Ynohtna “Tona” Tureaud always goes to the “root” of the problem when her clients complain of dry, itchy scalps and thinning hair.

Tureaud is a trichologist, a specialist who studies and treats disorders of the hair and scalp, and owns the Anointed Hands Trichology Center for Hair Loss on John Leblanc Boulevard in Sorrento.

Years of chemical damage and improper grooming combined with stress, hormone changes and even disease can turn a person’s healthy head of hair to an itchy, inflamed mess, Tureaud said.

Left untreated, these problems can lead to hair loss, a “very sensitive issue,” Tureaud said.

The problem is more common than people think.

Alopecia — the medical term for hair loss — affects more than 80 million people in the U.S. alone, according to the American Academy of Dermatology.

Tureaud urges people to visit to a trained professional to discover what may be causing hair problems. Usually, the cause of hair and scalp problems lie deeper than the bottles and tubes of hair products used in the bathroom.

“Don’t focus just on the appearance of your hair,” Tureaud said. “Of course, we all want our hair to look nice. It’s nice to put on nice clothes, but if our health is not together, then we’re really not together. That’s the same way I feel about the hair and scalp. If the scalp is not healthy, the hair is not healthy.”

Tureaud, 35, is a native of Darrow, and earned her cosmetology and barber licenses 17 years ago.

As a hair stylist, she noticed many of her clients came to her with damaged hair and poor grooming habits.

She was determined to help raise awareness about hair and scalp disorders and 5 years ago, Tureaud earned her master trichology certification from the National Trichology Training Institute in Stockbridge, Georgia, and opened her own trichology center in Sorrento, she said.

Tureaud is also certified to practice trichology through the American Medical Certification Association and helps burn victims, cancer patients and children suffering from hair loss.

Tureaud performs private consultations with clients, using microscopic analysis to examine the hair and scalp close up. She inquires about medical history, life stresses and encourages clients to bring in all the hair and scalp products they use to get a background of the client’s hair regimen.

Scalp exfoliation and laser hair treatments could follow, and Tureaud also fits custom wigs for those with extreme hair loss.

Linda George was a faithful hair client of Tureaud’s for many years until George moved from Prairieville to Houma.

When George’s hair started falling out in the shower after years of relaxing her own hair, George knew she had to return to Tureaud for professional care.

“Oh, Lord, please don’t let me go bald,” George said she remembered saying.

Tureaud gave George hair and scalp detox treatments, and now George is back to being satisfied with her hair.

“She knew what I needed for my hair,” George said.

Although Tureaud still offers limited hair salon services, she is more “focused on the awareness” of alopecia and other hair and scalp disorders.

Tureaud offers free educational alopecia seminars at St. Elizabeth Hospital and through the Ascension Parish Library.

To contact Tureaud, visit her website at www.AHTCforHairLoss.com or email her at AskTheTrichologist@yahoo.com.