David Myers is one half of the BBC food show, The Hairy Bikers. In a recent interview with the Daily Mail, Myers, now 51 years old, discussed his experience of alopecia areata, the autoimmune condition that causes hair loss.
Myers was about 9 years old when his hair begun to fall out. It started shortly after his mum was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis; within two years she was confined to a wheelchair. A few years on, at the age of 14, Myers developed alopecia. He says, “Over a period of three weeks, I would wake up every morning to find clumps of hair clinging to my nylon sheets”. Myers explains, “The obvious cause was my mum’s illness, but I wasn’t overly anxious about it. I was too young to understand the reality of it at that point”.
The biggest concern for Myers was, he admits, that he was never going to get a girlfriend like his friends. Myers says he had great mates so bullying was not an issue; indeed he was confident enough to start a band and stand out front on stage playing bass. At 18, he fell in love and says his confidence was “boosted no end” as a result. He also says he had come to accept the way he looked, which made it easier for someone else to as well.
After graduating from university with a degree in Fine Art, Myers beat 3000 applicants to be offered a job in the makeup department at the BBC. His new employer offered to send Myers to a wig-maker and dock the cost out of his first pay packet. He turned them down. Interestingly, Myers says he does not think that would be a politically correct thing to do today.
Myers has worked the world over as a make-up artist on dramas and films helping create prosthetics and special effects.
Myers hair grew back when he was 40, following an emergency operation to remove a cyst on his brain. He reveals, “The medical profession will never admit that it was the pressure of that which stopped my hair growth, but I’m utterly convinced that it was.”
Myer says that the irony that he has now made his name as a Hairy Biker, is not lost on him. He adds, “Mind you, all of my mates, who are experiencing baldness for the first time, don’t find it quite so amusing.”
For some people with alopecia areata, the hair does return on its own, for others it does not. For some it will develop into a more severe form of the condition, alopecia totalis (no scalp hair) or alopecia universalis (no scalp or body hair). In some cases of alopecia areata, proven hair loss treatments have helped kick-start the hair growth cycle. Examples of success stories can be seen below.
Myers is right to point out that male pattern baldness can be distressing for a man. It is also possible to treat this type of hair loss. Minoxidil and Propecia can be used to create an individualized treatment programme.
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