Hair Restoration Blog

Tips for Dealing with Your Trichotillomania
October 03 2019

Tips for Dealing with Your Trichotillomania

The first week of October is Trichotillomania Awareness Week, and it's the perfect time to talk about hair loss. When you experience hair loss, you might wonder if it's normal. The good news: most of the time it is. Most people lose between 50-100 hairs a day, but you may not notice it because new hair quickly grows in to replace it. But if that rate increases or the new growth becomes stalled, it may be time to take action.

Identifying the Cause

When you begin to feel like you're losing too much hair, your doctor can help confirm the underlying issue. You can also come to our clinic, New Look Institute, where we also help determine the cause of your hair loss. After the cause is determined, our clinic is ready to step in to help you find an effective hair replacement solution.

Trichotillomania & Hair Loss

In about 2% of the population, hair loss is caused by a nervous condition called Trichotillomania. It is a stress condition now believed to fall under the Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) umbrella and causes a person to twist, pull, or chew their hair.

Co-Existing Behaviors

Trichotillomania is considered a body-focused repetitive behavior and can co-exist with other behaviors, such as biting nails, cracking knuckles, and scratching or picking at skin or lips. The longer this habit continues, the more it can lead to scarring, which hinders new hair growth. Many people with Trichotillomania can also experience depression, anxiety, OCD, or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Possible Causes

While there is no known cause of Trichotillomania, many doctors and researchers think that there is either a brain chemical imbalance, genetic or environmental factors, or stress-related trauma involved. More research needs to be done to understand the condition fully, but it is helpful to identify the most likely root cause so that counseling or other treatments can help stop the Trichotillomania.

Tips for Reducing Hair Pulling

Counselors can help you identify triggers, understand urges, and help reverse your habits. They may also prescribe medicine. But you can also do some of these things on your own. So with this week being Trichotillomania Awareness Week, we thought we'd offer some tips to reduce your hair-pulling that have worked for others.

  • Fidget or Sensory Toys: some people benefit from fidget toys, spinners, finger covers, wacky bracelets, textured sensory gadgets, etc. to keep their hands busy
  • Wear Coverage: gloves, Bandaids, or even ankle weights on your wrists are all things that can help deter your hair pulling
  • Protect the Hair: wearing a hat, wetting down or using a leave-in conditioner on the roots to make hair slippery, or wearing a bandana or shower cap to bed are all ways to keep your hair off-limits
  • Habit Awareness: using a habit awareness bracelet, rubber band on your wrist, or other reminders will help you catch yourself in the act and stop the behavior
  • Replace the Sensation: instead of pulling your hair, try getting a scalp massage, washing your hair, brushing it, or creating sensations on your scalp or other areas that need it
  • Create a New Habit: taking up a new habit can give your mind - and your hands - something to do
  • Ease the Anxiety: if you need to soothe your anxiety and the sensation to pull is overwhelming, pet an animal, examine the hair that falls out naturally in your sink or brush, play with a doll's hair or a frayed blanket, pull the bristles out of paintbrush, etc.
  • Talk to Yourself: tell yourself 'stop' every time you go to pull, place sticky notes that say 'no' where you'll see them, or look in the mirror and repeat phrases that remind you that your hair is beautiful and belongs on your head
  • Find Support: whether friends, family, or a support group, being able to talk about it with others and find support is truly helpful

Try to determine what triggers your desire to hair pull and keep a list of ideas like the ones listed above to remind yourself that you are in control, not your urges. Try them all to figure out what works best for you, and don't worry about how silly you might look or feel.

Hair Replacement Help

If you are frustrated with your hair loss and want more than just tips, our studio is here to help. One of the most important things to remember is that there is hope. Our studio believes that everyone deserves the hope of having a full head of hair. When you come to New Look Institute, you'll first meet with one of our hair loss specialists for a private, one-on-one consultation. We can help you determine the cause of your hair loss and then recommend the best way to address it. We offer safe, effective hair loss treatments for both men and women. If other methods aren't going as well or as fast as you'd like, give us a call for a free consultation.