Shaving Head Beat Trichotillomania

Shaving Head Beat Trichotillomania

Student who was forced to shave her head after trichotillomania left her with devastating bald patches now flaunts her waist-length hair after beating the condition

  • Halee Candler-Wilson from Santa Rosa, California, had a tough start to life 
  • After losing her home, pulling out her hair gave her a sense of control
  • The 21-year-old was left with large bald patches thanks to the ‘brutal’ condition
  • She shaved her head to stop herself doing it, and now boasts a long mane

One woman has gone from shaving her head due to a devastating condition that caused her to pull her hair out – to growing long locks down to her waist in just three years.

Halee Candler-Wilson, 21, from Santa Rosa in California didn’t have the best start to life and says she was born into a ‘broken home’ as her mum struggled with substance abuse. 

As a teenager, she suffered from trichotillomania which caused her to pull her hair out and left her with large bald patches on either side of her head.

To stop herself from being able to pull out more hair while she suffered from the condition, she was left with no choice but to shave it all off. 

Halee decided to shave her head as a teenager, in a desperate attempt to beat trichotillomania

The condition left her with large bald patches on either side of her head, which she attempted to disguise by wearing beanies

The condition left her with large bald patches on either side of her head, which she attempted to disguise by wearing beanies

In just three-and-a-half years Halee's hair has almost grown to waist length and she has beaten the condition

‘When I was 14 we were evicted from our apartment that I had grown up in,’ explained Halee.

‘At 15 my mum couldn’t afford to take care of me so I started living with my friend and her parents. 

‘With all of that going on as well as high school, it was all very overwhelming. Pulling out my hair was the only thing that made me feel like I had control.’

Trichotillomania is an impulse-control disorder where the person is unable to stop themselves from pulling their hair, often from their head, eyelashes or eyebrows.

‘It’s brutal, it really is. I always wore beanies and was extremely self-conscious about how I looked when I did it,’ Halee explained.

Halee's shorter hair meant it was more difficult to pull out 

The 21-year-old loves her new look and says: 'Recovery is hard but it is possible'

‘I could just imagine how it looked to other people who didn’t know what I was doing.

‘I would just sit in the corner and pull out my hair and then fidget with my fingers.

‘Everyone knew I was dealing with some demons. If anyone asked I would just tell them ‘I pull out my hair’ and they usually dropped it because they didn’t know how to answer.

‘They gave me that pity look which I shrugged off. I never wanted pity, I just wanted help.’

Halee says the urge to pull at her hair first began at the tender age of ten. 

Trichotillomania sufferers feel relief when they pull the hair out, which often leads to large bald patches.

Although a drastic decision for Halee to make, she says shaving her head was absolutely the best decision for her

She is proud of her long, thick hair now and hasn't had a haircut in three years

‘It would feel like a huge build-up of tension and like I was holding my breath. As soon as I would pull out a hair or two it was like I could breathe again.

‘My hair got so thin. It was short, thin and different parts of my hair weren’t the same length where it had been pulled out.

One night she decided that to shave her head was her only option if she wanted to overcome this heart-breaking disease.

‘I had two big bald patches on both sides of my head and I knew that there was no coming back from that.

‘There was no amount of recovery time that would even out the sides.

‘My hair would never be the same unless I shaved it. So that’s exactly what I did.

‘I made the choice and then my best friend Emily and I shaved my head the next night.’

Halee's best friend Emily helped her to shave her head so she could overcome the condition

Halee's hair has grown an impressive length in the space of three years

Halee says of her new hair: 'I love it! It's so long and friends from my hometown always tell me how good my hair looks'

Although a drastic decision for Halee to make, she says shaving her head was absolutely the best decision for her and ultimately it lead to her recovery.

‘In the time span that it took for my hair to get long enough to be able to pull out, I did other things to distract my mind.

‘I started exercising to regain my confidence and when my hair got long enough I started wearing it up all the time.’

Now Halee boasts a full mane of all her own hair, which she has dip-dyed for blonder ends.

‘I love it! It’s so long and friends from my hometown always tell me how good my hair looks.

‘It’s been about three-and-a-half years since I shaved my head and I’m so proud. I haven’t even had a haircut!’

She urges other sufferers to take up hobbies so that they are not constantly thinking about pulling at their hair.

‘In terms of recovery, everyone is different.

‘Try to find hobbies: being in nature, exercising, drawing. Distracting your hands and keeping your hair up is key.

‘Recovery is hard but it is possible.’


Trichotillomania is a condition where a person feels compelled to pull their hair out.

They may pull out the hair on their head or in other places, such as their eyebrows or eyelashes.

Trichotillomania is an impulse-control disorder (a psychological condition where you are unable to stop yourself carrying out a particular action).

It is not known what causes trichotillomania, but there are several theories.

Some experts think hair pulling is a type of addiction. The more you pull your hair out, the more you want to keep doing it.

Trichotillomania may be a reflection of a mental health problem. Psychological and behavioural theories suggest that hair pulling may be a way of relieving stress or anxiety.

In some cases, trichotillomania may be a form of self-harm, where you deliberately injure yourself as a way of seeking temporary relief from emotional distress.

The most effective treatment is therapy to change your hair-pulling behaviour, combined with a network of emotional support.

Visit your GP if you are pulling your hair out or if you notice that your child is. 

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