Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Vera H. Price, MD, University of California – San Francisco, Department of Dermatology, 1701 Divisadero St., 3rd Floor, San Francisco CA, 94143, or email:


ABSTRACT:  Patients with trichotillomania often first present to dermatologists, as patients may be unaware of or deny hair pulling and seek an etiology for their hair loss. It therefore becomes the job of the dermatologist to correctly diagnose trichotillomania as well as offer treatment options. There appear to be three groups characterized by age of onset: preschool-age children, preadolescents to young adults, and adults. Young children often have a self-limited course of hair pulling. Adults frequently have psychiatric conditions associated with their trichotillomania. Preadolescents to young adults may benefit the most from active intervention, such as increasing awareness of hair pulling behaviors and behavior modification training. The approach of a patient by age of onset is helpful in guiding a dermatologist towards effective treatment options.