Thinking of Shaving my hair off completely

I am so happy to have found this forum. I am truly desperate. I have been pulling my hair for 15 years. During this time, I only once managed to go into complete remission, between years 2015 and 2018. Unfortunately, by the end of 2018, various stressors in my life pushed back into old habits, I lost control and relapsed, and it was bad. In order to save my remaining hair and to be able to function day to day, I installed an interlace hair system which was in place for 6 months. It cut off my access to my affected areas and I really did not have a desire to pull from anywhere else. So the hair grew back and I thought I had got a handle of it again. When I removed the system, there was huge contrast between the regrown hair and my existing ones in terms of texture and colour. They all felt wrong, nonetheless, I managed to control myself, more or less. But it didn't take me long. I had a nice hair cut in January this year, after that all went back to square one. Now I have pulled again from all previously affected areas. I just cannot stop. I want to save my hair but I don't want to put that system on again. I am thinking of shaving it all off. Any ideas/suggestions?


  • Hi ND, welcome to the forum. I know you're feeling desperate but remember: you did do this before. You can do this again. If you shave your hair off the likelihood is that you'll start pulling again when it starts to re-grow. It won't fix things long term.

    Set yourself a small, achievable goal. Maybe it's just to get through the next 10 minutes, maybe it's an hour. When you manage it, reward yourself. Set another, slightly longer, goal. Reward yourself. Don't worry about the odd hair you've pulled, only think of the hairs you've saved.

    You might find it really helpful to take a photo every day of the area you pull from. It can be hard to see progress but being able to compare photos with where you were when you started can give you a great boost and help you stay on track <3

  • Hi ND,

    Sorry to see that you sturggled like this. I definitely wouldn't recommend those systems - they're so uncomfortable and they can also permanently damage the hair roots.

    As Michelle says, I wouldn't shave your head either as I think it will just draw your attention - and hands - back to it as it grows. The photo ida is a great one and a setting rewards for every pull free day worked wonders for me.

    You can do this and it won't actually be as hard as you think.

    Pop in every day and chat with us on the how are you feeling thread - it really helps.

    Love and pull freedom

  • Hi ND, how are you doing now?

  • I am so moved by the support in this group. In spite of your suggestions, which are of course very reasonable and logical, I ended up shaving remaining hair in most affected areas. The pulling urge was so strong that it would be consuming most of my day and my fingers hurt. I needed to get myself out of that headspace and the hair not being there seemed the only way. Since then I have booked regular appointments for therapy. I feel like it would be most effective when I am not in an acute stage of constant pulling. Of course, my family has been very supportive during this time also, which is great. It is a daily struggle. Only 2 weeks ago I was pulling by 100s and the past week, it has hardly been more than 20.

    Thank you for your support <3

  • Congratulations ND - for making your own decision and sticking with it. I know it is really hard sometimes. Massive hugs to you and keep resisting those urges!

    Love and pull freedom

  • Absolutely, seconding Neo - you're doing what works for you and I am so pleased your family are supporting you. Keep checking in and letting us know how you're doing <3

  • HI, I have been pulling my hair for 26 years and have had many styles of hair, long, short, pixie and shaved. The first time I cut my hair short I found I stopped for a little while longer time but soon gave into the urges and having short hair and bald patched causes more stress and anxiety. I have shaved now for the 4th time in 4 years, again causing stress and anxiety due to the visible patches. Although the previous times the hair grew back quickly and well I could get no further than the very short pixie cut before I would start again. I ended up pulling very bad this time and have a vary large patch on one side and after shaving for the 4th time it is only slightly growing back and very fine and liggt(I have dark hair). I think I have finally realised that if you go to the extreme of shaving, keep it that way or the shortest pixie you can because without finding a way to deal with it head on (mind the pun🙈) you will find it more acceptable to pull because you can shave it and it will be fine shortly after.... Unfortunately I went down this path and now after the 4th time I am regrettably paying for it. I will now never be able to get past an inch in hair growth or have the hair I want unless I deal with the problem directly. I have tried CBT, seen a shrink, hypnotherapy, paid to see a trichotillogist and nothing. Good on you if you do but just be aware that you need to try other things along side to help x
  • NDND
    edited July 2020

    I am sad to report that things have not gone well for me at all. I managed to control the urges for a few days and then I completely lost it. I attacked an area where the hair had just grown back , now there is a bald patch a size of a £2 coin. The sides of my head and the crown are the problem areas for me. I shaved those areas a few weeks ago but not that they have grown back I attacked those too. If it's too short, I use tweezers. I am so embarrassed. I have been struggling with depression for a long time. My mood is never stable and this hair pulling just fits in with that vicious cycle. My therapist is very nice. She is helping me navigate my feelings a little bit better and to find out why I do this. She encouraged me to take medication. And I agree with her. I need some other form of help. In addition, although i understand shaving does not help in the long run, I am considering now shaving all the hair off ( instead of just the problem areas) to be able to dissociate from it long enough to focus on finding a solution. At the moment it is just so intense that it distracts me from everything.

    I want to get to a point that I can post I have been pull free for 7 days, let alone months or years...

  • Hey ND,
    If you have read online, some suggest that you name each hair that you pull out. While this did not work for me as I would zone out after a point and just go on pulling but what rather worked for me was, when I saw the bald patches in the mirror I used to place my fingers on those patches and tell myself that I will not pull again if you regrow. I told myself this every time I combed my hair or after I've taken a hair wash etc.
    The one thing that backfired was I started to pull from other areas of my head because I promised not to pull from one but eventually it did start to come down especially on continuous days that I was less stressed or not alone.
    I am not sure how religious you are but another thing that worked for me is prayer to god. Pray that he will help you stop pulling. When your pulling intensifies, surrender yourself to god and start praying that you stop. It did work for me at times but at times that I was frustrated I would just ask god to go screw off and continue pulling. But these are something you could try.

    Lots of love to you.

  • Dear Kitty 142,

    Thank you for your message. I grew up believing. I have been rather distant for a while. Lately I pray for not very nice things which would end the hair pulling for good. I often prayed that God would show me a sign, that I would wake up one day and i will have a full head of hair and I would be so amazed by that miracle that I would stop pulling forever. Now I wish my hands would break or my fingers would fall off. But one thing i have learnt is that God does not bargain. I just had a conversation with my family. We have all decided that I would buy a wig and shave it all off for a while until i am able to refocus. I commented here twice today and within the span of these two comments a whole area was gone. It is worse because I have been alone during the entire period of lock down, so I have had a lot of opportunities to do this. I was completely unable to work today and it literally paralyzed everything. Now that I am calmer, the negativity is even harder to handle.

  • Hey ND,
    I really hope your new step helps you get some relief. If your family is as understanding then lean on them for as much support as you can. No one in my family knows I pull. They think I have bald patches because of some vitamin deficiency.
    Have you tried Zumba? Just 20 mins per day is very refreshing. Even if you're not someone who dances, Zumba is very simple and helps keep energy up.
    maybe give that a try and see if it helps.

  • Lockdown and the isolation it has brought to many has been especially difficult on those of us who already struggle. Don't expect too much of yourself during this time, but do take proactive steps. Throw away those tweezers, pop on some gloves, cover your hair in conditioner, and set yourself a challenge. The next time you feel an urge to pull, start a timer for 1 minute and just see what happens. Feel the urge. It's ok. Go and make a drink or gain another 200 step son your FitBit or tidy a cupboard. See how you feel. <3

  • Things have been really up and down, but they are stabilizing now. I managed to control the urges for 6 days. 6 days and no pull, but then I got off the rails a little yesterday. I am generally calmer. I feel like my medication is really helping me to see things more clearly. And I am really following up my therapist's advise. One thing that he is urging me to do is to keep a hair pulling diary to identify triggers, avoiding strategies and the feelings leading up to pulling. I am hopeful that it will work. I have not been hopeful for a very long time. This is a much welcomed change.

  • Hey ND,
    Super proud of you for having taken control of your urges and even I have made a list of things that trigger me and trying to focus on those things and figuring out ways to calm myself down.
    Have a great weekend.
    Lots of love

  • Really glad to hear you sounding more positive. 6 days is HUGE!

  • Hi ND, hope you are okay, something that works for me is a head massager. They're super cheap, you can get them from eBay. Keeps your fingers out of your hair whilst still being able to soothe any itchiness x

  • I am happy to announce that I have been pull free for 6 weeks exactly. I am so proud of myself. I have been very religious with my CBT this time and I have to say that my therapist (assigned to me by the NHS) is one of the most skilled individuals I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. We have dealt with some really heavy subjects and deep seated issues. I am now more aware of my triggers than ever and can better identify emotional cues that usually lead to pulling. Don't get me wrong. It is a constant battle. I fantasize about it, I have dreamt about it, but I resist. I get angry with my self a little when I deny myself the opportunity but I have also found a voice of reason that leads me back to the right path. I have started breaking down my goals for each day. It makes things a lot more manageable so I don't get as stressed as before. It is a daily struggle, but at least, there is a little glimmer of hope that has been lit in my mind and I hope it becomes a brighter and brighter each day . Hope everyone is doing well. If I can do it, so can you <3 Lots of Love x

  • AMAZING!!! I hope you've rewarded yourself, you've done so, so well and your therapist sounds like one in a million <3

  • Hey ND
    that is amazing. I am so proud of you. WOW <3

  • Hello everyone,

    I have some sad news. I was able maintain my pull free status for about 8 weeks, unfortunately I have been overly stressed with work and this morning I pulled about 20 hair strands. It is a set back, but I am trying to accept it and be kind to myself, but it is hard. I was doing so well. I have spoken to my therapist about this and we have analyzed the situation in more detail in order to avoid it in the future. As soon as I felt like this was going to happen I changed my environment, listened to some upbeat music, called my sister ( who is my main support system), but it still happened. Back to day 1 from tomorrow ... *** Sigh***

  • Hi ND

    Sorry to hear you've been having a tough time, but remember progress doesn't have to be linear. You've learned a great deal, well done :star:

  • Sorry to hear that ND, but agree with Gir. You've done so well and I'm sure there will be things you can take from this situation to help you in future.

    Someone close to me is currently in recovery for drug addiction and completed a course on relapse prevention. When they were telling me about it, I thought there were a lot of points that could be helpful for people facing other struggles. I hope you find something in this useful:

  • You can do this ! Be kind to yourself
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