Hair Loss and Trichotillomania: How To Cover Up Bald Patches

If you've read my blog before, you might be aware that I suffer from trichotillomania. Since I was three years old, this anxiety disorder has caused me to pull out my eyelashes and eyebrows, leaving me with bald patches and other mental health and self-esteem problems as a result. I have written before about how trich makes you feel, how to deal with comments from other people, and how to cover it up using eye make-up, yet haven't ventured into talking about hair loss from the scalp. This is the most common manifestation of trich, but as I do not suffer from this form myself, I haven't really spoken about it. While I do understand the emotional distress of hair-pulling, I have not been able to offer practical advice. SO, I turned to Twitter and Instagram to gather up the best nuggets of advice (from fellow sufferers, to fellow sufferers) on how to cover up bald patches.



1. Twisting and shaping hair to strategically cover up any particularly thin patches.

On Twitter, Becky (from @BeckyBedbug) said "I know someone who uses pretty hair clips to twist hair over thin patches." Not only does the thin area of hair look like it has a bit more volume, the hair clips secure the hair in place so you don't have to worry about your 'do falling out of place throughout the day. Decorative hair clips can also serve as a distraction from the patch itself, drawing attention away from the hair being used to cover up thin areas. On Instagram, Rylie from @mytrichrecovery also advised to "part your hair over your pulling areas, it makes it less obvious". Easy and sound advice. 



2. Toppik.

Specifically designed as a thinning solution, this isn't purely a cover up or disguise, but a way to get your hair growing back faster and thicker. Consisting of tiny 'microfibre' hairs made with natural Keratin protein, the formula attaches and combines with your own hair (no matter how much of it there is) giving the illusion of thicker locks while simultaneously boosting regrowth. Simply shake the product onto any thin patches, then pat or brush through to disperse the formula. It's available in a number of colours too, meaning it blends into your own hair colour seamlessly. Melissa Lee (@melissalee619 on Instagram) swears by this tip, and shows the difference it makes in her photos below.

Source: www.toppik.co.uk


3. Use a hat as a simple cover up.

This tip, submitted by Colleen McLaughlin (@trichsterinrecovery on Instagram), may seem simple but hats and headbands can be one of the most effective ways to disguise hair loss. She says: "hats are your best friend in winter! Headbands from American eagle work wonders too. Pretty much the entire top of my head is bald so I have extensions I wear under hats or headbands to give volume or I wear my hair in a ponytail with a headband." While you may feel uncomfortable wearing hats at other times, these cold months give the perfect opportunity to use it as a minimal effort cover-up. Colleen also suggests wearing a hat to bed if you get particularly strong urges to pull at this time, or if you tend to pull unwittingly in your sleep. 




4. Biota shampoo and biotin pills.

Another wonderful tip from Colleen, the Biota Botanicals shampoo has been proven to help your hair grow back stronger and thicker. While it may not be an immediate cover up, when you've got hair growing back this is a great way to ensure if comes through undamaged. Like with my experience with eyelashes, the hairs tend to grow back weak and fragile after years of pulling, so this formula will help re-enforce the emerging follicles. While you should always be cautious when taking any tablet supplement, many others have sworn by the biotin pills. Just make sure they are a safe and reasonable option for you before trying them. 


Source: www.cvs.com



5. Use eyeshadow for the illusion of thicker hair.

More words of wisdom from Rylie, she advises to "put a light dust of dark power (like eyeshadow) over the bald spots then put a layer of hair over top of it. It sounds weird, but it works!". The darker shadow gives the impression of thicker hair at the root, growing from the scalp, especially when hair is placed over the top. While it may be fiddly to start with, this kind of trick would get easier with practise. 




Many thanks to all the contributors to this post. They are listed, along with their social media, below if you fancy following them for more advice or tricks. 

Becky: @beckybedbug on Twitter
Rylie: @mytrichrecovery on Instagram
Colleen: @trichsterinrecovery on Instagram 
Melissa: @melissalee619 on Instagram


I hope these have helped! What are your top tips for covering hair pulling from the scalp? Add to the list by leaving a comment below, tweeting me, or commenting on Instagram



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18 comments

  1. I've heard of this before, it must be terrible :(.All I can say is I hope it gets better and that you and others can overcome it.

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  2. I don't have Trichotillomania, but I have awful hairloss due to health reasons and have two pretty large bald patches so this is really helpful! I swear by using clips to clip hair over the area like Becky said xx

    Gemma | missmakeupmagpie.com

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    1. I''m sorry to hear this. I'm glad you found this post helpful :) xx

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  3. When I was a teenager, I used to pull my hair out. Since being in a very stressful profession, I have found myself compulsively 'digging away' at myself, or rather, at my scalp. It always seems to start with a naturally occurring spot or sore patch, but I then work and work away at it - almost like I'm trying to get right down to the bottom of the sore, dry, scaly and sometimes scabby patch. I've been at the particular beast of the moment for so long that I now have a scar which has formed a bald patch - but I even work away at the scar and manage to get that off periodically aswell. Acrylics with gel on top help a bit - blunt cut, and the layer of gel on top of the acrylic blunts the nail edge - plus, in keeping with the spirit of your blog, it also gives you something positive and nice to look at rather than feeling like a scabbly, out-of-control freak. Now, also being a Slimming World member, I thought I would share a specific anxiety - I've always had fine hair which gets finer and 'scalpier' when I don't eat properly, get stressed or lose too much weight too quickly. Although I really like SW for all the reasons you mention, I'm also a little cautious because I don't want my skin, hair and nails to suffer. Any ideas ?

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    1. Thanks for your comment, I'm glad you've found something that kind of helps. I don't really know what to say about SW apart from just see what happens- while the weight loss may impact negatively on your hair, the fact that the focus is on eating well may mean that the change in diet could be quite beneficial to you, both physically and mentally. Do let me know how you get on with it, and I'm sorry I couldn't be more helpful! X

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    2. There is a product called Juice Plus which may help with hair growth. Of course I am not promising anything but I take it and although I'll never have a full head of hair, it has thickened what I do have. Friends who take it have reported back saying they have thicker longer hair. Its fruit and vegetables in capsules and I am a total convert. Best to check it out for yourself however.

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    3. Try using mascara to cover up bald patches. At night you clean it off with baby wipes and oil before you wash it off. It's great at hiding the bald patches and works better than a powder.

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  4. Hello could you please tell where I can buy Toppik. I live in South Africa

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  5. A lot of blogs I see these days don't really provide anything that I'm interested in, but I'm most definitely interested in this one.

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  6. This is a great post. I have hair loss due to health reasons and use a myriad of ways to cover the loss. Some work, some don't.
    Angie | Chocolate & Lipstick | Beauty, Fashion & Lifestyle Blog

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    1. Thank you. If you have any other ways to cover it I'd love to hear them!

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  7. Hey. How do you find going to get your haircut? I've to get a haircut but have thinning hair from pulling. Its ok when dry but as soon as hairdressers wets hair its gonna show patchy spots.

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    1. Hiya, I don't actually pull from my scalp but know others who do. It may be nerve wracking, but I would be honest and open with your hair dresser and explain the situation. This way they can go out of their way to adjust to your needs and, to be honest, in their profession, they have probably seen hair loss before and it'll be far less embarrassing than you'd think.

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  8. I don't suit hats but thanks for the this as I will try the others. Mines on the back of head mainly.

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  9. I don't suit hats but thanks for the this as I will try the others. Mines on the back of head mainly.

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  10. I have this condition and am struggling massively. My bald sports are now huge and I'm so embarrassed :( I can't find anything to take my mind off of pulling and do it without realising a lot of the time. My hair used to be my best asset but now It's just awful. I feel for anyone who has this. I used to pull my eyelashes and eyebrows but now it's my hair :( when I talk about it to my pals they laugh and say I'm just being stupid and to just stop but it's impossible :(

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    1. I'm sorry to hear about your friends' reactions. It's awful to hear that from anyone let alone people you are close to. Do they realise how serious the condition can be? A lot of people tend to dismiss it as a 'silly habit' and undermine the complexities trich can bring with it. If you ever wanted to email me to chat about trich then feel free :)

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