Alopecia barbae areata is an autoimmune medical condition that leads to hair loss. When a person has this condition, the body’s defense or immune system will start attacking the healthy cells in the body, thinking that they are intruders. The hair follicles, which are part of the hair-producing cells, are also not spared.
There is also another form of alopecia areata, which only affects the beard area. This form is known as alopecia barbae. It usually attacks the skin all of a sudden, leading to a bald spot in the beard area.
What Causes Alopecia Barbae?
This beard hair loss condition will occur when the body’s defense system starts attacking hair follicles, particularly those in the beard area. This causes patchy hair loss. You will notice that you have small circular hair loss patches on your beard. Although the condition normally affects the beard area, it can also cause hair loss in the scalp or other areas of the body that grows hair. It is hard to pinpoint the exact cause of alopecia, however, doctors think that it comes from extreme stress in both physical and psychological aspects.
Another cause of alopecia barbae may be genetically related. It can affect someone with allergies, asthma, or alopecia. There is a greater risk of getting alopecia barbae if you have relatives who suffer from autoimmune conditions. Such conditions include lupus, type 1 diabetes, and psoriasis. Other elements that may trigger alopecia barbae include particular viruses, medication or substances.
Alopecia Barbae Symptoms
Telling how alopecia barbae will attack your body isn’t easy. The patient developing this autoimmune condition may experience hair loss either over a couple of weeks, suddenly, or in a few days. The bald spot in beard under the chin will be circular in size. With more hair loss patches, they will start to overlap one another ib6tge beard area. On the edges of these patches, the patient may experience white hair. Before losing hair, the patient may feel some pain or itchiness. A typical skin may feel rough even though it looks smooth.
In some people, redness, irritation, inflammation, and irritations may be experienced.
Exclamation mark hairs are those that grow narrower at the bottom. The hair may grow near or around the facial hair bald spots.
It takes a skin specialist such as a dermatologist or doctor to carry out an examination to determine whether a patient is suffering from alopecia barbae. Doctors often check your hair loss samples or how the hair loss appears under a microscope. A scalp biopsy may also be necessary in order for the doctor to establish whether there are any infections. A biopsy will also reveal any other underlying conditions or any other autoimmune condition. The doctor will also observe your samples for any fungal infection that can cause hair loss.
Alopecia Barbae Treatments
Currently, there is no cure for alopecia barbae. However, the symptoms can be treated and managed. Treatment will allow you to grow back your hair and restore it, but it may fall out again in the future. It may take a few years for the condition to recur once again. Your hair may also grow back partially. Once you are treated, your hair may grow back the same way it used to, or it may have a different texture or color. In other patients, the hair may refuse to grow.
Treatment results may vary based on the patient. People have different skin types that may give varying outcomes. Hair loss treatments based to restore hair in alopecia barbae are meant to stimulate hair growth after blocking attacks from the immune system. For the treatment to be more effective, the hair loss should be less than half in the beard area.
Medications for Treating Alopecia Barbae
To treat hair loss as a result of alopecia barbae, various medications are ideal. These medications include:
This type of medication is effective in suppressing the immune system since they are anti-inflammatory drug. This type of medication is administered by injections or applied topically.
- Minoxidil (Rogaine)
Minoxidil is another effective medication used for treating all sorts of hair loss, including alopecia barbae. It is also administered topically. The drug is available either as a liquid or as a foam and is applied directly in the scalp of the beard area affected by hair loss. The results can be seen after three months.
- Diphencyprone (DPCP)
Applied directly in the affected area, diphencyprone is an ideal drug for treating hair loss. However, it can cause allergic reactions that are characterized by itching, swelling, and redness. This is meant to trick the immune system into sending white blood cells to the surface. By doing so, the hair follicles are kept active, and inflammation is greatly reduced. If you are using this drug to stop hair loss, you should expect results within three months.
This type of hair loss drug is usually applied as an ointment or cream to treat psoriasis. The medication looks like tar and is administered daily for thirty minutes or more to reduce hair loss. If you are planning to use this medication to treat hair loss, then you should understand that it works after 8 or 12 weeks. It enhances hair growth by irritating the skin.
Home Remedies for Treating Alopecia Barbae
Several home remedies are also used to get rid of alopecia barbae at home. Let’s look at some of these remedies.
Garlic is known worldwide as a popular remedy for many kinds of illness. It is also a natural home remedy for treating hair loss. There are no proven results yet that garlic is ideal for treating hair loss. However, a study conducted in 2007 showed that garlic gel was very effective for treating alopecia areata. Unlike corticosteroid cream, garlic gel tends to be more effective.
Containing marine extracts, this type of home remedy to stop hair loss is a natural supplement. If you are suffering from hair loss, this type of hair loss drug is meant to restore your hair after six months. It is a great home remedy that works by giving strength to weakened cells and also helps to regenerate new cells. At the moment, the research to establish whether it can treat alopecia barbae is anecdotal. Other studies have revealed that the remedy is quite effective in promoting hair growth.
From a 2016 study, doctors found out that a similar marine complex supplement greatly promoted hair growth, when consumed for six months. It also showed that the supplement decreased shedding in men.
Zinc and biotin supplements
As part of a home remedy, you may be lacking the necessary minerals and vitamins to generate to enhance hair growth. An additional supplement of biotin and zinc in your diet may be quite helpful when you want to boost hair growth and stop hair loss in both the scalp and the beard area.
1% recommend a daily mega-B vitamin that includes 200 milligrams of vitamin C, < 1 milligram of folic acid, 30 milligrams of zinc, and 3 milligrams of biotin.
For other natural options, a little bit more research is required to determine their effectiveness. They include:
- Aloe vera
- Coconut, castor, or almond oil
- Lavender, rosemary, and geranium essential oils
- Fish oil
Beard alopecia or alopecia barbae should not worry you that much because the condition is manageable. However, it may affect you emotionally if you are a public feature. Hair loss can be rather challenging, especially if you are concerned with how you look. A patchy beard can affect your self-esteem and make you lose your self-confidence. The best way to counter hair loss is to remain positive and try to seek medical treatment.
If you feel that you need mental health attention, you can consider consulting a therapist or join an online support group. Remember that hair loss is a common condition that affects many people. A support group will help you get supportive and professional help from others who are going through the same experience.
Support groups are found around the world under the National Alopecia Areata Foundation. Through these groups, you can access a comfortable, friendly, and safe environment to share your hair loss concerns. Learning how to cope with challenges that come with hair loss from others will help you handle the condition positively.
When to See a Doctor
If you discover that you have a bald spot under your chin, before making any assumptions, consult your dermatologist or physician. He or she will carry out several tests to establish whether you are suffering from alopecia barbae. You will also get to understand the cause of the condition so that you can seek ideal hair loss treatments. Connecting to a dermatologist near you is easy. All you have to do is the Healthline FindCare tool.
The Bottom Line
Alopecia barbae is not a life-threatening medical condition, and there is no cause for alarm once you discover that you are affected. However, if you don’t seek psychological or mental health care, it may affect you psychologically. If you discover early enough, you may seek proper medical care to salvage the remaining hair. Maintain a healthy lifestyle by avoiding stress and eating a balanced diet to prevent many hair loss conditions.