CONSULTANT trichologist Mary Safo conducts a hair and scalp clinic in Castlebar providing specialist hair loss, scalp treatments and services to men, women and children in the west of Ireland, writes Tom Gillespie.
Ribí Trichology Clinic, at Thomas Street, offers patients the best available treatment for different hair and scalp conditions.
The aim is to provide personalised treatments taking into consideration individually diagnosed conditions followed by a non-surgical solution in the form of low level light laser therapy, electrotherapy treatments, trichological scalp treatments, medicines and hair replacement systems such as wigs and cranial prosthesis.
Mary, who has been in Mayo for 13 years, said patients also have the option of availing of a surgical solution in the form of hair transplant when needed.
She explained: "We offer surgical treatments to patients through our affiliation with one of the world’s leading award-winning hair transplant specialists.
"Patients have the choice of hair transplant surgery, Follicullar Unit Extraction (FUE) hair transplant, ARTAS robot assisted FUE, and strip Follicullar Unit Transplantation (FUT) hair transplant.
"At our hair loss and scalp clinic, we adopt a holistic approach when it comes to caring for the hair and scalp of our patients - holistic in the sense that we consider both the internal and external factors that could affect the growth, appearance and absolute best feel of the hair."
Mary added: "We empathise with all of our patients and do understand that hair is important and can affect day-to-day morale, self-confidence and also individual personalities, hence we assure them that we are part of their journey of hair loss and scalp regeneration until the point where they have their self-confidence back.
"From years of trichological experience, one can testify that if hair that is damaged by physical or chemical means, or hereditary scalp problems are excluded, poor hair in terms of its appearance and response to dressing reflects the internal function.
"Therefore, the quality of hair in deteriorating scalp and hair conditions is often the result of changes in the body when the metabolism is disturbed.
"Healthy hair also needs to be supported by a healthy lifestyle and diet. Based on this understanding, our clinic offers treatment for a wide range of serious hair and scalp conditions ranging from genetic and nutritional related hair loss, alopecia areata and scarring alopecia, to psoriasis, neurodermatitis and severe scaling and flaking of the scalp.
"However, treatments are also available for cosmetic damage such as very dry, damaged and overly-processed hair. We also cater for afro type scalp and hair conditions. During consultation we always take into account the patient’s medical history and diet – addressing underlying factors as well as the immediate appearance of your hair.
"We pride ourselves in the fact that most of our patients are happy with our successful treatment, which we are able to achieve through our wealth of experience, specialist training, thorough consultation, personalised treatments, frequent reviews and holistic approach."
Eight years ago Mary qualified with a masters in management from the Smurfit Business School, UCD Dublin.
She took up the story: "When I qualified it was during the recession and it was difficult to get a job. When I qualified, I qualified with a baby as well. I got a job but it was so stressful managing the baby and job that I decided to implement my thesis - developing a market plan for a small business like this - during my maternity leave.
"I started basically with retail and a salon selling mainly hair extensions and providing wig services to cancer patients but I realised the needs of people who were coming to me with hair loss issues was more than just giving them a wig.
"I was supplying them with just the wigs but they wanted to find the cause for it. I was also keen to know what was going on. Because of that I had to study further and then train to become a professional in this area. Now I am a registered and an associate member with the Institute of Trichologists in the UK."
Mary continued: "I am the only consultant trichologist in Mayo in the west of Ireland and the only one with the type of business model that Ribí Trichology Clinic has in the whole of Ireland.
“What I do is diagnose and offer solutions. The important thing is get to the bottom of the hair loss problem, find what is causing it, and then provide solutions as well."
People have been going to the Dublin, England and the North of Ireland for treatments but now they can avail of it here in Mayo.
At Mary’s wig clinic, which is HSE registered, medical card holders are covered, as are those with private insurance.
The Ribi Trichology Clinic is located at Thomas Street, Castlebar, and can be contacted on (094) 9303000 or (085) 1821414.
* Below, one Mayo mother tells her story to Tom Gillespie, about how she went from being suicidal to getting her life and her hair back
A SOUTH Mayo mother, driven almost to suicide because of hair loss due to extreme stress, has spoken publicly for the first time of how she got her life and hair back after six months' treatment by consultant trichologist Mary Safo.
The woman, in her 30s, told me of her plight after her marriage broke up and her son was diagnosed with autism.
She admitted: "I had a lot of stress in my life. I tried to commit suicide. I started losing hair, lots of hair, and I ended up in counselling as I didn’t know what to do. It is not nice for a woman to lose hair. Then somebody told me about Mary."
She arrived at Mary's without an appointment but she wasn’t there. Mary rang her and she said she wasn't coming back. But she did.
"Mary took my hand and said, ‘I am going to make sure you are all right. I am going to fix you’. She said it was going to be ok. It wasn't a permanent thing. It was stress related.
"I never knew you could lose hair over stress. Mary made me a hair replacement system to cover it up and now I have my own hair back. People need to know that Mary exists. Not only did she diagnose it, she treated it and she fixed it.
"I was worried I was going to go bald. But within a month it started growing back. It has all come back as it was before and that is because of Mary."
She added: "Mary gave me my life back. I did not want to leave the house it got so bad.
"I didn't tell anyone of my hair loss. I was covering it up, going out of the house with hats on.
"Out of everything that happened, with my marriage and my son, this nearly finished me. I didn’t want to be here any more, that was how bad it was.
"For me to go to Dublin it would have cost me thousands but Mary made it so affordable. I don’t know where I would be if I didn’t meet Mary. I will be indebted to her for the rest of my life.
"The amount of women who are going through a similar problem is unbelievable. There are girls a lot younger than I am that don’t want to deal with it.
"After six months all my hair is my own. It is incredible. This is what Mary done for me and that is why I want to tell my story. I never thought I would get all my hair back.