You might know that earlier this year, I was lucky enough to have my eyebrows tattooed by the wonderful Sian Deller. It was one of the best beauty experiences of my life (if not the best), and have not regretted it since. After deliberating for ages and weighing up the pros and cons about a thousand times, the opportunity presented itself in January and I took the plunge. I haven’t looked back. Although I love every single thing about them, I did want to write this post just to open the discussion with other trichotillomania sufferers who have had their eyebrows tattooed or are thinking about getting them done. Since having them tattooed, my hair pulling has been severely aggravated. I pick and pull at my eyebrows so much more than I did before and am aware that it has happened to a few other trichsters as well. So, is it still worth getting your eyebrows tattooed?
Before I had the semi-permanent treatment, my eyebrows were totally bald. With nothing there whatsoever, I had pulled every last hair and had to do the onerous task of attempting to draw them on from scratch every morning. It was a particularly bad spell in my trichotillomania journey; I often find that I either get obsessed with pulling my eyebrows or my eyelashes, never both at the same time, and early this year it was my eyebrows’ turn to take one for the team. I was sick of drawing them on with no guidelines whatsoever. I was sick of having wonky brows, fake-looking brows, brows which made it clear that there was something wrong with me. The semi-permanent micro-blading technique which tattoos on individual hair was the solution I had been waiting for all this time. The results were incredible, and I still love my new eyebrows just as much 6 months down the line. Not one part of me regrets it, and I still feel indebted to Sian Deller for transforming my life so much through one small treatment. I feel empowered, confident and, dare I say it, as though I look like a normal human. I’m no longer paranoid about my brows, my appearance or my trich; I wake up and my brows are so instantly perfect that I forget they are not my real eyebrow hairs. But, in terms of the actual hair-pulling, it is both the best and worst thing that has happened to me.
I probably pull my eyebrows out more than I ever have. It’s unrestricted pulling- uninhibited. The damage caused by trichotillomania doesn’t scare me anymore. Having them tattooed has made me fearless. Beforehand, the crushing part which drove me to try and control the urges more next time was seeing my face in the mirror and falling apart at the glimpse of baldness. The thought of having to draw them on from scratch, which you may know is one of the most difficult make-up skills to perfect. The thought that my eyebrows would look awful until they started to grow back, and the fear that everyone would be staring at me and my awful attempts at covering the damage. We all want to look nice, and this was the only thing which stopped me pulling; if I pull, I won’t look nice. But with tattoos there, it is a constant cover-up. I can pull and pick away to my heart’s content, knowing that there will be no visible damage. It protects me from outside judgement and feelings of shame, but it also facilitates the ability to pull.
Would you do something if you knew there was a strong risk involved, a risk that can very likely become a reality? Perhaps, but you are probably more inclined to say no. Would you do that same thing if the likelihood of risk was minimised, if you had a constant safety net following you around? Yes. It’s all about the consequences of your actions. I pull every spiky little eyebrow that even dares to make itself known to my face- I rip it out before it even becomes a fully-fledged hair. Why? Because I can. Because the tattoos are there to permanently cover any damage. There are no visible consequences to my destructive actions. Because I know my eyebrows will still be perfect and I’ll still look normal, I indulge in my urges more than I ever would have before.
Clearly, this is not a good thing in terms of recovering from trichotillomania and trying not to pull my own hair out. But, it allows me to pull my hair without having the negative, self-loathing, shame and guilt afterwards. I still have trichotillomania, but I don’t hate myself or the way I look anymore- and surely this is a good thing? We all know the emotions attached to trich are the most destructive part of the disorder, so by taking this away, the physical damage doesn’t seem so bad (especially when it’s automatically covered up anyway). I know my eyebrows will fade and I will have to find a way to control the hair-pulling urges, but for now, I’m quite enjoying my safety net. Getting them tattooed was still an amazing decision that has helped me deal with the emotional side of trichotillomania far more than I could have before- it’s just a shame that an increase in pulling has come with it. It doesn’t bother me because there’s no visible damage, but it’s food for thought if you are considering a semi-permanent treatment for trichotillomania.
Have you pulled more since getting your eyebrows tattooed? Does this make you regret the treatment, or would you do it all again if you had the chance?