Television personality Nikki Grahame revealed for the first time she has been battling an addiction to plucking her own eyebrows from the age of ten. The troubled 33-year-old now has large, permanent patches where hair cannot grow after suffering from trichotillomania, an impulse control condition causing a compulsive need to pull out hair.[contentblock id=1]
The Big Brother contestant, from Watford, couldn’t step outside the house without using an eyeliner to fill in the gaps in her brows but has now had semi-permanent treatment to transform their appearance. Trichotillomania is affects up to four per cent of the UK population, mainly women. Nikki said: ‘I’ve been plucking my eyebrows since the age of 10 and from my teens I was pretty much doing it everyday. ‘It had become like an addiction, if I passed a mirror I would have to fiddle with them.’
She is devastated that obsessive plucking of her eyebrows has left permanent damage. ‘In the past few years I’ve noticed bigger and bigger gaps in the brow line where hair won’t grow back. ‘There are now two big gaps on both sides, right in the middle of the brows and I have to put on eyeliner pencil to cover them up every time I go out. ‘I’ve been told they will probably never grow back and I’m really upset about it.'[contentblock id=2]
This is not the first time Nikki has spoken out about her problems. She has always been vocal about her struggle with anorexia which she suffered with from the age of eight. During a gymnastics class, another girl commented that Nikki looked ‘fat’ in her leotard. It was this combined with family upheaval that triggered her eating disorder. Her disorder was so severe, at 15 she weighed just 4st 3lb.
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The lifelong struggle has left her unable to have children naturally because she’s never had a period. She has always been open about her anorexia but this is the first time she has opened up about her trichotillomania. Nikki said: ‘I wish I could go back in time and tell my younger self to stop doing this. ‘I would like to warn other girls of the problems of over plucking their eyebrows, sometimes they don’t ever come back.'[contentblock id=3]
She’s not the only high-profile sufferer of the condition which results in a compulsive urge to pull out the hairs on eyelashes, eyebrows, legs, arms, hands and in extreme cases even the hair on the scalp. Samantha Faiers, who starred in The Only Way is Essex, has admitted her struggle with a compulsion to pull out her eyelashes. She uses false eyelashes to hide the damage caused. Nikki is now speaking out after having semi-permanent brow treatment at the Debra Robson LDN clinic in Harley Street give her back the appearance of full eyebrows.