Gail Porter, the TV presenter who went public about her battle with Alopecia Universalis in 2005, has started losing her hair again, just weeks after showing off a new cropped, blonde hairstyle on GMTV.
Following the breakdown of her marriage in 2005, Porter suffered from post-natal depression and was reported to have problems with drugs which ultimately led to her attempting suicide. It’s thought the extreme stress she underwent in this period caused the first bout of Alopecia Universalis, which led to her losing all her long blonde hair in a short space of time.
Alopecia Universalis is one of the most extreme forms of Alopecia and is relatively uncommon. As well as causing total baldness on the scalp, it can also cause loss of body hair and damage to nails.
Despite suffering from the condition for five years, Porter refused to wear a wig, choosing instead to use her experience to increase awareness of hair loss conditions around the UK. She has spoken publicly and frequently about the problems she has faced as a result of Alopecia Universalis, even taking part in a TV documentary, BBC One’s ‘Gail Porter laid bare’ to highlight the condition. Porter is also an ambassador for the Little Princess Trust, a charity that provides wigs to children experiencing hair loss.
During the early years of her Alopecia Universalis, Porter was informed by doctors that her case was so severe she could expect to remain bald permanently, as there was little-to-no chance of her hair re-growing.
Contrary to this, early in 2010, Porter’s hair did begin to grow back. It was first noted in January, when she attended a film première with clear re-growth visible. Although patchy at first, by March it was estimated she’d regained about 75% of her hair, and by her GMTV appearance in August, her hair appeared to be fully re-grown, dyed and styled into a cute crop. Consequently, many believed she had finally overcome her condition. Porter credited the re-growth to beating her depression and the happiness she has found with her new boyfriend, Jonny Davies, and daughter Honey.
Unfortunately, she took to Twitter this week to announce that the condition looked to have returned. Posted alongside a picture of a new bald patch on the back of her head was the message ‘bit of hair falling out again’. She instantly received messages of support from around the globe, as she prepares to face the possibility of losing her hair again.
The severity of Alopecia Universalis makes it almost impossible to treat, sufferers can only hope for spontaneous re-growth, as Porter did. As Universalis is not a form of scarring Alopecia, the follicles are not dysfunctional, merely dormant and can re-generate at any time.
Unfortunately, this means they can also return to dormancy at any time and many sufferers are forced through an endless cycle of shedding and regrowth.