There’s more than one way to define an egghead, such is the richness of the English language, and the capacity of the British to make fun of themselves, and those mixed meanings are not lost on the five female alopecia areata sufferers who have agreed to take on TV’s quiz show Eggheads in order to raise money for Alopecia UK this week.

Alopecia areata and the Eggheads

But associating with eggheads of the highbrow, intellectual variety is no big deal for Victoria Petkovic-Short who lost all her hair over a nine month period when she was just 21 years old. The process was rapid, making her experience depression, and a self-consciousness that left her identifying more with Gollum than a balding brainbox.

However, five years on she has taken control of her condition and her life, and as the marketing director for Alopecia UK, she is raising funds to help other sufferers to find the confidence and learn the skills to cope with the condition.

The team

Together with fellow alopecia sufferers, Sue Hampton, Marie Jenks, Jeanette Oliver and Emma Skipper, Victoria will fight it out with BBC Eggheads in an effort to win some money and raise awareness for Alopecia UK.

What is alopecia areata?

More information about alopecia can be found at the Alopecia UK website where you can also learn more about support, resources, fundraising, and treatments, as well as about the condition itself.

There are several different types of alopecia, but the women who will be removing their wigs on Eggheads have all experienced complete hair loss and have suffered from what is known as Alopecia Totalis. This is an advanced form of Alopecia Areata which refers to more patchy hair loss.

Alopecia Areata and Alopecia Totalis are autoimmune disorders, which can be triggered by:

⦁ viral infection
⦁ trauma or emotional stress
⦁ hormonal change

Most alopecia sufferers only lose hair in patches or clumps, and the hair usually grows back eventually. For those who lose all their hair, and do not experience regrowth, wigs and turbans are a possible solution, and medical and surgical treatments include corticosteroids and hair transplant.