“For the last few months I’ve started this habit of pulling out my eyelashes, I didn’t even notice I was doing it until I noticed the hairs making a mess on my desk at work. Help!”
Firstly, Trichotillomania (pulling out your hair) is more common than you think and is often categorised in the same way as someone who bites their nails or chews their gums.
If you’ve only really just started this habit then there’s a chance you’ll still be able to stop before it becomes trickier to overcome. I also pull out my lashes, bite my nails, gums and generally pick at things which I just can’t leave alone.
The worst thing about having habits like these is that they weaken those areas, leaving you with bald patches in your lashes, chipped weak nails and sore gums – often reducing the chances of them growing back to full strength if it becomes a long-term thing. But why do we do it? And why does it feel so irresistible?
For me it’s usually a stress, boredom or hunger thing – quite often when I do it, I’m either subconsciously nervous about something, mindlessly doing it without realising or doing it to stop myself from snacking.
With lash picking in particular I’ve found the following things help me to stop:
- Try to go mascara-free for a while – I find I’m much worse at picking if I’ve been wearing mascara all day, once I’m even a little bit tired I just want to pick it all off – which usually results in losing about 20 lashes in the process. Giving your lashes a break from mascara or tinting them can often help to relieve that urge.
- Take a photo of the lash gaps – when you see the effects of it in front of you it can be enough to discourage you from doing it again. So when you take all your makeup off at the end of the day, take a snap on your phone and have it to hand whenever you feel an urge to pick!
- Stress/ underlying anxiety – often the reason for this kind of habitual behaviour is due to stress (conscious or subconscious) – so using relaxation techniques and possibly some form of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) might help to get to the root of it.
If you are really concerned about the habit, and the above things don’t seem to be helping then definitely go and see your GP. They will be able to advise on the best course of action. The main thing is not to be embarrassed about the problem, or ashamed to tell someone.
Thanks for telling me! And I hope the above is useful for you.
Please note readers: I don’t proclaim to be an expert in anything – I am a fellow person who lives and breathes and goes through ups and downs just like the rest of you. But if you have any thoughts on any subject…maybe Inside the Oyster can help? I’ve always got an ear to lend and often an opinion to match – and it’s totally up to you if you want to hear it.
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