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Tee5226 , 03 Feb 2020

9 months of success with finger tape

I've pulled for the past 12 or so years, but I found a solution that has worked incredibly well for the last 9 months. Before this, I had been able to quit for two short periods through will power alone - once about 1 month and once for 5 months - but regressed both times under stressful situations. This time I've made it through many full stress situations without a problem.

Not trying to sell anything here so I won't name the brand, but I use a flexible clear tape that is sold at drug stores/pharmacies; it is intended for medical purposes and is transparent and breathable. It comes on a dispenser that looks like a normal tape dispenser. It costs ~$5 per dispenser which is expensive but I've only purchased 2 since I started and only used 1 cumulative roll since I started (I keep one at my desk at work and one in my purse).

I put a short piece (~1.5" long) around the pad of my finger so that it overlaps itself by ~0.5 inch and is secure, without cutting off circulation. I do one or both pointer fingers. I put the tape on first thing in the morning before any urge to pull. If you're just starting, tape any and all fingers you use to pull. It effectively numbs my finger pad and also prevents me from grasping a strand of hair. I had actually tried other kinds of tape before and I would always consciously or unconsciously remove the tape after a couple hours. This tape is super comfortable and it resists water so I can go all day at the office and completely wash my hands many times per day without removing it, which is critical. Because it is almost totally clear, it's very inconspicuous so I don't feel embarrassed wearing it. I haven't had the urge to pull my scalp hair for the past 5 months or so, even when I don't wear the tape.

So you don't get overly excited - I have historically pulled hair on my brows, eyelashes, and scalp, and since using the tape I have only stopped pulling my scalp (I've pulled maybe 20 hairs total since I started). I had decided not to worry about pulling brows or eyelashes when I first started using the tape (I use an eyebrow pencil so I don't really care what my brows look like). The tape significantly reduced all pulling behavior, but not 100% on the brows and lashes, and since I stopped wearing the tape I have pulled plenty in those areas. But I'm down from pulling more than 300 hairs per day on a typical day to less than 10 on my worst day now. So, I am immensely proud of myself for stopping the pulling behavior that caused 99% of my trich-related stress, but I haven't stopped all pulling behavior. My sister also has trich with her brows and lashes and she has not had complete success with the tape, although it has helped a lot.

On the positive side though, since I've had such great success with my scalp, I've decided to try targeting my brows and lashes over the past month. I've eliminated pulling on about 50% of those days, and been 100% successful on days when I use the tape. The only challenge is remembering/deciding to put on the tape in the morning. Hopefully I'll be posting back in another 6 months saying I've quit entirely!

Things I've tried that haven't worked long term:
- quitting my stressful job (seriously! Now I'm in an even more stressful job, so don't think you need to free yourself of stress to stop pulling.)
- cutting my hair to <2 inches long
- always keeping my hair clean
- wearing head coverings
- always working around other people
- keeping a count of the number of hairs I've pulled in a day on a sticky note, and stopping to add to my count every time I pull
- wearing page-turning thimbles on my fingers and various other kinds of tape
- using silly putty and other toys to distract my hands while I'm working
- keeping a bristle brush at my desk to stimulate my finger pads when I feel the urge to pull
- positive thinking/rewards, negative thinking/rewards, and will power
- going to a therapist

Ive seen posts on other forums about using a topical numbing solution you can use on your fingers. I hadn't tried that - I think that would work for me except I assume you have to reapply multiple times per day. The point of weakness with all solutions is that you have to decide to choose the prevention behavior instead of pulling. The fewer times per day I have to make the right decision, the better.

Hope this works for you!

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