It is a non-invasive technique where an capilloscope which can magnify an image and capture it on an video screen is used. With newer advances the magnifying lens of the capilloscope can be changed and a desired magnification of 10X, 50X, 100X and up to 200X can be used. Besides the image can also be altered for analyzing a dry, oil skin. The density of hairs, diameter etc can be measured. The magnification enhances the images of scalp and hair, and detects the hair shaft in the follicle. All digital images can be stored for further assessment. The Trichologist needs to be trained to assess the image and correlating it with the clinical problem.
An image of normal hair & scalp
As against high diversity in hair diameters in Androgenic alopecia
In the above image one can see varying thicknesses of hair and stunted hair length with no growth seen at all from some hair roots.
Capilloscopy is useful for the differential diagnosis between scarring and non-scarring alopecia though final diagnosis depends upon skin biopsy,
Above image shows active hair roots in Alopecia areata. One can identify in the follicular openings of alopecia areata at the periphery of the patch exclamation hairs can be seen. In alopecia areata and AGA peripilar dots may be present.
In Trichotillomania (Hair pulling disorder) broken hairs with serrated tips can be seen typically the exclamation hairs are absent on the image.
Thus it becomes a very important primary tool to diagnose various hairs and scalp problems.