One of the first thoughts you’ll have after reading about Dr. Anontella Tosti’s background is, “but when did she sleep?” After all, you don’t get a hair disorder named after you—it’s “Tosti alopecia” in case you were wondering—without putting in a lot of hard work.

As a world-renowned expert in hair disorders, a professor of clinical dermatology at the University of Miami, the author of over 600 scientific publications, and a Keeps medical advisor, she’s clearly very busy. So we’re lucky she took the time to sit down with us and chat a little bit about her experience.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your educational background:

I am now the Fredric Brandt Endowed Professor of Dermatology at the University of Miami. I did my medical school and training in Dermatology in Bologna, Italy, which is the oldest university in the world and I did my academic career in Bologna where I was full Professor of Dermatology before moving to Miami in 2010.

How did you get interested in hair loss?

I became interested in hair biology when I was very young, during high school, as I was so fortunate to meet a pioneer on the study of the hair follicle, Dr. William Montagna, who was a family friend. When I became a dermatologist, I studied hair disorders by myself and I started a clinic dedicated to hair disorders at the University of Bologna in 1982, the very first hair clinic in the world— as there were very few people interested in hair at that time.

I was among the founders of the European Hair Research Society (EHRS) in 1989, the president of the EHRS, and I’m now secretary and treasurer of the American Hair Research Society (AHRS) and of the World Trichoscopy Society. In addition, I’ve authored more than 600 peer-reviewed papers and am the editor or co-editor of 30 books and the editor in chief of Skin Appendage Disorders, a medical journal dedicated to hair and other skin appendages ( nails and glands).

What’s your favorite hair loss fact?

Most recently, it’s the news that researcher from South Korea performed successful allogenic hair follicle transplantation in mice. They treated the donor mice with UVB radiation to eliminate dendritic cells and prevent transplant rejection. This can be the first step forward allogenic (which simply means you take the hair from a donor) hair transplantation in humans.

What’s the most common question you get from your patients?

“Will I ever get my hair back?”

How do you answer that?

It depends on the diagnosis. If it’s male pattern hair loss, I explain that they will improve with treatment, but they will not get back all the hair they’ve lost. That’s why it’s so important to start treatment as soon as possible.

On that note, what advice would you give someone who’s starting to notice hair loss?

Don’t wait! Most treatments are effective earlier on and you’ll have the best results the sooner you start to treat your hair loss.