The words hope and clinical don’t commonly go together, but for Melbourne’s leading dermatology and hair and scalp clinic, reinforcing a confidence in their patients starts with the latest technology and ends with the utmost care and concern, discovers Cameron Pine.
Sinclair Clinic is an unusual Dermatology clinic for a number of reasons – unlike the stark ambiance of many cosmetic or skin and hair related clinics, just like the many colours and ages of their patients, the clinic is designed to celebrate diversity and coach individuals through a range of 360 degree options for scalp, skin and hair health, including a state of the art Kérastase Scalp Salon. We sat down with Rodney Sinclair and went on a journey just as a client would for an insight into a Sinclair clinic experience.
“Firstly we have integrated a hair salon into a clinic, not just as another way of accessing advice on hair loss but many people don’t know whether to go to a hair salon or doctor,” said Rodney Sinclair.
“Not only do GP’s often wrongly diagnose patients or tell them ‘hair loss is not a condition’ but understanding expectations and concerns is the first step to accurately treating a patient. Initially people come into see us and say they don’t want to go bald but their expectations shift once treated and they want it back as thick as it was,” he said.
Not only this but as Rodney explains, people are living longer, may be re-partnered and hair is an evolutionary sign of fertility – “losing hair at a young age is still seen as unattractive or makes one less desirable.”
Partnering with Kérastase, the clinic is as much about treating clients as it is about educating how hair grows and changing the perceptions of hair loss. Dealing with concerns that range from mild to severe, it all starts with a comprehensive hair and scalp service and ongoing care and recommendations. These are offered through Kérastase’s leading hair and scalp care collection – Densifique and Specifique.
Complete with Kérastase designed active ingredient Stemoxydine, Densifique stimulates dormant stem cells in hair follicles and imitates an optimum environment for growth and regeneration. Combining this leading stance in hair research since 1964 with the skills of Professor Rodney Sinclair and his fellow doctors and experts affords the Sinclair clinic a one of a kind status as a true haircare institute.
Set over three levels the Sinclair clinic also features a research laboratory which founded the creation of Minoxodil tablets. Another solution to hair loss instead of common finasteride use among men, Minoxodil is a patent exclusive to the Sinclair clinic and is combined with a number of other treatment options available at the clinic.
Not only is hair loss no longer a fast track to baldness, it’s as much about education around the number of options available to treat it which is why the Sinclair clinic adopts a completely holistic approach.
Unlike prescription Finasteride which works by stopping the conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone in the prostate, Minoxodil is TGA approved and also available in pharmacies between $15 and $60 per month depending on the brand. Some treatments are better for females than men and vice versa but also educating patients on how hair grows is a huge part of the process.
“People are often unaware that hair grows in cycles and that hair PH of the scalp is different to everywhere else on the body. It’s about an integration of services and some patients can take up to 6 months to respond. The salon is there because ultimately we want patients leaving from every appointment looking better than when they came in – sometimes it’s as simple as how they style their hair,” he said.
For example, many patients combine a number of treatments at Sinclair clinic from transplantation to oral medication and onto programs such as Kérastase Densifique which Professor Sinclair recommends applying one vial per day for four months and then one 2-3 times a week as maintenance. There’s also micropigmentation and various camouflage techniques that every client is educated about over and above a one size fits all treatment program.
Professor Sinclair likens hair loss to a bucket of water to a leaky tap, ‘you can keep topping it up at the top but you will continue to lose it from the bottom,’ – treatments need to consider natural thinning combined with further hair loss. This is why every patient has a series of photographs on file – like a library of their hair journey from their first appointment right through their treatment journey.
The clinic also features a state of the art Vectra 3D imaging machine – worth more than half a million dollars it uses hundreds of cameras to diagnose all skin conditions over the entire skin surface making it also a true leader in melanoma detection.
“We are looking at working more closely with hairdressers because beyond the core business of cutting and styling hair there is often more referral required. Firstly, even if a patient has a referral from a doctor we encourage an assessment, and sometimes without a referral coming to the salon to understand more is all they may need to do,” Professor Sinclair said.
Not only do hairdressers misunderstand how to work with or diagnose hair loss, the approach in which to properly prescribe a solution for the client in more ways than one really must start with the scalp.
But the real heart comes in the process at Sinclair, from the gorgeous clinical nurse Kaye – often her job is to comfort and talk patients through their diagnosis and treatment, taking away the anxiety and making clients feel better. A small child was in on the day who suffers severe hair loss and for Kaye and Professor Sinclair it’s just as much about making her feel no different to anyone else as it is about the treatment.
Hair, help and hope – welcome to Sinclair.
For more information visit www.sinclairdermatology.com.au