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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  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  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  foreign.
Causes Of Alopecia Barbae
The agent that develops the patchy hair loss condition is not definitely known. The hair loss  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  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  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 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  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  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.
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  samples of your hair.
The diagnosis may include a scalp biopsy or a  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  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 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  baldness. For alopecia barbae, it is recommended to be applied on the affected area, twice a day.
It is used to suppress the immune system and are  anti-inflammatory drugs. Corticosteroids are applied topically or in the form of shots.
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  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.
2. Zinc and biotin supplements
Include minerals and vitamins that are  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 
- castor, coconut, or almond oil,
- aloe vera,
- fish oil,
- lavender, rosemary, and geranium essential oils, and
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