I Rub My Eyebrow, Til I Go Mad...

Interested if anyone out there rubs their eyebrows obsessively like me. I was hoping if anyone knew the secret to stopping this silly habit...
Francis67 Francis67
36-40, M
27 Responses Nov 25, 2007

I have this problem as well, especially when I am sitting still--at my desk studying, for example. My ongoing experimental solution is a stress ball! You know, the handheld ones people compress and release when they're stressed? It gives my hands something to do away from my face, and it does help to reduce the stress that I suspect is the root of the eyebrow ripping problem in the first place!
Also, you feel the urge to pull or pluck, pray it out! "God, You made me the way I am--unique. Jesus died for all of my sins. You love us at our worst...and our weirdest. Please help the urge subside to give in to this weird habit!"

I have nearly tears in my eyes to see that there are other people with the same habit as I do for years now... I am 30 and and I am rubbing my eyelashes and eyebrow for more than 13 years now, so many times I tried to stop it, but it never lasted more than few days... whenever I am in deep thought or stress I do it so much until my finger, hand and eyebrow nerves hurt so much... I searched that many times but never ended in a relevant website except this time!

I have had the same problem for the last 19 years. I don't directly pull out my eyebrow hair but I rub it downward and some hairs are broken in the process. I searched a lot online to find a solution and althoughit is comforting to see that there are otheres who are facing this issue in this world, I couldn't find a direct solution. Whatever that this problem is, it is for sure a compulsive disorder, rooted in anxiety disorder. I found a website that gives really good steps for quitting compulsive behaviors. It is written in general terms and not specifically about the eyebrow problem, but I found the 5 steps they presented very applicable to my problem and I am definitely going to incorporate them in my life. The big lesson I learned from this training was to not force yourself to stop your ritual, as it may strengthen the urge, instead try to do what you CAN do to maybe reduce it a little or change it and over time you will finally get the strength to completely let go of it. Here is the link to the website I was referring to
Best of luck to all of you who are fighting this. It is so brave to fight yourself!!

I do this too. I have been diagnosed with OCD and my therapist didn't really know why I rub my eyebrows and hadn't known anyone else who did it in her many years working in the field. I know I started this annoying habit around the same time I remember my obsessive thoughts and compulsions beginning, around age 12. I'm guessing the two problems are linked somehow. I know of no ways to stop doing this except to pay really close attention to what your hands are doing at all times. If you're more aware of your hands you'll be more able to stop yourself from doing it and eventually (hopefully) quit having the urge to rub your eyebrows at all. I'm still trying to stop doing it because it really embarrasses me when my hairs fall out and my eyebrows look goofy, as well as when people catch me doing it (even when I'm unaware I'm doing it) and think I'm nuts or something. It's a real struggle and I wish you the best of luck beating the habit.

I found that I do this when I am deep in thought.

I don't know how long ive been doing this but i can't stand it, i have been putting banbandaids on my eyebrows

Okay, so I have a similar problem. I used to play with my parent's eyebrows when I was a baby. Probably a security thing. I also played with the ends of my mom's hair (also a security thing, I'm guess). But as I grew up, I started playing with the ends of my hair too. Not only that though, instead of the eyebrow thing, it's my eyelashes. And I've been doing it for as long as I can remember. From what everyone else has described, my eyelash playing is the exact as those who play with their eyebrows, just a little lower. I do it until my eyelids are sore and my eyelashes are all uneven and corse. Does anyone know why this is? I've never met anyone else who does this and neither has my therapist. And every time I try to look it up, only trichotillomania comes up which this obviously isn't (that is until I found this page). I'm not pulling out my eyelashes and it doesn't seem like any of you are pulling out your eyebrows. Maybe it's just one giant bad habit. I mean, if we started as babies and our habits were never seen as "wrong" like thumb-sucking for example, we were never forced to stop. So now we're here with this habit that basically seems impossible to break. Glad to know I'm not the only person who does this, although it does seem like I'm the only one playing with my eyelashes... I hope we can all find answers because it's annoying. While it is comforting and soothing and half the time I don't even really notice I'm doing it, I do wish I could stop. And I've tried! Glad I'm not crazy though! (By the way, I'm 20)

I do this also until the point where the area around my eyebrow aches. I find though that aloe Vera gel with menthol such as after sun gels soothes the heated feeling but also gives a cool stingy feeling that you get from pulling on them. Also it flattens them back down to prevent curling. I really hopes this helps.

I am 45 and have rubbed my eyebrows since I was a teenager. I've been able to stop for up to a year then start it again, causing gaps in my brows. A very hard habit to stop

I for sure understand i just wish i knew how to stop

I have always had really weird habits ever since I was a toddler. My parents told me that when I was really little, I used to pet my childhood dog really hard and grind my teeth. It was super weird, but it was funny, so they never really tried to stop me from doing it. I used to also grind my teeth really badly while I slept, and I ended up developing TMJ, which thankfully, I don't seem to have that problem anymore. I used to play with my lips and fold them over with my hands and teeth, which looks super weird to other people I could imagine. I don't really do that anymore. My Mom is a very high-strung person and very susceptible to stress, and I think I take after her a lot with that. My Dad suffered from OCD habits when he was younger; for example, he used to work at a fast food restaurant when he was in his late teens, early twenties, and he would wash his hands so obsessively that they would bleed from dryness and cracking. I think these things I have in "inherited" from my parents have played a big part on why I keep having such weird, embarrassing, frustrating, etc. habits throughout my life. I'm only 21 years old, so hopefully, this is something that will wear off as I age. I eat a lot when I'm stressed or anxious, and I always have an appetite. I've always been a big eater, but it's really gotten to me now since I am older and in college, trying to support myself. I've gained a lot of weight since my senior year in high school because of that. Above all of that, I have this same horrible habit of rubbing my eyebrows. I also rub the roots of my hair back and forth and catch a chunk of hair underneath my fingernail following me pulling it down. I do the same exact things with my eyebrows, but it's way worse with them. It's so embarrassing, and honestly, sometimes I feel hopeless and like I'm never going to be able to stop. There was a few times in the past where the habit would go as far as keeping me from doing anything. I would just sit and do it and end up not being productive at all. When I'm occupied with something, I do it a lot less, but I always find myself doing it when I'm just relaxing. If I get really stressed or anxious, I do it like crazy. Sometimes, I don't even notice that I'm doing it. This sounds weird, but it feels really good. I just like the way it feels on my eyebrows and fingers. It's almost comforting, but it gets to the point where I do it so much it's frustrating and stressful. My parents notice it, my boyfriend notices it, and I sometimes feel that other people notice it when I get too comfortable around them or when I'm in public. I've talked to both my parents and boyfriend about it, and they don't understand the habit it all. I wouldn't either if I was them. It's seriously so weird. My eyebrows are always sticking up all weird and messed up. I do it so much that sometimes, that part of my face is left sore and hairs will randomly fall out. When I get my eyebrows waxed, the cosmetologist always asks about why my eyebrows look like they do. I just tell her that I don't know. I was really surprised when I become really bored and decided to Google it. I never thought I would find this many people that have the same habit. I've never seen or met anyone else doing it, so I thought I was just really weird. I was able to keep myself from doing it at all for about 3 or 4 weeks, and then, one day, I just found myself doing it again when I was really anxious to hear from a company I had a job interview with. I've been doing it non-stop again since then. I do not pull my hair out at all like I've been reading about people doing. My boyfriend gets on to me about it as well as my mother, but that doesn't help at all. I've been restraining from doing it for the past hour or so, and I obsessively think about it. I do it mostly when I'm alone and not occupied. It honestly makes me feel psychotic. I think I now understand why people smoke cigarettes. Luckily, I've never fallen into that habit. I've never taken any medication except for antibiotics. I've always had to be doing something unless I'm just really exhausted after work or exercising. When I'm watching TV or just laying in bed on my phone, is when it's the easiest to do it. I've always wondered if I had ADD or ADHD, but I've never gotten tested because I know how to eventually get myself to focus at school or work. I used to be really hyperactive, but that slowly went away as I matured in my teenage years. I've struggled with insomnia and bad sleeping patterns ever since I can remember as well. If I'm not playing with my eyebrows, I find myself doing some other really weird habit of mine. But, above everything, this is absolutely the worst problem I've had even though it may sound stupid and like such a small problem.

Oh my god, dude. I have every single one of those habits. Only instead of the dog, it was the cats, and my little brother. Dear lord. If you get this message me, please.

I can't thank you enough for sharing! EVERYTHING you wrote sounds exactly like me. I used to scratch my parents' heads when I was little. I sucked my thumb. Basically, everything you wrote sounds like my life. I starte rubbing when I was 15, and I'm almost 39. I feel so weird and crazy sometimes.

Thank you again for sharing!

I started crying when I reached the middle of your story and by the end of it I was crying furiously. Your story (minus the dog part) is exactly like mine. High strung and stressed out parents, people thinking it's weird and trying to make me stop, bad sleeping patterns since childhood, Obsessive-compulsive behavior and sitting around not being productive because of it. I fear ever finding out how many hours I've wasted scratching at my eyebrows. It's like I'm in a deep trance that can only stop once I stop touching my eyebrows. It's so relaxing and comforting that I justify doing it. I tell myself it's not as harmful as drugs or smoking cigarettes but deep down I know it's harming my self-esteem. I have the very same experience when I go to get my eyebrows waxed or threaded. The lady will be flabbergasted and say something like "what happened to your eyebrows?? They is a big space!" To which I would respond "the last lady that did them messed them up" lol man it feels so good to know that they is someone else out there who understands what I'm going through and how hard it is to break the habit. It's like a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders and in the split second after reading your story and drying my eyes I was relieved of a mountain of anxiety. Thank you so much for sharing your story, you helped me more than you will ever know. Thank you, thank you,thank you.

I rub my eyebrows a least a couple times a day.. Which is awful .-. I do a good job at doing my make up so I just color them in and not rub them in public. But whats funny is that when I go to get my eyebrows done I lady who does them says " ohhh no honey what happend!?" And I said the same thing you did.. " the last time I got them done she messed m eyebrows up." Lol but in the moment I felt like she was thinking I am crazy or something. Make me feel better that someone else has gone though the same issue.

1 More Response

I'm 13. Doesn't matter what age u are really but I only DID this cuz I thought my eye brows were sticking up and my hairs were curving up. But I stopped cuz I noticed how stupid I looked touchn them every sec. So I stopped. I used to do it all the time in 2011 but its been 2 years and I ever so often do it. U just need to try to do it less than stop doing it. Then u will stop. :) hope this helps

I'm 13. Doesn't matter what age u are really but I only DID this cuz I thought my eye brows were usticking up and my hairs were curving up. But I stopped cuz I noticed how stupid I looked touchn them every sec. So I stopped. I used to do it all the time in 2011 but its been 2 years and I ever so often do it. U just need to try to do it less than stop doing it. Then u will stop. :) hope this helps

I do, I'm in my twenties and have been doing it since I was a baby. I can't stop it just happens for what ever reason, half the time I don't even realize I'm doing it till someone points it out. I don't know about you but I always seem to do it when I'm tired, bored, stressed or deep in thought. I didn't think there was anyone else out there that did it too. Good to know I'm not alone.

I know im happy to not be alone

Omg! I do this too. Its so bad that I finally decided to google it and it lead me here. As far as I know I have been rubbing my eyebrows since I was 18, that's my earliest pinpoint anyway. I am 29 now. I do it ALL the time! Sometimes just one hand at a time and sometimes both hands at once. I rub the hairs with my fingers back and forwards, grab the hairs in between my thumb and index finger and twist/curl/rub between my fingers and nail. I do it when I'm relaxing, sometimes its ages before I realize I'm doing it. Like when reading a book. (I'm doing it now!! ) I also do it excessively when I am tired, stressed, upset. My eyebrows are still there but there are gaps sometimes. A big part of me really wants to stop this behavior. But I don't know how to. And it is very comforting to me. I have high anxiety alot of the time and I am working through alot of emotional things so playing with my eyebrows is like the one constant comfort I have. I couldn't imagine not doing it. But the reason I HAVE to stop is my hands. =( =( My hands, fingers thumbs... they are CONSTANTLY very very sore. And I know it is from the eyebrow playing. The other habit I have which I've had much longer, possibly since I was a little girl, is twirling my hair. So that with my eyebrows, my hands are so f**ked!

I was thinking hypnotherapy? !! ??

Thanks for the suggestion of the tape btw. I will try that. =) And thanks to all for sharing their stories.

I do this also until the point where the area around my eyebrow aches. I find though that aloe Vera gel with menthol such as after sun gels soothes the heated feeling but also gives a cool stingy feeling that you get from pulling on them. Also it flattens them back down to prevent curling. I really hopes this helps.

I'm 16 years old and I have been rubbing my eyebrows for probably a year now. Back when I was about 14 I had an obsession with touching my eyelashes and twisting them between my fingers, but they began to fall out. I stopped and didn't have a habit for a year, but now I catch myself pushing up the hairs of my eyebrows and then bending them between my pointer finger and my thumb and rubbing them! People are starting to notice it more and more often. I do it when I am taking a test, reading, looking at my phone. I can't stop. What is so appealing to me about this? Somebody help!

I do this also until the point where the area around my eyebrow aches. I find though that aloe Vera gel with menthol such as after sun gels soothes the heated feeling but also gives a cool stingy feeling that you get from pulling on them. Also it flattens them back down to prevent curling. I really hopes this helps.

1. Put masking tape over your eyebrows when you're at home.

2. Put conditioner or cream on your eyebrows if they're really frayed to help them go back down. Pencil them in if necessary.

Those are my suggestions. Tape makes me stop from trying to touch them. Which I also do it when I'm tired, stressed, worried, relaxing or playing with my phone. Sometimes it keeps me from getting things done - its embarrassing. I don't do it in public but sometimes it happens if I'm exhausted or really comfortable with the people Im with. I hate doing it! It feels good while I'm doing it but it always frustrates me that I cannot stop. They get all frayed and stick up, it looks stupid. If I have to go out somewhere my eyebrows look ridiculous cause they stick up in every direction. Hahaha so the tape and lotion works for me! Those are just tricks. I want to STOP completely.

Good I'm not the only one. I rub it until it hurts!!
Sometimes I'm self conscious about it.
When someone looks at me, I automatically stop.
I've started to notice that half my eyebrow is coming off. That can't be good.
You should treat it like any other bad habit.
Try to have self control.

i have done this since i could remember, and it just seems to be getting worse. it really bugs me and the people im around. sometimes i dont even know im doing it. tried shaving them off, tried growing them out. im finger picking or pressing on my hair line if it aint the brows. today i cant seem to do it enough and it starting to hurt. (but that don't stop us!)

I too have this problem...
I've been rubbing at my eyebrows on the brow bone since I was very young. My parents thought its was cute but as I got older and there's little red marks and even scabs it has become a real issue for me. I pluck my eyebrows but when they begin growing back course, it's such an addictive and comforting sensation to play with the hair with the tips of my fingers or the nails which often makes them curl. Can't stop!!!! It's usually web I'm tired but sometimes it's when I'm just looking at my phone in bed or in class if I'm bored. I've tried putting plasters or band aids over my brows but that looks ridiculous! Hypnotherapy? Any ideas on how to stop?!?!

My boyfriend does it also. He does it when he is relaxing, thinking deeply, and when he is tired. Not only does he rub his own but, mine as well. I was curious what this urge or sensation is? I equate it to a person sucking their thumb...etc.? Is this still called Trichotillomania..even if he only rubs his eyebrows...no pulling out??

my reasons are the exact same! I'm not balding from it though. I do it especially when I smoke weed. It's relaxing

I have been rubbing my eyebrows since I can remember too! I never realized what I was doing until my dad pointed it out a couple of years ago. It is soooo addicting and it is a stress reliever. I have to pencil my eyebrows to make them even. But I honestly can't say that I wanna stop it. I do it all the time and sometimes I wish I didn't do it.

I have always twisted and pulled on my hair since I was a baby. I am now 33 years old and can't stop rubbing my eyebrows. I only started doing this 3 years ago and cannot stop myself. When I am stressed out or have anxiety it gets so bad that I leave bald spots. I hate this habit.

I've been rubbing my eyebrows since I was 10 or 11 and I'm 16 now. It's just when I start doing it I can't stop. It's kind of addicting. I'm afraid one day i'll have to use and eyebrow pencil because of the hair that falls off. BTW as I'm tying I'm rubbing them now.

I am a 38 year old female and have been rubbing at my eyebrows off and on since I was a teenager. Prior to this, I would rub/twist the fuzz on my stuffed animals until I fell asleep. Just as my stuffed animals had bald patches, so too do my eyebrows today. I have been told that this is a form of trichotilomania. I know of no cure! However, I have had periods of time where I would sit on my hands to stop rubbing and eventually, the urges subsided. I try to have a sense of humor about it!

I made my stuffed animals bald, too! I plucked at them while I was falling asleep. it started at the seems where the nap got caught and was irregular, But then I had to even out the patches, and eventually, I just HAD to make the whole thing smooth! Now i go thorugh spells of plucking lashes or brows because they are different from the other lashes or brows, or not in a perfectly straight line, but then -- oops! So more pulling! A sense of humor about it? Marvellous idea. Especially since it seems to be about an overseriousness.

I seem to rub my eyebrows non stop when I am stressed out or worried about something. Basically until half of my brow is gone. I wish I could stop!

I am a 30 yr old female and I started rubbing my eyebrows when I was about 10. I tend to rub my left eyebrow more than my right. I almost always have to fill in my brows w/ pencil due to me rubbing the hair off or very very short. I don't know why I do it or why I can't stop.

I have been rubbing my eyebrows for more than ten years. There have been many times where I have literally rubbed a gap in my right eyebrow. It seems to be a form of a stress reliever for me, but I tried many times to stop.