Matt Lucas rose to fame as co-creator of the sketch show Little Britain. He donned a number of different wigs to play various memorable characters for the show — but Matt Lucas actually has alopecia, a type of hair loss condition that causes total scalp hair loss.
In this article, you’ll learn:
Yes, Matt Lucas has alopecia universalis — a severe type of alopecia areata that causes those experiencing it to lose all their body hair.
While far from the only celebrity with alopecia — Gail Porter and Jada Pinkett Smith have both spoken publicly about their alopecia areata — Matt Lucas is one of the very few male celebrities to embrace his hair loss so candidly.
Matt Lucas was initially diagnosed with shock-related hair loss. In his memoir, Matt wrote :
“The doctors – and we saw an endless stream of them – concluded that [my alopecia] must have been a delayed response to the shock of being knocked down by a car in Portugal two years earlier.”
Shock and physical trauma are known triggers for hair loss . While there have been reports of post-traumatic stress disorder leading to alopecia areata, this is more commonly associated with a temporary type of hair loss known as telogen effluvium, rather than alopecia areata [3-4].
Matt Lucas later found out — in adulthood — that his hair loss was less likely to have been triggered by shock than his overactive immune system.
Alopecia areata is an autoimmune condition in which white blood cells attack the hair follicles, causing them to shed their hair and preventing regrowth . An overactive immune system — in Matt’s case, characterised by chronic eczema, asthma, and allergies — can lead to alopecia areata.
“[The doctor] said that my hair loss was most likely the consequence of my having an overactive immune system, one that was constantly fighting, even when it had nothing specific to beat. No one could say exactly what had made it “reject” the hair, but it wasn’t necessarily anything as dramatic as being knocked down by a car.”.
Let’s take a look at how Matt Lucas’s hair has changed over the years as a result of his alopecia.
As a young child, Matt Lucas had a pretty thick head of hair, chopped here into a classic bowl cut. However, at the age of six, his hair began to fall out. This left him with a receding hairline and patchy growth across the rest of his scalp:
Matt has revealed that these early experiences with hair loss were said to be temporary:
“Initially it was speculated – almost assured – that this was temporary, that my hair would grow back almost as quickly as it had fallen out. And it did. A year after it disappeared, it started to return, thinner than before, yes, but this was definitely progress.”
Unfortunately, this regrowth didn’t last either. In later photos, Matt is sometimes seen wearing a hat to hide his hair loss:
Matt Lucas rose to national fame in 2003 with the launch of Little Britain, co-created by David Walliams. Like Walliams, Matt Lucas wore several different wigs to portray some of the show’s most memorable characters.
Eagle-eyed viewers will also have spotted that Matt Lucas draws on his eyebrows for each of these roles. Eyebrow hair loss is a symptom of alopecia universalis.
Speaking about the impact of hair loss on his career, Matt has said:
“Being bald has helped me in my career. Would I have had my big break as a baby in Shooting Stars if I had had a full head of hair? My baldness has made me distinctive, yet also allowed me to transform myself. Stick a wig on and I’m someone else. Swap the wig and I’m now another person. Perfect.”
While Matt took on several smaller roles following the success of Little Britain, he’s had a career revival in recent years.
He starred in the Hollywood blockbuster Bridesmaids and went on to present the Great British Bake Off. In both these roles — as well as out of character — Matt has appeared without a wig or hairpiece, fully embracing his baldness.
Living with alopecia can be overwhelming at times. Matt has spoken out about his experiences, especially in early life:
“Right up until I became famous, my lack of hair was considered the most – perhaps even the only – notable thing about me.
“I was never allowed to forget for one moment that I was bald. If I went swimming or to the cinema or got the bus or went to a shop or simply walked down the street, adults and children stared at me.”
As more and more bald celebrities open up about their hair loss experiences, the stigma surrounding hair loss is reducing. If you have alopecia, this can help you feel less alone and know there are ways to accept and even embrace your hair loss.
Many people with alopecia areata — including Matt, initially — find that the condition clears up by itself without treatment. But unfortunately, it can flare up again.
Fortunately, there are several treatments that can stop alopecia areata from spreading and even send your condition into remission. These include:
If you need help or advice on how to treat your alopecia, speak to a professional trichologist. At the Wimpole Clinic, we can put you on the right treatment plan to reduce your alopecia symptoms and help you manage your condition.
Book a free consultation at one of our nationwide hair clinic locations.
Simply fill in your details in the form below and we'll get in touch with you shortly.