Controversial Irish radio DJ Niall Boylan has been praised for opening up about his hair loss history, though the reason he chose to speak out has been called out for being altogether less laudable.
Whilst presenting an awards show in 2016, a number of the chat show host's peers started teasing him about his hair then one reached out and tugged it.
Boylan appeared on RTE show Cutting Edge and discussed his embarrassment and why he is so self-conscious about his hair - which he admitted is a hair replacement system.
The 55 year old revealed the root of his self-consciousness over his hair goes back to his childhood, having developed Alopecia Areata after being bullied in primary school.
This autoimmune disorder, which can cause anything from patchy hair loss in the form of rounded bald spots on the scalp to complete baldness from head to toe, is often thought to be triggered by extreme stress, shock or trauma. Whilst in the mildest, scalp-only form the hair may often grow back, it can also fall out again. This is what Boylan says happened to him, with his hair regrowing in his teens then his Alopecia Areata recurring shortly after, which he believes was a result of exam stress.
At 30 years of age he decided to take proactive steps towards dealing with the appearance of his hairloss, opting for a hair replacement system. Although he investigated surgical hair restoration, as he was bald and had no follicles to be used as donor hair, he was unsuitable for a hair transplant.
Instead, the replacement system is effectively an advanced form of wig which is surgically-bonded to his scalp and does not come off. Despite its realistic appearance, the DJ says he is still not happy with his current hair loss solution as he constantly worries about it, citing his appearance as the reason he chose to work in radio rather than TV.
Whilst many social media users were quick to offer empathy and commend his candidness, due to Boylan's out-spoken and frequently contentious views, particularly regarding his often outdated take on social issues such as homelessness, women's rights and immigration, others felt their sympathy wasn't warranted stating him to be a 'bully boy' himself. One of the kinder viewers tweeted, "ok this is sad & upsetting ... he has a lot of baggage ... I do feel sorry for him but do wish not so aggressive on other issues."
Given Boylan's mention that he could not have a hair transplant due to not having the necessary hair to graft and then fill out the affected areas, it is likely that he has one of the more severe forms of Alopecia Areata: Alopecia Totalis or Alopecia Universalis. These cause hair loss from the entire head, including facial hair, eyebrows and eyelashes, or from head to toe, respectively.
Whilst Alopecia Areata treatment can often be successful for the scalp-only form, these other phenotypes are currently far harder to address. However, by 2021 it is likely that new treatments - either topical, oral or both - may be made available to regrow hair lost to even these most extreme forms of autoimmune alopecia. Three separate pharmaceutical companies currently have drugs in accelerated development for this purpose which have been granted 'fast track' status by the US medical regulatory board, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and are all based around a methodology known as JAK inhibition.
This significant breakthrough would mark the first such clinically-proven treatments being made available, offering another non-surgical hair loss solution to people who have not previously had realistic choices outside Boylan's route of wearing a wig or hair system.
The Belgravia Centre is a world-renowned group of a hair loss clinic in Central London, UK. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our Online Consultation from anywhere in the world for home-use treatment.
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