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Trichotillomania: tips for hair regrowth

According to research, between 0.5–2% of people suffer from Trichotillomania [1], a mental disorder that can have big implications on your everyday life.

Trichotillomania is mainly associated with the repetitive pulling of hair, which can lead to significant hair loss.

If you suffer from Trichotillomania and want to know how you can regrow your hair safely and effectively, keep on reading.

What is Trichotillomania?

Trichotillomania is a mental condition that makes people incessantly pull out their hair. Many younger patients who suffer from this condition tend to focus their hair pulling on the scalp. 

However, patients may start to also pull hair from their eyebrows, eyelashes, or other parts of their body where hair grows.

As you can imagine, when you’re constantly pulling out your hair, this can really damage the hair follicles over time and cause hair loss.

What are the symptoms of Trichotillomania?

Like many mental conditions, everyone will experience Trichotillomania in a different way. But, the most common symptoms of the condition include:

  • Repeatedly pulling out hair from your scalp and body
  • Breaking off pieces of your own hair
  • Feeling a sense of relief after you’ve pulled hair
  • Eating your hair after you’ve pulled it out

Trichotillomania can be a condition that really affects the daily lives of people who suffer from it. It can cause a deterioration in mental health and bring on feelings of social anxiety. Physically it can lead to itching, tingling, bald spots, skin irritation and thinning hair.

Causes of Trichotillomania

Experts have been aware of Trichotillomania since the 19th century however, there has been very little research conducted into its causes, side effects, and impact on sufferers’ lives.

Often, Trichotillomania is grouped in with OCD, but they have much less in common than people have long thought. Researchers are currently unaware of the main reason why Trichotillomania occurs, with many experts torn on whether it’s predominantly spurred on by genetics or environmental factors.

One study found that hair pulling and Trichotillomania are more common when relatives also suffer from the condition [2]. However, due to the lack of research on the subject, it’s hard to form a strong opinion.

Most people develop Trichotillomania when they are aged between 10 and 13 [1] and it’s commonly used as a coping mechanism for feelings of stress or anxiety. Many people do it without realising, only becoming aware of what they’ve done after they’ve already started pulling hair.

Many women who suffer from Trichotillomania note that they have an increased urge to pull out their hair during their menstrual cycle when their hormones change which can impact the symptoms of Trichotillomania [3]. Other studies have found that in some cases, female Trichotillomania can be brought on by hormonal changes during pregnancy [4].

Can you stop Trichotillomania?

Trichotillomania is a mental condition, so it’s often not something that someone can simply stop. It can take time, and a lot of effort, to reverse the habit.

If you’re suffering from Trichotillomania, our advice is to visit your GP who will be able to provide you with some help. The sooner you’re able to get treatment for your condition, the less long-term damage it will cause.

Tips for hair growth if you have Trichotillomania

If you have noticed that you’ve started to lose hair as a result of your Trichotillomania, there are a few things that you can do to encourage hair growth.

Adopt a good daily routine

Trichotillomania can be caused by stress and anxiety, so it’s important to prevent these feelings wherever possible. One of the easiest ways you can do this is by adopting a good daily routine that can ease your feelings of distress – stopping you from turning to hair pulling.

Whether you need to wake up earlier to have more ‘me time’ in the morning or need to incorporate daily walks or wellness activities to settle your mind, anything that slows you down will work wonders for your mental health.

Start taking daily supplements

To get your hair growing back long and strong, there are a variety of different supplements that you can take.

Skin and hair supplements – especially those that contain Biotin – can help improve growth and strengthen the hair from the root.

Use essential oils

Essential oils, like lavender oil, are used by many people as it supposedly helps to stimulate hair growth. Applying a small amount of oil to the areas where you experience hair loss daily can help you on your journey to regrow your hair.

Get involved with activities that require your hands

If your hands are busy, you won’t be as tempted to pull at your hair and cause further hair loss. Whether you use fidget spinners or just get involved in sport, anything that keeps you moving and your focus away from hair pulling will help your hair to keep growing.

Consider Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)

This is a type of therapy that is largely focused on your feelings and behaviours. It will help you to address the situations where you feel the urge to pull your hair and learn how you can distract yourself by doing something else.

There is also habit reversal training (HRT), an effective type of therapy [5] that works similar to CBT in identifying and replacing triggers of Trichotillomania.

Hair loss treatments

You may also consider taking hair loss treatments. For men, some of the most popular include Finasteride and Dutasteride. Or there is also Minoxidil (Rogaine) which both men and women can take.

Treatments like these are used to promote hair growth, and won’t be effective for people who continually pull their hair.

Reverse the hair loss caused by Trichotillomania

If you’ve managed to stop pulling your hair, but are still concerned about the hair loss that you’ve experienced, one of the most effective ways to improve your hairline and scalp is by getting a hair transplant.

At Wimpole Clinic, we specialise in FUE (Follicular Unit Extraction) transplants and FUT (Follicular Unit Transplantations) which are ideal for people who have excessively pulled at the hair on the scalps.

We also offer beard transplants and eyebrow transplants if these are the areas that you normally pull.

If you’d like to discuss more of the options available to you, schedule a no-obligation consultation call with one of our experts today.

Trichotillomania: tips for hair regrowth, Wimpole Clinic

References

[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5328413/ 

[2] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24415254/ 

[3] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5985958/ 

[4] https://www.ijtrichology.com/article.asp?issn=0974-7753;year=2013;volume=5;issue=4;spage=196;epage=198;aulast=Thakur;type=3 

[5] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4143797/

The Wimpole Clinic offers FUE Hair, Beard & Eyebrow Transplants & Trichology.
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