Alan Fletcher has starred in the Australian soap opera Neighbors for almost three decades
Neighbors star Alan Fletcher recently addressed his hair loss after fans shared their concerns about his health.
The Aussie actor, best known for playing Karl Kennedy on the long-running soap opera, updated fans on his health condition after he appeared completely bald.
But what caused it and what did Alan say about it?
Here’s what you need to know.
Why is Alan Fletcher wearing a hat?
The 65-year-old told followers on social media that he’s lost his trademark gray hair and stubble due to a battle with alopecia areata, which he says caused patchy hair loss.
He wrote on Instagram in May: “Concern has been expressed across the internet that I am not well. I can assure you that I am fit and healthy and very busy filming the final episodes of Neighbors EVER!
“I have a condition called alopecia areata that causes patchy hair loss. I have recorded a video explaining the condition which you can see on my website and on the neighbors’ Facebook page.
“Thank you for your concern and support. fletch.”
In a video uploaded to Neighbors’ official Twitter, the actor took off his hat to show off his new look.
Fletcher said, “I shaved off my beard, and then my hair on my head became so patchy that I had to get rid of most of it, too.”
“I have no problem with it, it’s even fun,” he added.
“But one thing I want to say is that alopecia areata can be very serious for people, especially from an emotional standpoint. Sudden hair loss is really distressing for many people, especially young people who can be terribly bullied. There’s support out there.
“But let me assure you that I am perfectly fit and healthy and thank you for your concern.”
The final episode of Neighbors airs on Channel 5 in the UK on Friday 29 July at 9pm.
What is alopecia areata?
Alopecia areata is a common autoimmune disease that often leads to unpredictable hair loss.
What are the symptoms?
The most noticeable symptom of alopecia areata is patchy hair loss.
Coin-sized sections of hair begin to fall out, mainly from the scalp, and any part of the hair growth can be affected, including the beard and eyelashes.
Hair loss can come on suddenly and develop over a few days or over a period of a few weeks.
Itching or burning may occur in the area prior to hair loss.
However, the hair follicles are not destroyed, allowing the hair to grow back when the inflammation of the follicles subsides.
Alopecia totalis is usually diagnosed for complete hair loss on the scalp, and alopecia universalis for hair loss all over the body.
Alopecia can affect anyone, but most cases develop before the age of 30 MedicalNewsToday.