FORMER YFM presenter, Altovise Lawrence, has opened up about living with alopecia.

During an interview on Unpacked With Relebogile Mabotja on SABC3 on Monday, 25 October, the media personality said it’s been a decade since she started losing her hair. Alopecia is a partial or complete absence of hair from areas of the body where it normally grows.

Altovise said she has alopecia areata and it only affects her face and head.

“I’ve got alopecia areata. I still grow hair on other parts of my body, but when it comes to the top, mainly my face, I struggle to grow hair on my scalp, eyebrows and am still losing eyelashes,” she said.

Speaking about her diagnosis, she said she thought the issue was with the hair products she was using.

“I started losing hair about 10 years ago, in my 20s. I’d sometimes wake up and see hair on my pillow and would think maybe it’s because I didn’t wear a doek. But I also started shedding my eyebrows and lashes,” said the personality.

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“I went to a dermatologist in 2018. They checked my scalp, they were like I’ve got alopecia.”

She said being in the entertainment industry and living with alopecia was tough.

“It felt uncomfortable, especially because I work in film and TV. Because every week I had a different eyebrow shape. And you start having talks because you start fighting with the make-up and hair departments because realistically, this is not how you want to look like and I also don’t like what they were doing. It got tough for me because of the work that I do,” Altovise said.

She said she would rather lose her eyelashes than her eyebrows.

“I also felt uncomfortable. Before I go out, I’d be just like as long as I have eyebrows, I am happy. At this stage, I could give my eyelashes, if I can keep my eyebrows. Because then what are the characteristics of my face? How would you know that I’m angry, excited or happy? It’s a form of expression I feel, especially because I use my face to communicate.

“For me, that’s something I wrestled with.”

The media personality is the new host for a show called A Cut Above the Rest on SABC3, which airs on Monday at 9pm.