Will My Hair Grow Back?

Harris Harrington answers questions related to hair regrowth and Trichotillomania recovery.

bald patches

Many trich sufferers ask “Will my hair ever grow back?”.

The short answer to this question is yes, your hair will grow back. In a minority of cases, permanent damage may be caused to the scalp. This tends to happen more in people who use instruments to pull out hair like tweezers. Even then, most hairs will grow back for reasons described below.

In the short term, depending on how much you pull, you will have bald spots.

You may wonder “Why doesn’t my hair grow back immediately after pulling?”

The reason is that hair actually grows in three stages: anagen, catagen, and telogen phases. Anagen is a growth phase that lasts from 2-5 years, catagen is a transition phase that lasts 2-3 weeks, and telogen is a resting phase that last from 2-4 months (in scalp hair). When you pull out hair, you prematurely put it in a telogen phase. It must naturally go through this resting phase before growth occurs again. This will take several months. Don’t worry if your hair doesn’t immediately grow back. Give it a few months and it will.

You may also ask yourself:

“If I see a white bulb at the end of my hairs when I pull them out, does that mean I pulled out the root? Will my hair grow back even then?”

The answer to that question is generally yes. The reason is that the area in which hairs are generated is referred to as the dermal papilla (papillae for plural). In this area new hairs are formed. Around the papilla is the bulb. When you pull out the bulb of the hair, the papilla is usually left intact in your head, so new hairs will still grow from it. The bulb you see on many hairs you pull out is not the same as the root.

Does men’s hair grow faster or slower than women’s?

Men’s hair generally grows slower on the scalp, but faster on the body.

Will hair regrow from my eyebrows?

Yes, as long as the follicles and dermal papillae are not damaged, they will regrow just as scalp hair regrows. Eyebrow hair that has been pulled out will also have to go through a resting phase (telogen) before it regrows.

In most cases, your hair will regrow if you stop, or even just decrease your pulling to only a few hairs pulled a week. Once you get to only a hair or two a week, you will not cause any noticeable hair loss.
It’s also important to keep in mind that the average human sheds over 25 hairs a day.

What if my hair doesn’t regrow?

In the off chance that your hair doesn’t regrow, or if you damaged your scalp via dermatillomania (skin picking and scratching) there is still hope for a full head of hair.

The answer is hair transplantation.

Hair transplantation in the first world is rather expensive, and can cost thousands upon thousands of dollars. In Thailand these costs are much lower, and the quality of work, if you select a good specialist, can be under a thousand dollars.

The most common method of hair transplantation is known as Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) which is where hairs are extracted from one part of the scalp and implanted in another.