects for Trichologist Moderate opportunities are available for those who pass out as trichologists. Doctors with specialization in the field of hair and scalp, can practice as Trichology specialist. A trichologist works in close association with dermatologists, endocrinologists, dentists, nutritionists, psychiatrists and cosmetologists. They can work as consultants at hospitals, health care centers and beauty saloons. Hair care product manufacturing industries hire trichology professionals for providing quality assurance on their products. Another good source of revenue is the hair transplantation clinics, where they can give treatment for baldhead/ hair loss. Experienced trichologists can set up their own consulting centers or clinics. They can also work as a clinical researcher for hair and scalp or work as a guest lecturer. Trichologists can work with the forensic team as forensic trichologist to determine the appropriate age, race and other important traits to find suspects. Remuneration Hair speaks the age and the health of an individual, and as far as hair remains an important asset, sky is the limit for a renowned Trichologist. The salary of a Trichologist is heavily dependent on the number of patients one gets, hours of work and the fee charged. A fresher in this field can earn anywhere between Rs 15,000 and Rs 20,000 per month and with experience, one can earn up to Rs 50,000. In MNC's, the salaries can be up to Rs. 30,000 per month. Those having their own clinic can earn significantly more. Trichologists have immense opportunities abroad. They are in great demand in countries such as Australia and New Zealand.