Olivia Munn: 'I Find a Way to Work Around' My Lash-Pulling Disorder

07/18/2013 at 12:31 PM ET

Olivia Munn eyelashesAmanda Schwab/Startraks

It’s hard to believe when you see her confident performance on The Newsroom, but Olivia Munn suffers from anxiety so severe that it causes her to pull out her own eyelashes.

“It’s called trichotillomania,” the actress, 33, told PEOPLE Wednesday at the L’Oreal Women in Digital Awards in N.Y.C. “It’s the same thing as people who bite their nails.”

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Munn’s condition, which began when she was 26, is triggered by big social situations. “If I were to walk into someone’s birthday party, I’d have a bad anxiety attack,” she admits, which in turn causes her to start lash-pulling.

Fortunately, the star’s experience in the makeup chair has given her the know-how to put together an easy fix. “I just created my own little lash-band with individuals,” she says, adding that she has a powder mix that she applies to her eyelids to help the false lashes adhere.

The rest of her beauty routine is simple: relying on “a good lip balm [she likes a Body Shop one] and a hair tie” to beat the summer heat.

And her final beauty must: Showing off her freckles. “I’ve had them since I can remember … it’s just my skin,” she tells PEOPLE. “I don’t like it when people try to cover them up!”

Tell us: Do you have any beauty struggles like Munn does? How do you deal with them?

— Susannah Guthrie

FILED UNDER: Beauty , Cosmetics , Skincare
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Showing 62 comments

Courtney Parrish on

I also suffer from tric, focusing on my lashes, and up until a few months ago it seemed like I was alone in this struggle. Then hearing that costume designer for Pretty Little Liars, Mandi Line, also suffers from Tric and now Olivia it makes me feel better about my condition and that there are beautiful women out there who are also suffering but aren’t afraid to let people know. It’s very inspiring and makes me want to face things head on and be proud of who I am and not let this anxiety disorder effect my life! Kudos Olivia, proud to hear you be so open about your life!

Cindy on

Umm..this is the weirdest article I’ve ever read. Why do we need to know about her anxiety. I mean she hasn’t overcome it. She has just found a way to cover it up with fake lashes! If she has anxiety attacks at parties, then don’t go and save some lashes for later!

sandybeach28 on

I also live with trichotillomania and blog about it. I have been in The Huffington Post, Huffington Post Live and U.S. World News & Report Health discussing it. My goal is to be a voice for others that cannot be one for themselves. I have also reached out to People requesting a piece that would really educate people could be done. Here is my concern with this piece: I am not sure that her experience shared here really conveys the shame and fear people live with on a daily basis. For some it takes over their entire lives. It also does not share the amount of people that actually live with it. Around 5% of Americans live with it or 1 in 50 people. With those numbers it would be fabulous if a piece that would really educate would be done. I applaud Olivia for coming out to the world. I wonder is it just a mild irritant for her to live with the disorder or is it more severe for like the many others that have it.

Jess on

I’ve been living with Trich for 17 years and have done everything I could to stay out of the limelight for fear and shame of what others might think. Thank you for coming out about this and I second Sandy’s request for a full article that spreads awareness and understanding.

lilkunta on

jess : why is there fear and shame ? you pull your eyelasheds, you arent an axe murderer. I’d think the pain of pulling would help deter it but I guess not.

Nikki on

sandybeach28 what is your blog address?

Sophia on

She’s a *itch, so I’m glad she pulls her eyelashes out. Now if only she would shut up, life would be perfect.

Amelia on

I have been dealing with trich for over 15 years. It took me years to even be willing to talk about with family, let alone friends. It makes one embarrassed as ashamed. I have to draw on my eyebrows daily. And my eyelashes are spare. I finally realized that I couldn’t resent myself for it or blame myself. It’s an anxiety problem that is very hard to overcome. And to say she shouldn’t go to parties just to save her eyelashes is ridiculous. People with trich should be able to continue living their lives without worry that people will judge them for things that aren’t completely in teir control.

Kate524 on

Sandy please leave your blog address

JC on

I have suffered from tric for 17 years now, I pull out my hair and pick at my scalp. Also bite my nails. I found a solution to the nail biting – I just always have fake nails on so I can’t bite, but the hair pulling, I can’t stop. I would love to know Sandy’s blog address as well. It is good to know that we’re not alone.

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