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Galway Independent

Getting on top of Hair Health

Written by Christina Hession - Wednesday, 17 January 2007

Christina Hession discusses hair health with Deborah Whelan from the Galway Skin and Trichology Clinic, the only specialist scalp and hair clinic serving the West of Ireland and the Midlands.


Did you know that common male hair loss can start as young as 14 years of age, or that 40 per cent of women lose hair after childbirth? The Galway Trichology Clinic, located at 37 Eyre Street, Galway City, is the only specialist scalp and hair clinic serving the West of Ireland and the Midlands.


Deborah Whelan, who owns the clinic, is one of only five qualified trichologists in Ireland.


Deborah has a wealth of experience in the area, having opened her first clinic in Manchester in 1994. Fellow Mancunian Teresa Cosnett, who also runs the skin clinic, joins Deborah in the clinic. Trichology is the science and study of hair, and clinical trichology is the diagnosis and treatment of diseases and disorders of the hair and scalp.


It is often said that 'hair is the barometer of health'. People with worries about hair loss, scalp and hair texture problems or those who just want sound, professional advice on keeping their hair and scalp in good condition, can contact the Galway Skin and Trichology Clinic for a consultation.


The consultation takes approximately an hour and costs €85. The fee covers any follow-up check-ups that may be needed. During the consultation, Deborah will ask questions about the patient's health, family history, lifestyle, diet etc. She will make a diagnosis and suggest an appropriate treatment after this detailed consultation and a close examination.


One of the most common hair conditions presented at the Forster Court clinic is alopecia. Alopecia is a blanket term for hair loss of any kind. There are many types and causes of hair loss. Hair loss may be genetically inherited, or it may be caused by a variety of other factors, including protein or other dietary deficiencies, hormonal imbalance and stress.


The main type of hair loss, is genetically inherited hair loss (known as Male Pattern Baldness) or Androgentic Alopecia. This condition also affects women. In women, the condition is likely to lead to diffuse hair loss rather than to obvious bald patches. Although, there is no cure for this condition, hair loss can be limited or slowed down in some cases, and treatments are likely to be more effective on women than on men. Meanwhile, Scarring Alopecia can occur after infectious scalp disorders. More rarely, they are autoimmune conditions.


Scalp problems can range from dandruff to more inflammatory conditions, such as psoriasis and eczema. As with the hair, these problems can be symptomatic of some other metabolic variation, like stress or poor diet. In some cases, allergies to certain foods can be responsible for the build up and shedding of dead skin cells. The management of hair and scalp that are excessively greasy is another area in which Deborah's advice is often sought.


Psoriasis is a common scaling skin disease, which affects around one to two per cent of the population. Most psoriasis sufferers will develop psoriasis of the scalp at some time. However, it does not generally cause permanent hair loss. Seborrheoic eczema is an inherited, itchy, inflammatory, scaling scalp condition, which can cause much discomfort and embarrassment. It is treatable with much success, but is not wholly curable.


Pityriasis amiantacea is a heavy scaling condition, which can cause patchy hair loss. Prompt treatment can remove scaling and stop progression of associated hair loss. Meanwhile, contact dermatitis is a scalp condition affecting areas of the scalp in contact with a chemical irritant. Symptoms can range from mild scaling and irritation to violent allergic reaction.


Problems with hair texture can be caused by over exposure to heat or strong chemicals, or by many of the other stresses and strains we subject our hair to. With the advent of hair straighteners, more women are having problems with breakage and poor hair conditions. Treatment can include cutting back on straighteners and other damaging hair products, using protective serum or getting the hair cut.


In addition to diagnosing and treating scalp diseases/disorders and hair loss, the Galway Skin and Trichology Clinic also provides a refreshing cleansing and reconditioning treatment for the general health of the hair and scalp. The clinic describes the treatment as being like a face pack for the scalp, conditioning the hair.


Treatments for scalp conditions are applied at the clinic and their ingredients are listed for clients to see. They are supplied by Tony Maleedy Trichology in Bath, while stronger treatments can be made for more stubborn conditions if needed. Deborah Whelan can discuss hair pieces, in addition to transplant information and options with clients.


The Galway Skin and Trichology Clinic is open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 10am to 6pm, Wednesday from 10am to 8pm and Sunday from 10am to 4pm. It can be contacted at 091-565148 or by email at info@trichologist.ie.