Amazing Video Charts Teen's Daily Battle With Rare Hair-Plucking Condition

29/11/2013 11:30 | Updated 22 May 2015

A teenager took a photograph of herself every day for five years to make a series of astonishing videos of how a rare hair-plucking condition made her go bald.

Rebecca Brown, now 20, started pulling her hair out at the age of 12, and by the time she was 16 she was nearly bald.

Her condition deteriorated so much that at 19, she had so little hair left that she was forced to shave off what little remained.

She suffers from a rare disorder, called trichotillomania, that causes people to pull their hair out.

She explained: "Some people say trichotillomania is a result of childhood trauma but for me, pulling my hair has been a comfort thing. I do it a lot when I am stressed or upset."

Rebecca, from Essex, was initially unaware that her compulsion to pull her hair out was a medically recognised problem. It was the lack of online information about the syndrome that moved her to take action.

She said: "It was only when I did a Google search for 'hair pulling' when I was 14 years old that I discovered what Trichotillomania was. All that came up were three not-so-brilliant videos on the disorder.

"I decided to upload my own, no-holds-barred video about trichotillomania and explain what it is.

"I was astounded by the response it received. In a short matter of time, my video had notched up hundreds of thousands of views and comments.

"I realised that there was a huge group of people who suffered from the condition in silence."

Since then, Rebecca has posted videos and photos on all aspects of her struggle with trichotillomania, amassing millions of views on YouTube and turning her into an internet star.

She has been dubbed 'Trichotillomania Girl' and is regularly inundated with letters, sweets and gifts from her followers.

She said: "I get a lot of post from people who confide in me about their trichotillomania yet they haven't told their family or friends about it.

"I feel very blessed that people trust me like that."

Rebecca, who is completing her final year in Practical Filmmaking at MET Film School in London, says that making these videos has aided her recovery.

"It has given me a voice. I have found it hard to speak to counsellors about my problem but it has always felt easy to talk to a webcam."

A spokesperson for Trichotillomania Support, a resource for people with the disorder, said:

"Trichotillomania can often affect shy people who are afraid or nervous to ask for help.

"It is important that sufferers know they are not alone and they should not be ashamed of asking for support."

More information and help can be found on Trichotillomania Support's website,

Suggest a correction