Hair Loss Is the New Normal

Hair loss has no age, no face and no color. Years ago, people didn't understand the magnitude of hair loss and no one wanted to talk about it. Now all you have to do is look around. Every single person knows someone with hair loss, if they are not experiencing it themselves.

"It is the new normal," notes Andrea Hayden, professional trichologist and owner of The Hair Management Group in San Antonio, Texas. Hayden has a total of 30 years in the beauty industry. She was a hairstylist and salon owner for years before experiencing her own hair loss that led her to become an expert in hair restoration. She is now recognized as one of the best in the country.

A self-proclaimed "education junkie," Hayden continued her advanced education after obtaining her cosmetology license. She eventually found her niche in hair loss with classes in non surgical hair replacement, scalp care and trichology, the scientific study of hair and scalp disorders. She is completing an internationally recognized certification program with the International Association of Trichologists in Sydney, Australia which is the only globally recognized trichology association today. In addition, she is a Certified Hair Loss Professional though Hair Loss Control Clinic.

Salon and Spa Opportunities to Treat Hair Loss

For any salon owner or hairstylist considering becoming a hair loss specialist, Hayden has only good news. She shares, "Your work will become so much more rewarding as you will become very focused on a needs-based clientele. These clients really need you and your expertise. They will appreciate the fact that you took the time to retrain and recreate your business for them." Hayden says, "For a traditional salon owner, if you are not invested in hair loss programs in the next three years, I believe your business is going to be in trouble. You are going to be losing clients at an alarming number because if you cannot offer solutions, then your competitors will."

Hayden started her career as a traditional hairstylist, opening Salon Visage as her first business in 1993 and growing it successfully to 45 employees. She quickly became known in her area as a person specializing in healthy hair as she continued to advance her career. In time, the challenges of running a business didn't allow her to focus on furthering her education in hair loss, where her real passion lay.

Hayden had experienced health issues including lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and a thyroid condition that had resulted in her own hair loss experiences, beginning her interest in becoming a hair restoration expert. She shares, "As a hairstylist it was devastating to lose my hair. Yet my hair loss has ultimately helped me to relate even more with the clients that I deal with every day. I focus mainly on women because I know what they are going through, medication induced hair loss can be a traumatic experience, to include shedding, breakage and dryness…it is not just a vanity issue. My own hair loss has been an unfortunate benefit to me in my Trichology business. Often, your life's passion is rooted in your pain."

In 2005, she sold her partnership in Salon Visage and stepped out on her own, starting The Hair Management Group. She wanted a special environment for her hair loss clientele, one that felt less like a traditional salon and more like a medical spa. Clients with special issues had complete privacy and her undivided attention during treatment.

Trichologists are academically trained in hair and scalp biology and how to recognize disorders or early signs of potential issues yet do not diagnose or treat them medically. Hayden sometimes partners with physicians for clients with medically induced hair loss. After a detailed consultation in the clinic and a digital microscopic hair and scalp analysis, Hayden makes an assessment and discusses treatment options. Treatments include hair detoxification, Low Level Laser Treatments (LLLT), scalp exfoliation, topical solutions and hair replacement if necessary.

Hair Loss Treatment Partnerships

In addition to medical doctors, Hayden works with holistic professionals and nutritionalists to help develop a full treatment plan. She partners with the Hair Loss Control Clinic of Latham, NY to offer professional product systems of DHT inhibitors, scalp hygiene and hair care maintenance products as well as LLLT treatments with clinic lasers.

Hayden sees a mix of Ethnic and Caucasian clients and notes that while they all have similar hair loss issues, ethnic clients tend to have much more chemical and mechanical causes. "Ethnic hair is textured," she notes. "When chemicals are improperly applied or without a licensed professional trained in maintaining healthy hair and scalp, extreme damage could result. The improper installation of hair extensions and tight braiding can strain the hair and cause traction alopecia, which can result in large areas of hair loss, yet can still be reversed if treated early."

Hayden's life and career changed dramatically with a telephone call from Essence Magazine in 2010. Essence wanted permission to list her as one of only seven hair care experts in the country specializing in hair loss. After she was originally featured, a follow up article teamed Hayden with a dermatologist for an in-depth piece that included her philosophies and recommendations on all aspects of hair loss.

The phone started ringing from clients all over the country looking for her expertise. Hayden shares, "After that media exposure my business turned a corner. I had still been seeing my traditional hairstyling clients in addition to my hair loss clients and was working seven days a week so that I could see my hair loss clients in private. I knew I had to make a change and I cut probably 50% of my clientele, which was one of the most difficult things I had to do. I looked at every client's case individually and decided who needed me the most. I didn't just drop them though; I transitioned them into another salon and made personal recommendations."

Hayden plans to continue to enhance the quality of her clients' experiences, helping them to feel safe and cared for. She is still an education junkie, now completing advanced training in holistic health, aromatherapy and herbology with plans to become a natural health practitioner.

She shares, "I want to be a voice, an ambassador to the hair loss industry and help other stylists to also advance their careers." Hayden is currently a spokesperson for the National Hair Society, the treasurer for the Beauty Culture League of San Antonio, represented in the inaugural edition of Black San Antonio Who's Who, and she works with the Look Good, Feel Better program for the National Cancer Society. Her latest achievements are being named Hair Loss Control Clinic's Ethnic Hair Loss Expert, and receiving a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2012 from the Alamo City Beauty and Barber Association for involvement in her local community.

For information visit www.XTC-Hair. com or www.HLCConline.com. The Hair Management Group is located at 13214 Huebner Road, San Antonio, TX 78230. Call 210-558- 3222 or visit www.andreahayden.com.