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BTOB K-Pop Star Peniel Explains Why He Kept His Hair Loss Secret

Many people with hair loss often worry about how it may affect their career, but when your profession involves your image and being in the public eye this pressure can become intense.

After being asked by his parents if he wanted to give up being in a band because of the bald patches he was experiencing, Peniel Shin of K-Pop group BTOB decided to open up about his hair loss. Korean pop culture website Soompi reports that the 23 year old spoke out after suffering from Alopecia Areata for five years.

btob-peniel-shin-alopecia-areataKept hair loss secret

During a TV show called “Hello Counselor,” the Chicago-born Korean American explained that he had kept his alopecia a secret ‘because of his fans’. However, after such a long time of hiding his hair loss, often under caps and bandanas, he wanted to come clean.

After removing his hat on the show, where his hair was kept very short to blend in patches of hair loss, Peniel ‘said he feels so relieved to finally have it out in the open’, reports Soompi. “I wanted to just confidently show it, but because of everyone else [I had kept it hidden], ” he said.

The TV host questioned Peniel about why he wanted to come on the show and whether it was to promote BTOB’s new album. The singer responded: “I really came because I’m stressed about my hair. For about five years, I’ve experienced hair loss. At first my hairstylist just said, ‘There’s a hole in your hair,’ but it continued to get worse. Every week, I’d get a new bald spot.”

This description is characteristic of the autoimmune disorder Alopecia Areata which can present in men, women or children. This results in sudden, signature rounded bald spots anywhere on the scalpl, as opposed to gradually thinning hair around the top of the scalp and/or hairline only, which is the common pattern of shedding for people with genetic hair loss. As the popstar explained to viewers: “Hereditarily, people lose hair from the crown or from the front, but I’m just losing hair in various spots.”

After being examined at a hospital, Peniel was told he had lost 70 per cent of his hair and they were uncertain as to whether or not it would grow back.

In most cases of Alopecia Areata the hair will regrow within 12 months, however if or whether this will happen cannot be predicted. Very little is known about the precise mechanism of the disorder and why hair grows back in some cases but not others. It is very much a waiting game, although there is effective alopecia areata treatment available which can help people to regain their hair in mild-to-moderate instances.

Stress-related hair loss

Peniel’s fellow BTOB band members – Eunkwang, Minhyuk, and Hyunsik – also appeared on the show with him. The supportive friends said they had wondered if the band’s promotional work should be cut short so that Peniel could go back home to America as his hair loss had shown signs of improvement after being there during a previous visit. Peniel did not want to let his bandmates or fans down, however, and decided to carry on as normal – except for the fact that he would no longer hide his hair loss.

The reason the star’s bald patches may have improved when he was at home and not working could be related to one of the triggers of Alopecia Areata – stress.

Sudden shock, trauma or extreme stress are known to be able to bring on Alopecia Areata in some people. Given the demands of his K-pop promo and performance schedules, compacted by cultural differences and the worry of hiding his hairloss in order to maintain his image for the fans, it is likely that stress was a factor in Peniel developing this disorder. Perhaps the chance to rest gave his body the chance to rest and stop mistakenly attacking his hair follicles, allowing new hair growth.

Other celebrities who have had Alopecia Areata include Little Mix singer Jesy Nelson, the woman behind the America’s Next Top Model franchise, Tyra Banks, and the original Superman, Christopher Reeve. It has even been a topic of discussion in recent TV shows including blackish and the Real Housewives of New York, helping to raise the profile and awareness of this autoimmune condition which affects around two per cent of people worldwide.

If you are concerned about suddenly developing bald patches, contact a hair loss specialist as soon as possible. They can then diagnose your condition and recommend treatment, where appropriate, accordingly.


Circ - The Belgravia Centre Treatment for Hair LossThe Belgravia Centre

The Belgravia Centre is the leader in hair loss treatment in the UK, with two clinics based in Central London. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our Online Consultation Form from anywhere in the UK or the rest of the world. View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which are the largest collection of such success stories in the world and demonstrate the levels of success that so many of Belgravia’s patients achieve. You can also phone 020 7730 6666 any time for our hair loss helpline or to arrange a free consultation.


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