Trichotillomania Awareness and Acceptance. As a stylist working with hundreds of clients with Trichotillomania, I feel the need to share a story that may sound familiar to many. A mother enters the salon with her shy daughter - they are both apprehensive to speak. The young girl (approximately 13) is wearing her hair in a bun with a head band over the front of her hair. Her mother explains that her daughter has not let her hair down for over a year, and refuses to let her see her hair. I take them to a private area, and brace myself, I believe her mother may not know the extent of the "issue" her daughter is having with her hair. I ask them both if they have heard of "Trichotillomania" a body focused repetitive behavior which involves pulling out ones own hair. The mother seems to have some knowledge, but could not understand it. The daughter sits silently as I ask permission to see her hair, she reluctantly agreed and I began to take off her scarf and ponytail. Her mother was shocked as tears ran down her face. The young girl just looked down in shame.
This was not the first time I had to console a mother that could not understand why and what happened to her daughter's hair. Fortunately, there was another client that was willing to explain her journey with Trichotillomania, the conversation seemed to put them both at ease. Just knowing there are others that suffer, often in silence, gave them a sense of calm. Not more than a few decades ago there was not even a diagnosis for Trich, but today we have far more understanding and treatment. It was my pleasure to not only help them on an aesthetic level by giving her a hair piece to look and feel better, but by helping them to seek out professionals that can help. I directed them to the Mass. General Hospital which has an extensive research division and practitioners that understand and treat Trichotillomania. The young girl exchanged her number with a few of our clients that were eager to help. A year later, this mother and daughter are taking a day by day approach in healing and they are part of a Trich awareness group. They have learned to accept the roller coaster that this often brings, but they are working together to cope. One day the mom pulled me aside and said "Noelle, it is not so bad after all my daughter could have an incurable disease - it is just hair!"
If you know someone or if you have Trichotillomania feel free to reach out! Always ask for a free consultation and explore options.
A year later after wearing a hair piece that serves as a barrier to prevent pulling. We never shave or glue - instead we tie our hair piece into existing hair. Her hair is growing back!