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Trichotillomania - How did you disguise the areas of pulling?

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Lucinda and four of her Trich clients discuss what methods they used to cover up the damage caused by their hair pulling and the effect it had on their social lives.

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Transcription of Conversation - Trichotillomania - How did you disguise the areas of pulling?

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I became very skilled, with lots of hair grips, hairspray, mascara, which I'd use on my scalp to camouflage. It got to the stage that I spent so many hours sort of constructing this hairstyle that would get me out the door without looking odd, it took over my life at the end, it took a lot of effort, and time.

And did you always keep the same sort of style?

It did vary, and being a musician at the same time I was in a way lucky because it allowed me to be a little bit more flamboyant, but some days you don't want to be all dressed up and "styled" to the hilt, you just want to go out looking normal and natural, and you can't do that with TTM, it's not possible.

It's a big effort

It is, a huge effort. And very restrictive as well, because you can't swim, you can't go out in windy conditions when it's very wet, you're forever worrying that you might be looking a little odd perhaps. It takes over your life absolutely.

It was very easy at first, 'cause when I first started I only had a teeny tiny little patch of damage, so I just used to comb my hair back, pin it down, and make that my style, but then as I got more and more addicted to pulling my hair all the time, and the patches just got bigger and deeper and wider, you'd start doing things like wearing your hair up, and really scraping it back into a bun, and completely immobile - you can't do anything else with your hair. And then it got to the stage where I had to have a headscarf over it and then I used to have to wear berets no matter what, and pretend I was artistic because I was in a beret. And you're just so constrained because as Margaret mentioned you can't do anything - you don't want anyone to touch you, you don't want to get wet, you certainly can't go swimming, you can't go on a motorbike, you can't go horse riding, you can't do anything. If the wind blows you think, 'that's me indoors all day' you can't possibly go out in it, it does definitely you sort of isolate yourself, you feel very isolated because you really don't want anyone to do the really normal thing of ruffling your hair or giving you a kiss on the top of your head, or anything like that at all. It just gets very difficult.

And what about you T, how did you used to disguise your hair?

I used to disguise it, I used a lot of mascara, eyeshadow, eyeliner, root touchup products you can buy, things like felt tips, those kind of things. I also used the spray, the colored spray hair thickner, hair grips, hair band, I had a multitude of wide Alice-bands, that would just cover this bit of hair. And I had the same style for years, I had my hair cut probably about three times throughout the entire period of High School.

So you've all experienced the measures that you will go to to disguise any type of hair loss.

You don't leave the house, you stay home.

It's a desolate thing isn't it?