Hair Loss and You: Trichotillomania

Do you continue playing in your hair even after seeing hair loss?

Do you often play in your hair?

Is it soothing or even calming for you to play with your hair?

If you have answered yes, to any of these questions, you may have Trichotillomania (trik-o-til-o-MAY-ne-uh).

Trichotillomania (hereafter to be referred to as TC in this article) is a hair pulling disorder that can exhibit itself in mild or severe cases and it goes hand in hand with hair loss.


According to the Mayo Clinic, some of the symptoms include:

  • Repetitive pulling of hair mostly from the scalp, eyelashes or eyebrows.
  • Possession of strong feelings to pull one’s hair; and
  • A sense of calm experienced after pulling hair

While this disorder may seem off the beaten path when we talk about natural hair health, is it really? One may laugh it off as playing with one’s hair, but we may be the willing volunteers who contribute to our own decreased hair growth. While I will always reiterate, I am not a health care professional, it is well known that hair and self identity are strongly linked.

Hair and Self Worth

What is interesting about this particular disorder is that it can be a signal of other serious conditions like low self-esteem, depression or anxiety (Mayo Clinic, 2011). TC becomes significant especially for naturalistas due to the sensitive nature of the transitioning process. When someone first becomes natural, there can be uneasiness about one’s appearance and thoughts may come up of how beautiful she may or may not be anymore, especially with a new texture. During these moments especially, the status of one’s hair, becomes closely tied to self-esteem.

If a person thinks his hair is not beautiful, then the individual may believe he is not beautiful. That thought process can spiral into a loop and go on forever determining and controlling how a person lives because until that hair is exactly the way the person wants, then the new texture will not be appreciated. 

Loss of hair, through heredity, chemical straightening or pulling can be traumatic. That is why being aware of TC’s symptoms, and the messages that you tell yourself is necessary. This type of disorder is not to be taken lightly. If you think that you may be experiencing this, contact your health care provider immediately because how we view our hair is a part of how we view ourselves. And, how we view ourselves will be vital to how we live our lives.


Mayo Clinic Staff (2011, January 19). Trichotillomania. Retrieved from


Learn about three more types of hair loss which can halt natural hair growth.