Expert Advice: Hair Loss & Scalp Concerns

Stress, hormonal changes and even tattoos: our life experiences can be clear to see in our hair, and often the first person to notice is the hair professional. We spoke to Anita Kirby, Trichologist, Hair and Scalp Specialist (, about the most common conditions, and look at the services that can help.

“The majority of cases I treat are due to hair loss and itchy scalp. Hair loss could be due to alopecia, or for the mature client, it’s thinning hair.” Alopecia areata presents as bald patches that can come and go. It can appear at any age but usually affects teenagers and young adults and it is thought to be caused by problems with the immune system. “It is like a coin shape and in the majority of cases, it is usually the hairdresser who notices it first.”

Hair loss, or telogen effluvium, can be caused by a drop in the growth-boosting hormones, oestrogen and progesterone and a rise in hair loss promoting hormones, androgen and testosterone. It can also be caused by stress, trauma or even a dramatic weight loss. The hair looks and feels thinner all over the scalp; “Stress has a huge bearing on every age, both male and female. The hair follicle thins and you often see mature women where you can see through their hair.”

Finding the cause and cure for an itchy scalp can be difficult and it can often be made worse through incorrect diagnosis. “When it is diagnosed incorrectly, the treatment can cause more damage. There are over 40 different diseases and disorders so it’s important to go to a specialist.”

“Another disorder that is becoming very prevalent – it was a rare disorder – is where the hairline is receding on a woman and this is something that hairdressers may not be familiar with. It’s a scarring alopecia where the hair follicle doesn’t come back and this needs to be addressed immediately to prevent the rest of the hair being lost. I’m beginning to see quite a lot of it.”

Anita offers some words of wisdom on offering advice and comfort to your customer. “It’s about diplomatically telling the client, you don’t know how sensitive the client could be. This can be a huge trauma in their life and it has to be handled delicately, maybe saying, ‘have you noticed your
hair is getting thinner?’ They may not have noticed at all and you don’t want to scare them.”

Did you know?

According to Anita tattoo ink may use the same PPD as hair colour so it’s important to regularly offer skin testing to your clients. “I ask my clients if they have had a tattoo since they have had their hair coloured as they may have been using the colour for ten years but the tattoo can raise the levels of the PPDs in the body and they can have a reaction to it. People are experiencing reactions so hairdressers should ensure a skin test is done.”

Here are two new treatments that cleanse and detox the scalp to support hair health!

Kérastase has launched an in-salon scalp cleansing service, the Spécifique Purification System

Kérastase has launched an in-salon scalp cleansing service, the Spécifique Purification System to combat the damage caused by environmental aggressors like pollution and hard water. A combination of manual and sonic cleansing, the treatment begins with a Masquargil clay mask to deeply cleanse the scalp, unclogging pores and eliminating oil, sweat and product build up. Next, a Clarisonic professional brush specifically developed for scalp cleansing gives pore-by-pore detoxification and microcirculation activation.


BC Scalp Genesis from Schwarzkopf is a silicon-free range that works in two ways: protecting the stem cell which is a part of the hair follicle and plays a crucial role in healthy hair growth. It not only delivers the original information about the hair structure and natural hair colour, it is also the starting point for the next generation of hair after the previous hair falls out; and root protection against oxidative stress.
The collection contains four strands: soothing, purifying, anti-dandruff and root activating, and the Scalp Detox Service is available in salon which includes a BC Scalp Genesis Self-Warming Detox Prep-Treatment with a detoxifying massage, to activate blood microcirculation and to eliminate impurities, product build-up and pollution, followed by a prescribed BC Scalp Genesis Shampoo and Scalp Treatment to purify the scalp and secure the future condition of the hair.