50 Ways to Stop Pulling Your Hair
- © Trichotillomania Learning Center, Inc. 2010. All Rights Reserved
Originally published on the TLCTRICHSUPPORT email group.
As many of you know I am over 9 weeks pull free. I started to come up with a list of ideas on how to stop pulling your hair for a article im writing. I am going to list them below.
50 ways to stop pulling your hair
* = I have tried these methods. ** = These tips have helped me the most.
- Wear a bandana to bed. *
- Make a sticker chart. Everyday that you go without pulling add a sticker. Hang this sticker chart in a room where you pull the most.**
- Reward yourself after several days (or hours) of being pull free.*
- Be patient with yourself.*
- Join a support group.*
- Talk to another person with Trichotillomania.*
- Wet down your hair. This will make it really hard to pull out your hair since it will be slippery.*
- Learn what your body needs instead of pulling. Is your body tired, hungry, sleepy, excited, etc? Then tell yourself out loud what you need and go do it.**
- Get a membership with TLC
- Stimulate your senses. Many of us that pull like the sensation that comes with it. Instead of pulling do other things to stimulate these such as washing your hair, brushing your lips on dental floss or string (if you rub the hair on your lips), and massaging your scalp.*
- Avoid caffeine right before bed. Often bed time is a time when a lot of people pull. By using caffeine you keep yourself up longer and it heightens anxiety.*
- Buy a fidget toy.*
- Find other things to do with your hands such as knitting, crocheting, or cross stitch. *
- Wear a hoodie to bed as a barrier to pulling. *
- Go see a psychologist that performs cognitive behavioral therapy
- Try hypnotherapy *
- Make small reasonable goals. Such as I will not pull for the next three hours. Then keep increasing your time.
- Look at your hair in the mirror everyday with your hands behind your back. Stare into the mirror until the anxiety to pull has lessened. This is called exposure therapy and it does work! **
- Look in the mirror every day to see how much its grown. Be proud of your hard work. **
- Brush your hair instead of pulling*
- Have a positive attitude**
- If you pull some hair do not beat yourself up about it, just try again.
- Use the saying “every hair belongs on my head” and repeat this over and over until the urge to pull ceases.*
- Make yourself busy, too much down time can be dangerous.*
- Help others, which in turn will help you.**
- Read everything you can on the internet about trichotillomania and the treatment plans to deal with it.*
- Watch shows and documentaries about trichotillomania to learn new techniques.*
- Wear perfume on your hands so that you will realize when your hand is going up to pull out your hair.
- Name the hairs you want to pull out. It sounds silly but for some it works.
- Spend less time in the areas of your house that you pull in.*
- Keep a journal of your feelings.*
- Find a hair that is laying around your house and stare at it daily. For many people the sight of hair can trigger hair pulling. By staring at a piece of hair everyday you are exposing yourself to the anxiety that follows. This will eventually cause the anxiety to lessen.*
- Also read textbooks about the anatomy of hair. This does the same thing as #32
- Play with silly putty *
- Take a long bath to ease the anxiety.**
- Wear a wig the entire day, until you go to bed. Then put on a bandana. ( Only use this the first two weeks or so, then trust yourself enough to take it off)*
- Take good care of your hair. Appreciating the hair you have will provide you with the courage you need to grow more. This means you should brush your hair daily, wash it at least once a day if possible, and respect that it belongs on your head.*
- Put your tweezers in a cabinet until you need them for grooming, not Trichotillomania. If you use tweezers a lot you may need to throw them out and only buy new ones when you have your Trichotillomania under control.*
- Imagine your life without Trichotillomania and with hair.**
- Place lotion or gel on your hands so it’s hard to grasp the hair you want to pull.
- Place notes that say “NO” or inspirational sayings about stopping hair pulling in places where you normally pull.
- Wear a rubber band around your wrist to snap every time you want to pull.
- Wear a bead bracelet to fidget with.
- Lift weights. Your arms will be too tired to want to pull.
- Pet an animal. Sometimes just running your hands through a pet’s fur can stimulate the same sensation that you need in order to ease anxiety.*
- Take pictures of your bald spots and post them where you usually pull. When seeing these pictures you will not want to pull since bald spots are frightening.
- Tell your friends and family to tell you to stop if they see you pulling. *
- Spread the word about Trichotillomania. Sometimes telling other people about our condition helps us want to change it. *
- Last but not least learn to love yourself. Only then can you start to heal. **
Let’s talk about Alopecia..
Alopecia is the medical term for hair loss. Alopecia is a umbrella which includes over 75 or more categories of hair loss for men, women and children of all ethnicities. Some catergories may include hair breakage, hair thinning, patchy areas, baldness, marginal Alopecia, banded Alopecia and trichotillomania. In addition, there are scalp related conditions which causes discomfort to many people like, dry scalp, itchy scalp, scalp lesions, cysts, bacterial and fungal infections. Many people have suffered alopecia from chemical relaxers, Brazilian hair smoothing systems, excessive heat, coloring and tight braids. Currently, there is not a cure for permanent alopecia but there is a cure for temporary alopecia. Here are some commonly asked questions and answers of the hair disease.
Alopecia areata is a disease that affects the hair follicles, which are part of the skin from which hairs grow. In most cases, hair falls out in small, round patches about the size of a quarter. Many people with the disease get only a few bare patches. Some people may lose more hair. Rarely, the disease causes total loss of hair on the head or complete loss of hair on the head, face, and body.
Anyone can have alopecia areata. It often begins in childhood. There is a slightly increased risk of having the disease if you have a close family member with the disease.
Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disease. Normally the immune system protects the body against infection and disease. In an autoimmune disease, the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks some part of your own body. In alopecia areata, the immune system attacks the hair follicles.
The cause is not known. Scientists think that a person’s genes may play a role. For people whose genes put them at risk for the disease, some type of trigger starts the attack on the hair follicles. The triggers may be a virus or something in the person’s environment.
There is every chance that your hair will grow back, but it may fall out again. No one can tell you when it might fall out or grow back. You may lose more hair, or your hair loss may stop. The hair you have lost may or may not grow back. Even a person who has lost all of his hair may grow all of his hair back. The disease varies from person to person.
There is no cure for alopecia areata. There are no drugs approved to treat it. Doctors may use medicines approved for other diseases to help hair grow back. Talk to your doctor about the treatment that is best for you.
The following are some treatments for alopecia areata. They may help hair grow back, but none of them prevent new patches of hair loss or cure the disease.
Corticosteroids are drugs that reduce swelling and pain. They also affect the immune system. Corticosteroids may be given in three ways for alopecia areata:
- Injected in the skin
- Swallowed as pills
- Rubbed on the skin as a cream or ointment.
Drugs that are rubbed on the skin as a cream or lotion include:
- Minoxidil (5%)
- Squaric acid dibutyl ester (SADBE) and diphenylcyclopropenone (DPCP).
Drugs that affect the immune system include:
In photochemotherapy, a person is given a drug called a psoralen, which is affected by light. The drug can be swallowed or rubbed on the skin. Once the drug is taken or applied, the area with hair loss is exposed to an ultraviolet light source. This combined treatment is called PUVA.
Some people with alopecia areata try other treatments. These alternatives include acupuncture, aroma therapy, evening primrose oil, zinc and vitamin supplements, and Chinese herbs. Because many alternative therapies have not been studied in clinical trials, they may or may not help hair grow back. In fact, some may cause more hair loss. Talk with your doctor before you try alternative therapies.
Alopecia areata does not make you feel pain and does not make you feel sick. You can’t give it to others. People who have the disease are, for the most part, healthy in other ways. Alopecia areata will not shorten your life, and it should not affect activities such as going to school, working, marrying, raising a family, playing sports, and exercising.
Living with hair loss can be hard. There are many things you can do to cope with the effects of this disease, including:
- Learning as much as you can about the disease.
- Talking with others who are dealing with the disease.
- Learning to value yourself for who you are, not for how much hair you have or don’t have.
- Talking with a counselor, if necessary, to help build a positive self-image.
Here are some things you can use to reduce the physical dangers or discomforts of lost hair:
- Use sunscreens for the scalp, face, and all exposed skin.
- Wear eyeglasses (or sunglasses) to protect eyes from sun, and from dust and debris, when eyebrows or eyelashes are missing.
- Wear wigs, caps, or scarves to protect the scalp from the sun and keep the head warm.
- Apply antibiotic ointment inside the nostrils to help keep germs out of the nose when nostril hair is missing.
Here are some things you can do to reduce the disease’s effects on your looks:
- Try wearing a wig, hairpiece, scarf, or cap.
- Use a hair-colored powder, cream, or crayon applied to the scalp for small patches of hair loss to make the hair loss less obvious.
- Use an eyebrow pencil to mask missing eyebrows.
Researchers are seeking a better understanding of the disease. Scientists are studying:
- Hair follicle development
- Immune treatments
- Stem cells in the skin