Louis Theroux has shared an update on his continued battle with alopecia – and how it is affecting his famously bushy eyebrows.
The 53-year-old broadcaster revealed earlier this year that he’d been dealing with the condition with a post on social media that showed gaps in his facial hair.
However, Theroux has now updated fans with a clip on Instagram, showing that a large portion of his eyebrow hair has now gone.
He wrote: “I’d like to know how I’m supposed to continue a career based largely on raising and lowering different eyebrows WITHOUT ANY EYEBROWS!!
″#alopecia I’m seriously thinking of getting them tattooed back on but it feels like a big step! Thoughts?”
In July the documentary-maker showed the beginnings of his eyebrow hair loss, writing on social media: “Oh jeez it looks like the alopecia has migrated up to my eyebrow.
“I realise you aren’t all awaiting every update on its progress but I want people to acclimatise to the new partially depilated me and not freak everyone out by suddenly appearing in public like a half-plucked elephant bird with no forewarning.
“So this is where we’re at. I’d really like to keep my eyebrows, but it’s out of my hands at this point ... tho I have started taking vitamin d and something called biotin.”
So what is alopecia?
Alopecia refers generally to hair loss in parts of the body that usually have hair. As the American Academy of Dermatology Association explains, there are generally three types:
Alopecia totalis: When a person loses all hair on the scalp.
Alopecia universalis: When a person loses all hair on their body, which is very rare.
Alopecia areata: When a person develops patchy baldness somewhere on their body, including the scalp, beard area, eyebrows, eyelashes, armpits, inside the nose, or ears. Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disease (more on that below).
For people with alopecia, baldness tends to be the only symptom, and their bald patches are smooth. There are other underlying conditions that may lead to hair loss — from thyroid disorders to cancer treatments — but that’s not the same as when hair loss is the primary diagnosis.
However, it’s key to remember that alopecia is a lot more than just hair loss for those who have the condition.
As Alopecia UK says: “We strongly advocates that alopecia is viewed as a medical condition that can have significant physical and emotional impacts on an individual. It can be damaging to people affected by alopecia when it is viewed as cosmetic and the result of this can be people believing their feelings are invalid.”