Trichoscopy: a helpful new method in the diagnosis of female hair loss conditions

If you are worried about hair loss or thinning hair, the first place to go is to your family doctor (GP).

Your GP is likely to ask you about your hair care routine, any recent illnesses or surgeries, hormonal changes (i.e. pregnancy or the menopause) you have experienced and many other questions to help you get a formal diagnosis for your condition.

If your GP is unable to pinpoint a specific cause for your hair loss – of which there are many, some more complex than others – after this basic assessment, you may be referred to a dermatologist (skin specialist) or a trichologist (hair growth and loss specialist).

This is when more complicated methods are used to make a differential diagnosis. Alongside a scalp biopsy, you may also undergo a trichoscopy.

A trichoscopy is a method of evaluating the scalp and hair, focusing on the analysis of hair shafts, in order to diagnose diseases affecting this part of the body. Also called a scalp visualisation technique, it has been used with some success to diagnose female androgenic alopecia as well as a number of conditions which can cause hair loss in children.