Maybe you have not heard of Trichotillomania, at Salon Ziba we have!
Maybe you’ve heard of trichotillomania — often abbreviated to TTM or “trich” — more commonly known as hair pulling disorder. It’s a behavioral disorder that results in an obsessive compulsion to pull out one’s hair — be it on the eyebrows, eyelashes, and/or the scalp. According to the Trichotillomania Learning Center, 2 to 4% of the population, or roughly two to 10 million Americans, suffer from it — and 80 to 90% of them are female. The overall group even includes some people you might recognize: Katy Perry, Olivia Munn, and one of the 10 to 20% of affected males, Justin Timberlake, have all openly discussed their experiences.
TTM can be exhibited in two different ways: people who “pull in a dreamlike state” — they don’t even realize they’re doing it — and people who deliberately identify specific strands of hair and pull with a more focused approach. Causes really depend on the person — it could be stress, anxiety, depression, some sort of behavioral issue, or, in some cases, a dermatological situation. And there’s no known cure. “The treatment is really one where you identify the behavior — you understand when it happens and what the triggers are — and then you develop behavioral strategies to disrupt or interrupt it,” says Dr. Walkup (co-program director at New York-Presbyterian’s Youth Anxiety Center).
We sat down with our own expert Sheila Chung for a little chat on the problem, “I feel bad because [my TTM clients] always have such a bad experience at [regular] salons,” says stylist Sheila Chung, who offers trich-friendly styling services to over 25 of her clients. “I think a lot of stylists don’t know about trich. The clients are very embarrassed, or the stylist would make an inappropriate comment.” For TTM sufferers, having another person touching or even washing their own hair can be a traumatic experience.
Sheila started working with trich clients seven years ago with a part-time gig doing extensions. “My first client was known as the hat lady. She pretty much pulled everything out of her head, and after we put the [hair] piece on, she threw her hat away, and everyone was crying happy tears. So I fell in love, and I’ve been working with TTM clients ever since,” she says.
Sheila was thrilled to see we have a private room in our new flagship when she started to work with us at Salon Ziba. She is able to work with clients without the rest of the salon’s patrons looking on. “The privacy factor is probably the most important part of their visit,” says Sheila.
Of course, people dealing with hair pulling are often quiet about their disorder, so that doesn’t necessarily help with it comes to finding the closest trich-friendly salon. Salon Ziba has gone as far as creating an online booking option for consultation and services so you don’t have to call and speak with anyone nor explain your condition, the consultation are booked straight into Salon Ziba’s private room.
Sheila helps her clients by strategically cutting and blending the hair to seamlessly integrate the grow-out strands. She also sometimes uses dry color spray or hair fiber powder to fill in bald spots and also hair pieces. Sheila also makes sure to teach her clients creative ponytails or half-up-dos that cover the areas. “I show them what they can do to hide the areas, if it’s possible,” Sheila says.
But, it’s important to know that these hair styling techniques or solutions and systems are not by any means ways of managing, treating, or curing TTM. Salon Ziba emphasizes to anyone suffering from TTM to first and foremost seek treatment from a qualified healthcare professional. Salons are a way for a person who pulls to aesthetically maintain a daily look, and just have a place to go and get their hair done like any other person, without judgement or discomfort.