Leading the way in scalp health is Dréa Richard, owner of André Richard Salon (130 Chestnut St., 215-735-1590). Here you can learn far more about (and see more of) your scalp than you ever thought possible, thanks to the Phyto scalp analysis. André Richard is the only salon in the area to offer the service.
Using a capilliscope that’s hooked up to a laptop, Richard runs the penlike device through your hair and watches the screen, where your follicles are magnified 200 times. The goal is to diagnose the condition of your scalp, the density of your hair, and the volume of your strands. Once you get past any squeamishness about seeing what your scalp looks like up close, it’s fascinating what you can learn. Turns out a shiny scalp doesn’t mean you have shiny hair; it means you’ve been overdoing it with silicone-based products. Too much shampoo and conditioner can make your tresses lackluster. “Your scalp needs to be balanced,” says Richard. “Then you’ll have your optimal hair.”
But before Richard begins any treatment, she’s on the lookout for anything that doesn’t appear normal. Over the years, she has alerted numerous clients to suspicious bumps, moles, or other anomalies, sending them straight to a dermatologist. “Part of your training in beauty school,” she says, “is to spot certain skin conditions—and learn what to do or not to do when you see them.” Richard stresses, however, that a stylist can’t diagnose skin cancer or any type of skin condition. Professor George Cotsarelis, MD, chair of the dermatology department at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine, wholeheartedly agrees. “I’ve seen dozens of patients who were referred by hairstylists,” she says. “They’re used to seeing so many scalps that they know what’s normal and what looks different or suspicious.”