Little Britain star Matt Lucas sent a handwritten note to a boy aged 10 to help him cope with his Alopecia Areata diagnosis. He was prompted to send the letter after Jacob Fitzpatrick's mum wrote to the comedian to explain that her son was struggling with hair loss and wondered if he had any advice.
Lucas, 41, lost his hair aged just six to Alopecia Universalis, an autoimmune condition which caused him to lose all his hair from head to toe. This is the more extreme version of Jacob's condition which causes patchy hair loss of the scalp only.
"I lost my hair when I was six so the fact that I looked different was made apparent to me from a very early age," he told The Mirror. "People always commented on it so I think my way of dealing with it through the years was to disguise myself. It felt like a safe thing to do."
Despite having to come to terms with such a visible change to his appearance from this young age and struggling with self-confidence because of it, Matt Lucas has gone on to become an internationally acclaimed comedian and actor, who uses his baldness to his advantage in creating characters.
Jacob told AirBnB how scared his hairloss made him, saying "I didn't know why it was happening or anything like that, so I didn't really know what to do. I was scared people would judge me, or stare at me". As you can see from the picture, he also lost his eyebrows which suggests his condition progressed to Alopecia Totalis at some point as this causes hair loss from the whole head, including brows and eyelashes.
Luckily, as with many cases of Alopecia Areata, Jacob's hair started to regrow and now he almost has a full head of hair again although he still gets occasional bald patches . The 'Come Fly With Me' fan believes the kind letter, in which the comedian confessed he found his hair loss 'tough' too, inspired him to get through it, adding "Thank you to Matt Lucas for helping me through this alopecia and boosting my confidence".
Alopecia Areata is an autoimmune condition which is not yet fully understood. Although the precise cause is unknown, triggers are thought to include stress and sudden shock or trauma.
The body effectively turns against the hair follicles and sends a signal that prematurely puts groups of follicles into the resting phase of the hair growth cycle. This leads to clumps of hair falling out, leaving behind smooth bald patches which are often round or oval in shape and can appear anywhere on the head.
The follicles lie dormant awaiting the signal to resume normal hair production. However, when or if this signal will come is impossible to predict. Hair growth may occur naturally - sometimes regrowth may come through white or cream due to pigmentation issues in the first regrowth cycle - but Alopecia Areata may also recur even after the hair has grown back.
Treatment for Alopecia Areata has been seen to produce effective regrowth results in Belgravia clients aged 16 and over with mild-to-moderate cases. However the more extreme versions - Alopecia Totalis and Alopecia Universalis - are still searching for treatments that offer a good success rate.
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.
View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which includes the world's largest gallery of hair growth photos and demonstrates the level of success that so many of Belgravia's patients achieve.