Before I start, I want to let you know that we are posting this picture of this jovial child with the permission of her mother. Her mom wants to help other moms with kids that have Trichotillomania, a hair-pulling disorder. Her nine-year-old daughter started pulling her hair when she was only 5 years old, and her mom was in complete shock over the situation. Each and every day she sent her daughter to school was heartbreaking, she had no idea what the other kids would say, and they did have a lot to say. Some kids innocently questioned her about her hair, while others were cruel. Her teachers did not know how to handle the situation either, they could not police the other kids. But this beautiful little girl stood strong and endured this daily torment. Since "trich," is a family crisis, her older sister helped her mom seek out help for a disorder that has been greatly misunderstood.
They seemed to be suffering alone until the family found a therapist who could at least give them an understanding of what she has, trichotillomania. Since that point, the journey began, but the compulsive pulling had not subsided. There is a lack of providers in the field of "BFRBs," Body Focused Repetitive Disorders. BFRB's include any repetitive condition such as skin picking, nail-biting, and hair pulling. They are now on a waiting list at MGH Hospital's Center For OCD and Other Related Disorders. In the meantime, they sought out our salon to assist in giving their daughter a "normal" hairstyle.
Upon entering the salon, we could see that this beautiful little girl was special and very aware of her condition. "I am just different!" she explained, but Diane and I told her she is not all that different, there are thousands of young people like her, with the same condition.
Her mom wanted us to fit her with our hair topper system to create a barrier in the area of her head she could not cover, although her mom has been extremely creative with pulling her hair back in barrettes and clips, it was nearly impossible to cover the bald patches on her daughter's hair. Diane fit her with a small hair topper that covered the entire top of the head using our exclusive beaded matrix system. Her hair is carefully attached without comprising her own hair, no shaving or gluing is necessary to attach our system, and the goal is to promote hair growth.
The color match was customized to blend with her own hair, a wig would have been too heavy, and unnatural looking. You cannot imagine how elated this little girl was to see herself with her hair! She insisted on leaving it long, which was fine, our clients are welcome to come back for customization. In fact, her mom brought her back the next day to take a few inches off the hairpiece. We told her mom to place the barrettes in her hair as she usually does, and hopefully not cause too much attention to her hair at school. Diane also advised her mom to let the teachers know that she has a hairpiece and to pay special attention to her. When she came back to our salon the next day, she did receive some questions about her hair, but mostly about her hair color.
All I can say is that this brilliant nine-year-old was happy with her new look! Her mom is still concerned which is understandable, but they are on the right track. It is important to note that her hair will grow under the hairpiece, and within a year, she should have her hair back to normal. The journey does not stop here, it will take other interventions to break the hair-pulling cycle.
There is maintenance involved with a human hair topper, our clients return on a monthly basis to have the topper removed, the hair and topper maintained, and reapplied. We have been working with this system for two decades and have some inspiring stories of clients who no longer need our help. In fact, some of our clients come in for hair color, and cuts, this is the most rewarding part of our work. Seeing someone who once struggled with Trichotillomania in remission!
So, if you or your child have Trichotillomania, know that you are not alone, and there are professionals who will help you to recover. There is power in numbers, and I can tell you when two clients with Trichotillomania meet at our salon and compare stories, they leave with a smile on their faces.
We wanted to share this experience and help families and people with Trich to understand that it has no age, no societal or educational class, and is common. Our only hope is that more people will come forward for help.
If you know someone with Trich please share this story. We are here to help with any questions even if you are not in our local area. Click here to learn more about support and book a free consultation with our salon.
Hair Loss background
With Alopecia Areata, fungal infections, other autoimmune diseases, thinning hair by Trichotillomania which removes hair follicles by physical means. At Noelle Salon, we cover the various approaches to hair solutions to treat hair loss, female pattern baldness, balding spots, and other conditions to which you lose hair. At Noelle Salon, we focus on hair growth techniques. Hair systems and hair extension maintenance is part of the journey while wearing them. For Trichotillomania, as our hair grows they both will loosen, and service is required. The difference between a hair system and hair extensions for Trichotillomania clients varies based on the location of hair loss.