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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

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Patty on

Wow some people are so mean..I’m sure it took her real courage. Anxiety comes in many forms its not far to judge!

Jes on

As someone who has Trichotillominia. I can tell you it is nothing like biting your nails. She is lucky, she only pulls out her lashes. It could be worse, she could have it as bad as I do and pull out all her hair. Tric is an OCD caused by stressed and even if you are not stressed and you have it really bad, you pull no matter what mood you are in.

makeuparteeeeest on

I’m not sure I love the way People handled this article. I mean, you address a difficult ailment that many women deal with and then end with
“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.”
Like, so I have this issue triggered by my anxiety and inability to cope, but Body Shoppe lip balm and a hair tie keep me all pulled together? It turns an interesting topic to dismissable fluff.

Ceeteefeebs on

This article literally took my breath away because until this moment I felt completely alone… I’ve been pulling my eyelashes since I was in the fifth grade (I’m 31 now), and it has brought me so much shame in my life… Times when I won’t go out in public, get my hair cut (it’s been over two years) or hang out with friends because I am so embarrassed and worried people will notice and say something (and oh, how they have). I wish I could shake Olivia Munn’s hand as thank her. And also to thank those of you suffering from the same disorder who have spoken up here. It means so much to me! And also: it’s nothing like biting nails. There is shame, embarrassment, and self-hatred involved. It’s more like cutting I believe.

Jadys on

I actually suffer to something similar when I get stressed. I pick at the skin on my lips. I can do it when I’m bored, but it definitely gets worse as the stress piles on.

Janet0976 on

I do this with the skin around my nails. I am very ashamed of my hands sometimes. Ugh.

Smithy on

Wow….who knew this was such an issue. Good for her for speaking out.

guest on

Cindy and Sophia you are ruthless. She seems pretty genuine to me. She’s willing to talk about her anxiety and mental health issues, which have a tremendous stigma worldwide. Good for her! She’s beautiful and confident enough to talk about it.

Megan on

I have the same thing.

Lisa on

I do the same thing. Eyelashes and eyebrows. Sometimes I have gaps, but I’m lucky to have thick long lashes and brows. Didn’t know it was a “condition”.

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