There are multiple hair loss conditions spanning varying degrees of severity, from mild hair thinning to outright baldness. When one of the rarest and most extreme forms of hair loss struck the then-nine-year-old American football fan Tre Bryant, his reaction was common: “I felt pretty insecure about it,” he says.
Today Bryant is an up-and-coming football star at CBC (Christian Brothers College) in Saint Louis, Missouri and has accepted his condition as part of who he is. “I’ve let it be part of my personality and be a character trait,” he told local news website STLtoday.com.
No eyebrows to catch sweat
The website explains how the wave cap (a little like a hair net) that Bryant wears under his helmet when he plays isn’t a fashion statement but is there to catch the sweat that would otherwise run down his face. The running back, they explain, has no eyebrows: his extreme form of Alopecia (either Alopecia Totalis or Alopecia Universalis) means he has no hair on his head at all.
But Bryant hasn’t let it hold him back, and the offers have been flooding in from Universities who want him to play for them,
Treatment for Alopecia Totalis and Alopecia Universalis (the latter being hair loss that occurs over the whole body and not just the head) is difficult. While it is possible for hair to grow back of its own accord, this isn’t common, and the best chance of regrowth for people with Alopecia Universalis comes from ongoing Topical Immunotherapy, which creates an allergic reaction on the skin to try and shock hair follicles into production. The success rate, however, is only around 40 per cent, meaning that many people with the condition simply accept their hair loss and try and move on.
With Alopecia Totalis, treatment is similarly problematic and is usually based around topical immunotherapy, or immunosuppressants which can have severe side effects.
Tough growing up
There are a number of well-known people with these two severe forms of Alopecia Areata, including Swansea City footballer Jonjo Shelvey, who has Alopecia Totalis. He once said that his hair loss was “quite tough for me when I was growing up, with people calling me names.” British Olympic cyclist Joanna Rowsell has Alopecia Totalis, too, and told the Daily Mail that the condition made her very shy when she was growing up. Cycling, she says, helped her work through her worries and gave her focus.
A far more common form of these autoimmune conditions is Alopecia Areata, a disorder which manifests itself as sudden, patchy hair loss. Regrowth options are significantly more readily available, with alopecia areata treatment programmes built around topical applications of minoxidil regularly resulting in successful regrowth, examples of which can be seen in Belgravia’s Success Stories gallery.
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.