Eve Betts, a beauty therapist from Pontyrhyl near Brigend, appeared on the Channel 4 dating reality show ‘First Dates’ this month, and met with teaching assistant Jordan for the first time. Eve appeared on the show wearing a black wig of long hair, however she suffers from alopecia, an auto-immune disorder in which sufferers lose their hair across some or all parts of their body. She made headlines across the country as she revealed her condition to her date and removed her wig to unveil her bald head within minutes of their very first meeting.
22-year-old Eve spoke of the moment to Wales Online, and admitted that it was the first date she had ever been on without wearing a wig. She hopes that her appearance on the show can help other sufferers of alopecia and normalise the stigma around hair loss. Eve began losing her hair from the early age of three years old and feels that after appearing on the show, she has become a lot more open with herself on a personal level.
What is alopecia?
Alopecia is actually the medical term to describe any kind of hair loss, however in Eve’s case, the word is used to describe alopecia areata.
Alopecia areata patients may initially notice small bald patches and hair that falls out in clumps. The skin underneath appears unscarred and normal on first glace. The condition usually affects the hair on the scalp initially, but can occur on any area of the body which has hair. Sometimes the disease can go into remission for short periods of time, otherwise hair loss it can be permanent altogether causing much distress for sufferers.
Why does it happen?
Alopecia is thought to be an autoimmune disorder where T-cell lymphocytes will cluster around affected areas of hair follicles, leading to inflammation and consequently hair fall. The disorder is not contagious, in fact research and patterns suggest that alopecia is a genetically inherited disorder. The condition is more likely to be prevalent in families who have members with autoimmune diseases.