Trichotillomania (TTM) is a disorder characterized by the compulsive pulling out of one's hair - brows, lashes, and other body hair - to the point that it is noticeable and causing significant distress or impairment. It affects up 5 million in the US, begins in childhood, and is more common in females. It can be brought on by low self-esteem, stress, anxiety, depression, or otherwise unresolved conflict. While it is relatively common, it is very upsetting to the person who suffers from this disorder, as well as those who love and care for that person. TTM results in variable patterns of hair loss and can range from thin, unnoticeable areas of hair loss to total baldness. Other physical effects can be attributed to TTM such as damage to the tissue, scarring, and infections.
Many people who suffer from TTM are able to manage the disorder with psychotherapy, hypnosis, meditation, psychotherapy and medications. However, due to shame and embarrassment, individuals not only try to cover up the effects of TTM, but may avoid activities and social situations which may lead them to feel vulnerable to the point of affecting their quality of life.
Clients come to see me at The Skin Medic for services to help conceal the damage to brows, lash line and scalp. Many of them have lost their hair due to pulling and, although under treatment they can effectively manage the disorder, the hair often times does not return.
For these clients suffering from TTM, I provide microblading and shading of the eyebrows to give the appearance of fuller brows with natural looking 'hairs.' For those who have permanently lost their eyelashes, I perform lash enhancement permanent eyeliner techniques to give the illusion of a full lash line. And for those who have lost hair on their scalp, I offer scalp micropigmentation services.
While these services are not a treatment for TTM, they can assist the client while she or he is under the care of a physician or therapist, and many find that having permanent cosmetics services gives them the self-confidence to lead a more normal lifestyle.
If you or someone you love suffers from TTM, please call The Skin Medic at 609-422-7544 for a free consultation. In the meantime, check out the resources available. There are many support groups dedicated to helping those who have TTM. Your primary care physician, dermatologist or therapist will also have additional resources.
Toll-free: 1-800-950-6264 (Helpline)