What does it mean if you start to notice bald spots in your beard? Whether your beard is new or you've been growing it for years, the last thing you want is for hair to start falling out.
Alopecia barbae can cause you to lose facial hair, but don't panic; you can treat it and hopefully get your hair to regrow.
Are you worried about patchy or bald spots in your beard? Try this beard growth kit designed to help you grow a thicker, healthier, and fuller beard.
Alopecia Barbae: An Overview of Beard Hair Loss
With alopecia barbae, hair loss occurs specifically in the beard area and may appear as small, round patches of hair loss or affect the entire beard. The condition can occur in men of any age but commonly affects young adults.
The exact cause of alopecia barbae is not fully understood, but it is likely related to genetics and abnormal immune system response. It may also be triggered by stress, illness, or certain medications.
There is no cure for alopecia barbae; however, in many cases, hair may grow back on its own within a few months to a year. Treatments such as topical corticosteroids, immunotherapy, or hair transplant may also be considered in some cases. We recommended consulting a dermatologist for proper diagnosis and treatment.
Related: Why You Can’t Grow Facial Hair
Symptoms of Alopecia Barbae
Common symptoms associated with alopecia barbae include:
- Loss of hair in the beard area: The most obvious symptom of alopecia barbae is the loss of hair in the beard area, which can occur in small, round patches or may affect the entire beard.
- Smooth, hairless skin: The skin in the affected area may be smooth and hairless and may be different in texture from the surrounding skin.
- Itching or tingling: Some people with alopecia barbae may experience itching or tingling in the affected area.
- No other symptoms: In most cases, no other symptoms are associated with alopecia barbae. However, in rare cases, hair loss may also occur in other body parts.
It is important to note that the symptoms of alopecia barbae may vary from person to person, and some people may experience hair regrowth on their own, while others require treatment.
What Causes Alopecia Barbae?
The exact cause of alopecia barbae is not fully understood but is likely related to a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Here are some of the common causes of alopecia barbae:
- Autoimmune disorders: Alopecia barbae is typically an autoimmune disorder, which means the immune system attacks the hair follicles in the beard area, leading to hair loss.
- Genetics: Alopecia barbae may have a genetic component, which may run in families. People with a family history of alopecia barbae or other autoimmune disorders may be more likely to develop the condition.
- Stress: Stress can weaken the immune system, increasing the risk of developing alopecia barbae.
- Infections: Certain infections, such as ringworm, can also cause hair loss in the beard area.
- Other medical conditions: Certain conditions, such as thyroid disorders and diabetes, may also increase the risk of developing alopecia barbae.
- Medications: Some medications, such as chemotherapy drugs and certain antidepressants, can cause hair loss in some people.
Related: Beard Hair vs. Head Hair
How Is Alopecia Barbae Diagnosed?
Alopecia barbae is usually diagnosed by a dermatologist based on a physical examination of the beard area and a review of the person's medical history. Here are some of the standard methods used to diagnose alopecia barbae:
- Physical examination: A dermatologist will examine the beard area for signs of hair loss and any other related symptoms, such as itching or inflammation.
- Pull test: A doctor may gently tug on a few hairs to see if they come out easily, which may indicate hair loss.
- Biopsy: In some cases, a dermatologist may take a small skin sample from the affected area to examine it under a microscope.
- Blood tests: A doctor may perform blood tests to identify underlying medical conditions or autoimmune disorders causing hair loss.
Diagnosing alopecia barbae may require ruling out other conditions that can cause hair loss, such as fungal infections or alopecia universalis, which causes hair loss over the entire body. Therefore, a proper diagnosis is essential for effective treatment.
How Do You Treat Alopecia Barbae?
There is no cure for alopecia barbae; however, several treatment options may help promote hair regrowth and manage the symptoms. The best treatment will depend on the severity of your hair loss and overall health. Here are some of the common treatment options for alopecia barbae:
- Topical corticosteroids: Corticosteroids are anti-inflammatory drugs that can be applied to the skin to help reduce inflammation and promote hair growth. They may be applied as a cream or ointment to the affected area.
- Injections of corticosteroids: In some cases, corticosteroids may be injected directly into the affected area to help reduce inflammation and promote hair growth.
- Topical immunotherapy: This involves applying a chemical to the affected area to trigger an allergic reaction, which may help to stimulate hair growth.
- Oral immunosuppressants: These drugs work by suppressing the immune system and may be used in severe cases of alopecia barbae.
- Hair transplant: This involves taking hair follicles from another part of the body and transplanting them into the beard area. This option is usually considered in cases where hair loss is severe and other treatments have been unsuccessful.
The effectiveness of these treatments may vary from person to person, and hair regrowth may take several months or longer.
Related: What Your Facial Hair Says About You
Living Well With Alopecia Barbae
While alopecia barbae won't put your health at risk, it can have an emotional impact and affect your quality of life. Hair loss is challenging, especially for bearded men.
If you're struggling with alopecia barbae and at-home treatments don't seem to help, a dermatologist can likely help assess your symptoms, determine the cause, and create a treatment plan for your hair loss.
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