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Alopecia Barbae: Causes, Symptoms And Treatment

Alopecia barbae is a specific type of alopecia areata, a health condition which causes hair loss. Hair loss is a very common fact known to all us. From teenagers to aged people, everybody has faced this problem. However, alopecia barbae [1] is the type of hair loss, that is not commonly known to everyone. Hair loss is not just the loss of hair from your head, it can affect any part of your body that has hair. Also, it is not caused by any sort of fungal infections on the skin.

Alopecia barbae is the type of hair loss that occurs to [2] men. The autoimmune condition causes men to lose their beard. In some cases, it causes the loss of the whole beard and in other, it causes hair fall in patches. It is similar to alopecia areata, which causes bald spots on the scalp. It appears suddenly and results in the loss of beard hair in circular patches. The condition arises when your body attacks its own hair, assuming it to be [3] foreign.

Causes Of Alopecia Barbae

The agent that develops the patchy hair loss condition is not definitely known. The hair loss [4] in small circular patches is often viewed along the jawline, and in some cases, can occur on your scalp.

Studies have been conducted to understand the underlying reason causing the sudden development of hair loss. However, there is a lack of definite information on the exact factors that cause the condition.

Commonly, stress [5] is regarded as being the primary and central cause of alopecia barbae. Psychological and physical stress is normally linked to the loss of hair (alopecia). Therefore, researchers point out stress as being the major cause of loss of beard hair in men.

One of the other possible causes of alopecia barbae is [6] genetics, that is, an individual who is related to someone with asthma, allergies or alopecia is prone to develop alopecia barbae. Some of the other causes are, having family members with an[7] autoimmune condition which can put you at the higher risk of developing alopecia barbae. The conditions include psoriasis, type 1 diabetes and lupus. It can also be triggered by certain substances, viruses or medications.

Symptoms Of Alopecia Barbae

The loss of beard hair does not appear gradually, but suddenly. Alopecia barbae does not appear along with any signs or symptoms, it can emerge within a span of a few days or over a period of few [8] weeks.

However, you may understand that the hair loss is due to alopecia when the bald patches develop in circular spots, almost the size of a coin. Gradually, as more amount of hair is lost, the circles will overlap each other. Hair around the circular patches will be [9] white in colour.

Before your hair beard hair begins to fall, you may have itchy and rough skin. The skin around that area will be sensitive and can cause pain, irritation and inflammation.

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Diagnosis Of Alopecia Barbae

The condition can be identified and analysed by a dermatologist or a doctor. For diagnosing the condition, the medical practitioner will examine the pattern of your hair loss and [10] samples of your hair.

The diagnosis may include a scalp biopsy or a [11] blood test. This is done to examine any signs of infection or any other causes such as an underlying medical condition. The diagnosis will also test for the presence of any autoimmune disorders.

Some other tests involved in the diagnosis will be to check for the possibility of any thyroid disorders or fungal infections.

Treatments For Alopecia Barbae

Being an autoimmune condition, it does not have any cure. However, the condition can be treated and managed. On undergoing the treatments, your beard hair can grow back but there are chances that it may fall out again. The recurrence can go on for longer periods, even years. In some cases, partial growth of beard hair has been reported.

In most cases, the hair will grow back in its natural form. But, in some cases, it can grow back in different texture and even a different colour. There have been reports of no hair growth in some cases, even after undergoing the treatments.

Depending on the individual, the treatments can have [12] varying outcomes. The factors affecting the treatment outcomes are the level of hair loss, age, health etc.

Medications For Alopecia Barbae

In order to treat the beard hair loss, you may use the various different medications.

1. Diphencyprone (DPCP)

This medicine can be directly applied on to the bald patches. By causing an allergic reaction of sorts, DPCP is asserted to trick the immune system[13] into transporting white blood cells to the surface of your skin, thereby reducing the inflammation and give life to the hair follicles. The medicine takes up to three months to show effective results.

2. Minoxidil (rogaine)

This topical drug is used to treat pattern [14] baldness. For alopecia barbae, it is recommended to be applied on the affected area, twice a day.

3. Corticosteroids

It is used to suppress the immune system and are [15] anti-inflammatory drugs. Corticosteroids are applied topically or in the form of shots.

4. Anthralin

It is an ointment used to treat psoriasis and is applied to the affected area, once a day. By irritating the skin, the medication helps hair growth. Results [16] are viewed with a period of 8 to 12 weeks.

Home Remedies For Alopecia Barbae

You can treat the bear hair loss from your home as well. Although it is not as effective as the medications, the home remedies can be tried. The results depend on the individual.

1. Garlic

The natural healing properties[17] possessed by the herb garlic may improve the symptoms of alopecia barbae. It can be used along with the corticosteroid cream.

2. Zinc and biotin supplements

Include minerals and vitamins that are [18] critical for hair growth in your daily diet. Using supplements can improve the levels of biotin and zinc in your body, and can help improve hair growth and reduce hair fall.

Some of the other natural options for the condition are [19]

  • castor, coconut, or almond oil,
  • wheatgrass,
  • aloe vera,
  • fish oil,
  • lavender, rosemary, and geranium essential oils, and
  • probiotics.

Best Home Remedies For Hair Loss

View Article References
  1. [1] Sperling, L. C., Homoky, C., Pratt, L., & Sau, P. (2000). Acne keloidalis is a form of primary scarring alopecia. Archives of Dermatology, 136(4), 479-484.
  2. [2] Xavier, M. H. D. S., Torturella, D. M., Rehfeldt, F. V. S., Alvariño, C. M., Gaspar, N. K., Rochael, M. C., & Cunha, F. D. S. (2008). Sycosiform tinea barbae caused by. Dermatology Online Journal, 14(11).
  3. [3] Sperling, L. C., Solomon, A. R., & Whiting, D. A. (2000). A new look at scarring alopecia. Archives of Dermatology, 136(2), 235-242.
  4. [4] Sperling, L. C., Solomon, A. R., & Whiting, D. A. (2000). A new look at scarring alopecia. Archives of dermatology, 136(2), 235-242.
  5. [5] García‐Hernández, M. J., Ruiz‐Doblado, S., Rodriguez‐Pichardo, A., & Camacho, F. (1999). Alopecia areata, stress and psychiatric disorders: a review. The Journal of dermatology, 26(10), 625-632.
  6. [6] Green, J., & Sinclair, R. D. (2000). Genetics of alopecia areata. Australasian journal of dermatology, 41(4), 213-218.
  7. [7] Dudda-Subramanya, R., Alexis, A. F., Siu, K., & Sinha, A. A. (2007). Alopecia areata: genetic complexity underlies clinical heterogeneity. European Journal of Dermatology, 17(5), 367-374.
  8. [8] Rahman, S. S. A., Othman, F., & Sie, T. W. (2007, April). VHCS: A web-based E-health system for alopecia diagnosis. In Proceedings of the 6th WSEAS International Conference on Applied Computer Science.
  9. [9] MacDonald, N., Chang, K. H., Rojhirunsakool, S., Goldberg, L. J., Ali, A., & Martin, J. M. Alopecia Areata Barbae.
  10. [10] Cinotti, E., Perrot, J. L., Labeille, B., Raberin, H., Flori, P., & Cambazard, F. (2015). Hair dermatophytosis diagnosed by reflectance confocal microscopy: six cases. Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology, 29(11), 2257-2259.
  11. [11] Tosti, A., & Torres, F. (2009). Dermoscopy in the diagnosis of hair and scalp disorders. Actas dermo-sifiliograficas, 100, 114-119.
  12. [12] Shander, D., Harrington, F. E., & Whitmore, M. C. (1994). U.S. Patent No. 5,328,686. Washington, DC: U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
  13. [13] Madani, S., & Shapiro, J. (2000). Alopecia areata update. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, 42(4), 549-566.
  14. [14] Alkhalifah, A., Alsantali, A., Wang, E., McElwee, K. J., & Shapiro, J. (2010). Alopecia areata update: part II. Treatment. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, 62(2), 191-202.
  15. [15] Wasserman, D., Guzman‐Sanchez, D. A., Scott, K., & McMichael, A. (2007). Alopecia areata. International journal of dermatology, 46(2), 121-131.
  16. [16] Cotellessa, C., Peris, K., Caracciolo, E., Mordenti, C., & Chimenti, S. (2001). The use of topical diphenylcyclopropenone for the treatment of extensive alopecia areata. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, 44(1), 73-76.
  17. [17] Hordinsky, M. K. (2011). Treatment of alopecia areata:“What is new on the horizon?”. Dermatologic therapy, 24(3), 364-368.
  18. [18] Daniells, S., & Hardy, G. (2010). Hair loss in long-term or home parenteral nutrition: are micronutrient deficiencies to blame?. Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition & Metabolic Care, 13(6), 690-697.
  19. [19] Finner, A. M. (2013). Nutrition and hair: deficiencies and supplements. Dermatologic clinics, 31(1), 167-172.

Read more about: alopecia disorder
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