Sally-Ann has a wealth of experience in hair loss and scalp problems, regularly giving interviews to the media and appearing on TV and radio. In addition to owning The Cotswold Trichology Centre in Evesham, she is a member of the Institute of Trichologists and The Trichological Society and is a past President of the Trichological Society.
In our exclusive Q&A, Sally-Ann talks confidence with hair loss, her journey to becoming a trichologist and effective hair growth solutions.
Hi Sally! Tell us a bit more about your journey to becoming a practicing Trichologist?
I initially became interested in Trichology after a motorbike accident shortly after leaving School, the accident caused increased hair shedding (acute telogen effluvium due to general anaesthetic and shock). At that time I had just started an apprenticeship in a hair salon, it made me realise how common hair loss and scalp problems were but people were not getting help from their GP’s, most just put up with their problems. I began attending seminars on hair loss and met a Trichologist (Frank Cunningham MIT) and others who were interested in training as Trichologists. I was quite surprised that there were people who specialised in hair loss, who actually did it as a profession. The more I thought about it, the more I realised that was what I wanted to do for a living. In my salon, staff and clients often asked me to look at unusual scalp complaints or hair loss concerns. I felt at a loss for them as I had no idea how to help. I took the plunge and made enquiries about Trichology training. I had received a bit of compensation for my motorbike accident and decided to invest in my education and future. My hair never fully recovered after my accident and I hoped I would learn how to improve it along the way.
How did that lead to you working with Theradome?
Although many hair loss conditions can be rectified by establishing and correcting the cause, sometimes it is not enough or sometimes the cause cannot be rectified (hormones, genetics, medications). I had heard of laser therapy for hair loss and on occasions met people / patients who had seen improvements in their hair after visiting laser therapy clinics for treatment. I had on many occasions come very close to investing in a clinic laser machine but the initial layout put me off. These machines cost £30k-£40k at that time which meant normally you would have to charge reasonably high prices for treatment to cover the cost of the machine and your time. The treatment frequency was also off-putting, for laser therapy it to be effective, it needs to be used twice a week. Many of my patients travel up to an hour to see me, so coming twice a week for treatment would never work. I also felt it would be unfair to tie someone into such a long term regime, as if it worked for them they would have to keep coming back to maintain the improvement they had seen.
One evening, after having a number of patients in who I felt would benefit from this kind of treatment, I spent some time looking for a lower cost laser machine. Theradome popped up in my search, the company had launched its device a couple of months before. As I read about it, I became very excited as it appeared to be exactly what I was looking for. The cost was very reasonable in comparison with what I would have to charge patients if I bought a clinic machine. Theradome had been modelled on a clinical machine and I could see that in theory, it should do the same job. Over the coming weeks I discussed this wacky-looking helmet with a number of patients and many expressed an interest in trying it. I contacted the company and ordered 6 for patients who had asked me to get them one, then monitored them to see if it did what it said on the tin.
It grew from there and as I saw more patients who had been using Theradome, my confidence in recommending it increased. It is always rather nerve racking to recommend a new treatment based on the opinions of others until you have seen its effects yourself. Unfortunately this puts a lot of specialists off trying something new, many just stick with what they know rather than seeking something better.
What do you think sets the Theradome above others in the market in hair loss treatments?
Most Laser products are designed by people with an interest in hair rather than electronics or photonics. Theradome was designed by a biomedical engineer, someone with vast knowledge and experience in designing medical devices. Therefore it has been designed with the knowledge of how to ensure the lasers function at optimum as well as numerous built-in safety features. For example, most laser hair growth companies bulk buy a generic laser for their products, lasers that are used in CD and DVD players as the wavelength is similar to that known to be beneficial to hair growth. Theradome actually grow their own crystals to make their laser diodes to ensure the wavelength is at optimum (678nm) for hair growth. Our lasers stay cool during treatment which means that they function at optimum power throughout the treatment session rather than the power declining during the session.
When comparing Theradome with other methods of treatment, the key thing is that it is easy and takes no effort. Many people loose enthusiasm for applying lotions because it takes effort, so therefore are often not used as frequently as they should be.
What would you tell someone who's considering purchasing a Theradome?
Give it time to work. Hair loss is a very emotional issue and often when we use a treatment, we want to see instant results. Hair only grows at slightly more than 1cm per month and any hair treatment needs a certain amount of time to start to work before new hair will grow. In our clinic we find it takes around four months to start to see a difference in a patients hair but that difference is far more obvious when we see them again at 8 months as there has been more time for the new hair to grow longer. New hair is finer when it first grows, then as it gets longer, its diameter increases thereby the visual hair density improves. Unfortunately many people give up on hair treatment before it has had a chance to work properly which is a shame.
Learn more about Theradome here.