Please wait

John Bell Croyden Centre


CALL US: 020 7224 4640

Your Choices



Trichotillomania (Hair Pulling)

Trichotillomania is the term used to describe the habitual pulling and tugging of hair. Constant pulling and tugging of the hair like this leads to hair being pulled out of the scalp and if the habit is severe, large bald patches can appear. Trichotillomania doesn't only result in loss of scalp hair; some people also pull facial and body hair out in the same way.

When the hair is pulled out of the scalp during trichotillomania it is plucked directly from the hair follicle, sometimes trichotillomania also results in the hair staying in the scalp but it gets broken off close to scalp level. Trichotillomania shows as a patchy hair loss problem but the patches arenít usually completely smooth as in alopecia areata for example. Usually stubble is visible where the hairs havenít quite been pulled cleanly out of the hair follicle, as mentioned above, rows of broken hairs are commonly found with trichotillomania.

The patches of scalp where the results of trichotillomania (hair pulling) appear usually also have open sores visible, this is due to the trichotillomania sufferer accidentally, or sometimes purposefully, scratching their scalp with their finger nails during the pulling process.

Where Do The Effects of Trichotillomania Show The Most?

The results of trichotillomania are usually noticed in hidden areas of the scalp as trichotillomania sufferers usually try to keep the results of trichotillomania out of sight as much as possible. The bald patches are therefore usually found around the nape area or around the ears, generally pretty well hidden under healthy hair growth. However, in severe cases, the results of trichotillomania can appear visibly on top of the scalp or near the face along the hair line.

Is Trichotillomania a Hair Problem or Not?

Trichotillomania (hair pulling) isnít really a hair disorder as such, there is nothing wrong with the hair itself and there is no underlying dermatological cause to this type of hair loss and trichotillomania isnít caused by any systemic disease. It is purely an anxiety linked condition; it is a bad habit like biting your nails for example. Trichotillomania usually starts during or following a really stressful and emotional time. The act of pulling the hair out is thought of as a release from tension by trichotillomania sufferers, itís just as if the stress goes away once some hair is pulled out.

Can Plucked Hair Re-grow?

With most cases of trichotillomania, once the habit has been broken the hair re-grows completely. In some cases, if trichotillomania drags on for a really long time the hair follicles can be permanently damaged, leaving permanent bald patches on the scalp. Sometimes scarring can also develop on the scalp with trichotillomania; this is due to finger nails constantly scratching the scalp as a result of the trichotillomania. Any scar tissue on the scalp will destroy hair follicles.

Help! I have Trichotillomania, What Do I Do?

If you suffer with trichotillomia, the first step is to visit a registered trichologist (such as Vanessa Bailey at The Hair Clinic) who will closely check your scalp for any signs of hair follicle damage so that you are fully aware of what your chances are of recovering the hair that was lost due to trichotillomania. Most of the time no hair follicle damage occurs with trichotillomania (hair pulling), if there are signs of damage this will be discussed with you.

The best course of treatment for trichotillomania is some form of therapy to help with underlying anxiety and stress. Most people who suffer with trichotillomania consult therapists or counsellors to get to the bottom of what's really causing trichotillomania, but the determination to break the habit has to be there on your part, the trichotillomania sufferer, for the treatment to be successful.

The Hair Clinic and Trichotillomania

With plenty of determination and willpower, trichotillomania can be overcome. The Hair Clinic is highly experienced in dealing with trichotillomania (hair pulling), although trichotillomania sufferers are usually recommended to ask their GP for a referral to a counsellor to really be free from trichotillomania.

Trichological treatment can help treat scalp injuries and infections caused through trichotillomania and tips and pointers can be given on how to avoid pulling out hair. However, it is always stressed that the trichotillomania sufferer must seek help with breaking the habit and that any underlying stress factors are dealt with.

Enquiries can be made to our trichology department for a consultation, or appointments can be made directly by telephoning Vanessa Bailey on 020 7224 4640.

By Vanessa Bailey Copyright 2009

All wording by Vanessa Bailey MIT FRSPH author of The Good Hair Guide: All Your Questions Answered.

All consultations and check-ups at The Hair Clinic are FREE.

Call today on 020 7224 4640 to book an appointment for a Trichological consultation or click here to complete an enquiry form.

Further Information

If you would like to know more or are interested in a quote we would be happy to help. Phone us on 020 7224 4640, email us at or fill in our enquiry form and we will be in touch as soon as possible.