It’s Celebrity Big Brother time again and this year’s early favourite to win is one of our favourite bald stars, Gail Porter.
The 44 year old’s appearance in the TV show coincides with Alopecia Awareness month, helping to raise the profile of her condition, Alopecia Areata.
Addressing her baldness
When asked what irritates her most, the former children’s TV presenter, who has spoken frankly about her battle with hair loss, as well as OCD and bipolar disorder, quipped, “just anyone with hair“.
Speaking about being bald in her traditional pre-entry video, Porter confesses, “Alopecia is something that I haven’t fully understood myself, but apparently it can be a stress-related or a hormone-related illness, where your hair falls out”.
Although not much is known about its precise cause, Alopecia Areata is actually believed to be an autoimmune condition which has a number of triggers, including stress, as Gail mentioned. Recent research has also found that people with Alopecia Areata are more likely to suffer from other disorders, including depression – something the endearing Scottish star has dealt with openly.
No body hair
There are three types of Alopecia Areata. First there is Alopecia Areata itself – the most common form – which causes patchy hair loss from anywhere on the scalp. Next is Alopecia Totalis which causes baldness of the scalp and can also cause the eyelashes, eyebrows and facial hair to fall out. Lastly, Alopecia Universalis is the most severe form which causes total hair loss from head to toe.
By noting her complete lack of body hair as an upside to her condition, Porter revealed that her hair loss has progressed to Alopecia Universalis.
Although minoxidil – a recognised hair loss treatment for androgenic alopecia – has been seen to produce significant regrowth results in the early stages of Alopecia Areata, there are currently no effective treatments for Alopecia Universalis or Alopecia Totalis. Research into this area is burgeoning, however, with tofacitinib citrate, also known by its brand name Xeljanz, currently displaying positive outcomes during clinical trials. Side-effects of using this drug are still thought to be of concern so studies are on-going.
September is Alopecia Awareness month
This year the ‘UK v US’ Celebrity Big Brother house opened its doors at the end of August, with the majority of the five-week series taking place during September. The timing fits nicely for hair loss charities hoping to gain attention for their cause during Alopecia Awareness month which takes place in September.
Gail Porter has already gained waves of public support – with bookmakers putting her at 8/1 to win – and has even won over the notoriously hard-faced Katie Hopkins. The former CBB alum tweeted her encouragement, saying: “Bloody love Gail Porter. Go on you big bald bird. Hair is over-rated. Powder and go.”
This annual event helps to raise the profile and understanding of the condition, which is the second most common hair loss condition and affects around two per cent of the population worldwide. All forms of Alopecia Areata affect both men and women equally, and can also present in children. Although the condition may clear up naturally with hair regrowing on its own within around 12 months, due to the unpredictable nature of the condition – which causes follicles to get stuck in the dormant phase of the hair growth cycle – whether or not this will happen, or when, is impossible to predict.
Everyone at Belgravia wishes Gail all the best with her Celebrity Big Brother stint and we look forward to watching her progress against fellow contestants who include rapper Fatman Scoop and Atomic Kitten’s Natasha Hamilton. Anyone wanting to support Gail via social media should tweet using the hashtag #CBBGAIL.
The 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.