A long time ago, I wrote a blog post about what I used to help prevent myself from pulling. Safe to say that my kit helps but doesn’t stop it, for anyone out there who pulls out their hair, they know how difficult it is to stop.
When I am out of my flat, I do not pull as much, or at least I think I pull covertly. But when I am at home, I don’t have the same restrictions, there are no prying eyes and I feel completely at ease. For anyone who suffers from social anxiety, home is often a safe haven, we don’t have to be anyone in particular here, we don’t have to put on a show, we can just be. It is where I can fully relax, but also where I work out my issues, by thinking and writing. So home is where I end up letting all my feelings out and that means hair pulling is at its worst here and I have tried new ways to prevent it or reduce it.
I present to you, the latest version of my trich reduction kit! This kit sits beside me on a coffee table at all times. It is pretty messy but I hide it away when visitors come around. All of this stuff pictured above helps to distract my hands but it doesn’t stop it by any means, it takes a huge amount of effort to stop myself from pulling and pick up the squeezey snail and it can be very mentally painful to force myself to do something that does not feel as good as hair pulling and it does feel good. It is a way that we relieve tension, avoid thinking and relax, so trying to do something else is going to be very painful.
I hope that some of this trich reduction kit will help in some way. It is going to be tough though, really tough to stop or reduce your pulling but it is possible.
TRICH REDUCTION KIT
Nail polish and fake nails
For me, this is top of the list and a tip I have been using for a while, I even blogged about it before. Painting nails is easy to do, accessible and not only stops you from pulling for a while but it looks nice and makes you feel good! I repaint my nails as frequently as I want, sometimes up to three times a day on weekends, because it is distracting and during the dry time, I do not tend to touch my hair. I do occasionally touch my hair and pull when it is drying, it is so automatic that it is bound to happen, but it is not the worst thing ever, as I can just take the time to re do it. I tend to layer up the nail polish more than it needs to.
This prevention does not have to cost a lot, cheap nail polish will do. I often like using cheap stuff as it chips within hours, meaning I have to re do it. But I do like to treat myself by getting nice ones, like Essie nail polish.
Recently, I have started getting fake nails from Asda and putting them on at home. It takes a while to do and makes my fingers feel funny. It can make pulling and picking feel different too.
This is one tip that only some of us will find helpful, I know a lot of women who do not wear nail polish or wear fake nails, and I have not yet known a man who wears nail polish yet. If you have not tried this it could be worth giving it a shot, even just using clear nail polish as a trial.
I find these helpful, as you can see I have a lot of them! When I squeeze the purple one little bits of the ball pop out through the gaps and then I poke them back in, sounds ridiculous when I describe it but it works as a distraction. The others, have little bits coming off them, which can be a substitute for playing and pulling hair. I hold these when I am in a situation where I tend to pull a lot. I had a green snail a while ago and I pulled out all the little bits, which made it look sad but I would prefer it to be sad than me to be bald.
This brings back memories from my childhood! It is great to squeeze when watching TV or reading. It is easy to find in shops and fun.
I bought my cosmetic white gloves from Boots pharmacy, but you can get these pretty much anywhere. People tend to wear these when they have moisturised (so google says). I wear them when I am not crocheting or knitting, they are best to wear when on my laptop. Get small gloves, so they are tight, as I struggle to do much with mine on – which is good for hair pulling, not so good for typing or anything else. Regular winter gloves would be okay too as long as they do not make you too hot!
Crafts – Crochet, Knitting, Cross Stitch, Sewing etc
This is one of the best distraction methods for me. I end up creating beautiful gifts and things for myself and it stops me from destroying myself for a while. I often spend hours making things and would suggest that if you have patience and want to try something new, take up a craft. Cross stitch is particularly easy to get into, so try this as a starting point.
Lanacane and Germolene
Both of these creams have an anaesthetic of some sort in them designed to numb pain caused by irritation, bites, burns etc, so I find it can numb the skin a bit where I pull, making it feel different. Having a cream on the area makes my hair and skin feel horrible so it is a deterrent too. Also, I often feel that my skin is itchy in the area where my bald patch is, probably due to the broken skin and to hair regrowth, so numbing the area is ideal on these days.
I tend to use these when I know that I won’t be going outside or before I wash my hair as it is very noticeable depending on how big your patch is as both are white creams.
This one is more self care than a prevention technique. When I pull, my arms and neck get sore. So I have to take meds. It could also have the benefit of numbing any irritation that you feel on your skin.
Not in the photo… but can help
I am actually going to do this later on this evening! This is great. I love trying new hair colours, I feel better about myself, it gets rid of greys I may pull out, my hair is all shiny and it can colour in little light or grey baby hairs that came back after hair pulling. I dye my own hair because I can’t afford it to be done professionally, if you can’t afford it either and also don’t want anyone to see your bald patches, ask a close friend if you don’t feel confident doing your own. Or take it slow with a semi permanent colour, so if it is horrendous it will wash out within a few weeks.
I find that doing some form of exercise makes me feel better about myself and more tired, so I can’t pull. I have tried to do more arm exercises lately to try and make my muscles so sore I can’t pull or it makes it more difficult, but it has not been too successful!
I bought a yoga mat so I can follow my Sworkit app at home when I don’t want to go outside and until my gym opens. My hope is always that I feel better about myself after exercise and that I will be too tired to pull.
I am not too keen on cooking or baking but when I do, I find it is an hour or two that I can’t mess with my hair and don’t even think to! So if you are blessed with the enjoyment of cooking, go ahead!
Cleaning (my least favourite)
I hate cleaning… but when I force myself to, I do feel better afterwards. Unfortunately, hair pulling means that hair tends to get everywhere. So sweep it up! Easier said than done…if you are also suffering from depression, doing much can be a challenge. I am forcing myself to hoover more, because since I started yoga in my living room, I find the hair on the floor very irritating! But also, it makes me feel good to clean a bit and my partner is very grateful that the hair is gone too. A lot can be done in just 5 minutes, so if you can clean for 5 minutes, then you have achieved something !
I hope that this helps and feel free to add your tips in the comments below 🙂