What is Microscopy in Polarized Light?

What is Microscopy in Polarized Light?

Polarized Light Microscopy is characterized by the use of light waves vibrating in the same direction, which are then deflected while crossing the object being examined. Depending on the characteristics of the object, the deflection causes the light to split into its component colours. Knowing how to interpret the colours and patterns that you see can give you important insights.

In this way, examining hair using the Polarized Light Microscope represents a useful diagnostic approach for trichologists, because it can provide us with extensive information on the quality and structure of the hair, the stage of the hair cycle, as well as evidence of common conditions and external influences on the hair. Knowing this information helps us to determine optimal treatment or management for the client, as well as measuring progress over time.


Using Microscopy in Polarized Light to assess hair we can assess parameters such as:
        • Bulb diameter
        • Follicular depth
        • Sheath length and health status
        • Hair viability index
        • Bulb deformation
        • And more...

Using this information we can make calculations regarding the hair cycle, such as the percentage ratio of anagen/catagen/telogen, and therefore presence or absence of active effluvium. We can assess for the presence of common pathological conditions, understand environmental damage sustained to the hair through external influences, such as hair treatments and styling, as well as infer possible secondary impacts on the hair from changes to the physical or mental health of the client.


The Polarized Light Microscope represents an incredibly powerful and underutilized tool for the serious trichologist.
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