I’ve been meaning to do this for a while, but I’ve finally collected together all the tips I’ve found so far. There’s a mixture of tips for short and long hair pullers, in no particular order. There’s a lot here, but please read through them, and I hope some of them work for you. If you can think of any tips to add, submit them here:
If you use tweezers to pull, get rid of them. No excuses or arguments, even if you use them for something else. If you pluck from somewhere other than your Trich area, switch to another method of hair removal.
Think about situations where you pull most, and avoid them wherever possible. This might be watching TV, reading or sitting at your computer. If you can’t avoid it, find something to occupy your hands. If you pull more when you’re alone, try watching a movie with friends, studying in the library, or reading in the park.
Think about any other triggers you have. If you pull your eyelashes more when wearing mascara, stop wearing it. If you pull from your scalp more when your hair is loose, keep it tied up. If you find that spending time handling your hair is a trigger, avoid complicated hairstyles.
Take up hobbies that keep your hands busy. Many people find they pull more when they’re sitting in front of the TV and their hands are free to wander. Try sewing, knitting, origami, or anything you enjoy that needs two hands.
Think about what you eat. Trich is often closely related to your mood and can be triggered by depression, anxiety and stress. Eating a healthy diet will help to improve your mood and therefore make it a little easier to avoid pulling. I’ll be posting more about food soon.
Exercise regularly. Exercise releases endorphins which make you feel good, boosting your mood and helping to relieve stress and anxiety. Try to choose something you’ll really enjoy as you’ll be more likely to keep it up. Jogging, walking, team sports, climbing, swimming - anything as long as it gets you moving and increases your heart rate. Try to do something for 30 minutes 3 times a week. As well as boosting your mood, you’ll probably find that you can’t pull while you’re doing it. Ever tried pulling hair out while running?
You can’t always avoid situations where your hands are free to pull. Everyone has school or work, and if you sit at a desk for hours it can be hard to avoid. Carry something with you for your free hand to play with - try elastic bands, beads, a charm bracelet, stress ball or a tangle toy.
Keep busy. Take up hobbies, see friends, work and play hard, and don’t allow yourself to be bored.
Try wearing nail varnish. Putting it on keeps your hands busy, and I find that I won’t pull while it’s wet. Sometimes it helps me not to pull when it’s dry because I don’t want to ruin it by picking.
Cover your hair. If you’re really driving yourself crazy, try pulling a thick hairband down over your brows or a hat/scarf over your hair so it’s in the way. This doesn’t always work because you can just take it off, but the extra obstacle should make you stop and think about what you’re doing so it does help a little.
Moisturiser on eyebrows or conditioner in your hair. This makes the hairs harder to grip and pull. Moisturiser on your eyebrows can also repair some of the damage to the skin from digging at the shorter hairs. Just don’t get it in your eyes, ouch.
Wet hair. Again, this can make it harder to grip.
Cut down on caffeine. The extra energy from caffeine can be a trigger, you might find it makes your hands a bit restless.
Cut down on alcohol. Being drunk or hungover isn’t going to help. Alcohol is a depressant, and low mood is a trigger.
Get plenty of sleep. We all feel better after a good night’s sleep, and being tired can be a trigger. Getting plenty of sleep can also help with stress. If you’re having trouble sleeping, try cutting down caffeine during the day, drinking chamomile tea, warm baths, using lavender oil on pillows, and herbal remedies or sleeping tablets. Try to develop a bedtime routine to help you relax. Switch off the tv and computer an hour before you go to bed.
Wear gloves. They get in the way, and having to take them off to pull should make you stop and think about what you’re doing.
When you’re trying to stop, set goals and reward yourself for achieving them. It doesn’t have to cost money to reward yourself, so if you’re broke, anything you will want or enjoy will do.
If quitting seems too daunting, try a small goal like not pulling for just one day. Achieving it will help boost your confidence and prove to yourself that you CAN do it. Start small and build it up.
Fingernails. Some people find long or fake nails get in the way and stop them pulling. Others find that keeping them short makes it harder to grip hairs. See what works for you. Fake nails can also help stop you biting your nails if you do this too.
Try hairspray or gel in your hair in a pretty style. It can be harder to get hold of a single strand when it’s stiff or clumped together. Styling can also help you hide bald spots. (NOTE: if spending time touching or styling your hair is a trigger for you, this one isn’t for you)
Wear bandannas, flowers, hairbands or hats. These can get in the way of pulling, cover up bald spots and make you feel prettier.
Try itching or patting when you feel the urge to pull.
Some scalp pullers find that it helps to braid hair when they feel the urge to pull it out.
Band-aids or plasters. Try sticking these over both your thumbs, to stop you being able to grip short hairs.
Some people find hypnosis helpful. There are sessions available to buy and download from some websites which are specifically aimed at skin picking, nail biting and hair pulling.
If you find yourself obsessing over other people’s hair, avoid things like glossy magazines. Looking at the perfectly groomed models isn’t going to make you feel any better.
Stop comparing your hair to other people. Think of something you like about your hair. Is it curly, straight, long, short, shiny, a cool style, really manageable, frizz-free or a gorgeous colour? Once you’ve thought of something you like, remind yourself every day.
Try thinking about what you like about your body, instead of focussing on problem areas. You may have a bald patch right now, but you also have a great figure/smile/bum. Remind yourself of this when you feel down about your hair.
When you’re going pull-free, don’t inspect your scalp/brows/lashes every day. This is like being on a diet and getting on the scales every day to see if you’ve lost weight. It takes time for the hair to grow back, so try to just check once a week.
If possible, don’t try to go pull-free at a stressful time, like during exams or when moving house. It’s a much harder time to quit, so you’re more likely to slip up and experience all the negative feelings of failure and lower confidence that come with it. Instead, concentrate on reducing pulling during this time, as it’s much more achievable, and try to quit completely when things have calmed down.
Try blogging. Some people find that telling the (online) world how they get on every day can help stop them pulling. The thought of telling everyone you slipped up today just might be enough to stop you if you’re on the edge. Having a place to talk about your feelings can really help, and it can help you keep track of your progress. Your blogs followers can be a great source of support too. The important thing is to be truthful.
I’m still touching my eyebrows A LOT, but stopping just short of actually pulling. I’m finding it so hard to leave them alone completely. But 2 days without actually pulling out a hair is a pretty good start, so I’m happy.
Todays little tricks:
Put loads of moisturiser on my eyebrows. Makes the hairs slippery so I can’t grip them with my short fingernails, and should also repair the skin damage and dryness from picking constantly.
Keeping my hands busy. I spent a good couple of hours tidying up today, and it was so much easier not to pull than when I’m sitting at my laptop or reading.
Food. I’ve been making a real effort to eat healthily since I got ill last month, and I’ve noticed a huge difference in my mood, which makes a difference to my Trich. Like many Trichsters, I pull more when I’m stressed out or fed up, so eating well is really helpful.
I’m working on a list of things that people have said they find helpful. Everyone has different tricks that work for them so I’ll list all the ones I’ve heard of here. I’ll try to get this online tonight or tomorrow