Alopecia Barbae

Alopecia barbae is a type of alopecia areata. It is a traumatic condition characterized by small hairless patches appearing in the beard. This article will give you information on the symptoms, causes, and treatment of this condition.
MenWit Staff
Last Updated: Apr 23, 2018
Many a time we associate hair loss with stress and depression, but there may be other serious causes too. Alopecia areata is one such condition that leads to partial or complete baldness. Alopecia barbae is a type of alopecia areata that causes hairless patches in the beard. Both men and women are affected by alopecia areata, but alopecia barbae is obviously found only in men. The symptoms are evident; appearance of circular hairless patches in the beard. Sometimes, a feeling of burning sensation on the patches is also experienced.
Causes
The factors responsible for this condition have not been clearly identified yet. However, some studies suggest that heredity and autoimmune diseases might be responsible for causing it. A large number of people having a family history of this condition are found to be affected by it. Scientists suggest that our body produces antibodies with the advent of alopecia barbae. The antibodies get collected in one patch and attack the hair follicles or cells, causing hair loss. Sometimes stress, depression, and environmental changes are also said to accelerate this condition.
Treatment
Many people ignore appearance of small hairless patches in the beginning. But this only aggravates the condition, as these patches go on increasing. Early diagnosis and treatment is the key to get over this distressing condition. The pattern of hair loss and skin biopsy will be enough for a doctor to start with the treatment.
Medication
Following are some of the medicines found to be effective against it, but these should be availed strictly under doctor's supervision.
  1. Minoxidil:
    5% is found to be an effective medication. It comes in a liquid form and needs to be rubbed onto the affected area at least twice a day. This medicine helps in re-growing and also preventing further hair loss. Minoxidil can sometimes cause irritation.
  2. Corticosteroids:
    This is a slightly painful treatment conducted usually by a dermatologist. Injections of corticosteroids are inserted onto the skin where hair loss is prominent. Injections are given on a monthly basis, which can result in new hair growth. In some severe cases, dermatologists can also prescribe corticosteroid pills to work along with the injections. Creams and ointments containing corticosteroids are available, but they are not as effective as the injection.
  3. Anthralin (Drithocreme):
    This is available in the form of a cream or ointment that is synthetic and tar-based. This cream or ointment is to be applied on the bald patches of the skin, as it will help new hair growth. This cream can lead to irritation of the skin, so it should be applied only in appropriate quantity. If you apply it properly, hair growth will stop immediately.

Natural Remedies
Some natural home remedies can also help stimulate new hair growth. Firstly, pay attention to your diet and live a healthy lifestyle. Foods rich in protein and iron must be availed. Applying onion juice on the affected area can also trigger new hair growth. Natural aloe vera is also another effective treatment option. Aloe vera is known to promote hair growth, and applying it on the affected area can also enhance skin texture. Mixture of thyme, lavender, and rosemary oils when massaged onto the affected areas has shown hair growth in some cases. A Chinese herb called He Shou Wu is also an ancient ingredient used for treating hair loss condition that also be effective in this case.
If all the above treatments fail to work, one should not become over anxious, as the hair will start growing back after a year or so, without any treatment. So, avoid unnecessary stress and enjoy a clean-shaven look for the time being.
Disclaimer: This MenWit article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.