Do Pulled Out Hair Follicles Grow Back?

Will the pulled out hair follicles grow back? The answer ‘yes they will’ or ‘no they will not’, depending on the way of how you pull the hairs. Other factor may also have an effect. For instance, if the pulled follicles occur in the non-hair loss prone sites (such as mustache or beard), the prognosis to regrow is very good. What else?

Trichotillomania (a bad hair-pulling habit)

Even experts call trichotillomania as a mental disorder. The exact cause of trichotillomania is not fully understood – though there are some theories.

The urge (typically irresistible) to pull out the hair is the major concern in this disorder. Eventually, people with trichotillomania often have some noticeable hair loss on several sites of their body such as their scalp or even eyebrows & eyelashes.

Are you at risk of having trichotillomania?

If you have trichotillomania, it seems that you use the habit of pulling hair to express and satisfy what you feel in providing a measure of relief. But many times, it is also often used as a way of dealing with uncomfortable /negative feelings like frustration, anxiety, stress, or even fatigue.

image_illustration99While the exact cause of this disorder is unclear, experts have confirmed that there are some risk factors. These include [1]:

  1. Age, it is more common in the ages of 11 to 13 years-old. However, it can affect people of all ages. And unfortunately, many times it can be a chronic (a lifetime problem).
  2. Gender. It is unclear whether gender has an effect. But so far, the statistic shows that it is more common in women. Experts theorize that this may be because men with trichotillomania are less likely to find help /medical advice than women with trichotillomania. In fact, the number of boys and girls who are reported have trichotillomania is equal.
  3. Having a family history of trichotillomania. Though is not clear yet whether this disorder can be inherited, but some experts think that it may run in family.
  4. Other disorders (especially mental disorders) may also have an effect. In fact, many people with trichotillomania also have anxiety disorder, depression, and/or eating disorders.

Furthermore, trichotillomania is also often associated with other problems such as skin picking or nail biting disorder.

What are the complications?

As mentioned before, the problem can be chronic and harder to treat – particularly in adults. But in children, it is often successfully cured.

Since this disorder is majorly characterized by pulling hair, there is a chance for permanent hair loss to occur [2]. The intensity and duration of the pulling can significantly affect the prognosis of how severe the hair loss problem will be.

Other possible complications include:

  1. Skin damage and infection. The constant hair pulling is not only bad for hair, but also can be potential to cause skin abrasions, damage, or even infection – particularly for the skin of the scalp or other sites with hair.
  2. Embarrassment due to excessive hair loss may cause social problem. For instances, the spot of baldness or thinning hair on the scalp may make people with trichotillomania tend to avoid haircuts, swimming, or always wear hat /wig.
  3. All of the complications above eventually can increase the risk of having emotional distress, anxiety, or depression.

In addition, people with trichotillomania also often eat the hairs that they pull. This can increase the risk of having medical condition called trichobezoars.

The accumulation of balls of hair in the body can be very dangerous for the digestive system, because they can obstruct the digestive track. Surgery can be used to remove the balls of hair in the digestive track.

Two possible types of hair you will see when you pull it

When you pull your hair, it could be:

  1. Pulled out hair without its follicle. This means that the hair is in the phase of resting (telogen).
  2. Or with its follicle – this means that the hair is actively growing or in the phase called anagen.

The follicle shrinks and hair shaft (hair that you can see) is more likely to become fragile in the telogen phase. Therefore, you tend to see it without its follicle when you pull it.

Each follicle has its own life cycle. While some follicles are going with telogen phase, some can go with catagen phase (the transition phase between the active phase and resting phase) and most go with anagen phase.

See this section for more detailed information about the life cycle of your hair.

Do pulled out hair grow back naturally?

Yes, they do. Typically, the pulled-out hair with its follicle can regrow on its own. However there are also some factors that can affect the prognosis.

The following are some factors that can be potential to affect the outlook and prognosis of a pulled-out hair follicle.