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Ask a Dermatologist Free: Alopecia Areata Barbae

Dear Doctor

I have a bald spot on the right side of my beard, as you can see, and I’m trying to find out if this will grow back?

beard hair loss

Dear Patient

Your symptoms are suggestive of a condition known as Alopecia Areata Barbae.

Alopecia areata is an autoimmune hair loss disorder which develops when the immune system attacks the hair follicles and causes hair loss.

It is known as Alopecia Areata Barbae when it affects the beard.


Alopecia Areata Barbae Symptoms

Symptoms of alopecia areata barbae include bald patches on the beard area that are smooth and not scarred. These patches have normal skin and they are surrounded by normal hair.


Alopecia Areata Barbae Tests

Tests done for alopecia areata related hair loss include:

1.  KOH Skin Prep Test is done to check for the presence of fungal infections which also causes round, hairless patches. It is done by mixing skin scrapings and hair fragments with potassium hydroxide (KOH) and examining them under a microscope.


2. A skin biopsy can also be done to confirm the diagnosis. In this procedure the doctor numbs the skin and takes a small sample which is sent to the lab to be examined under the microscope.


Alopecia Areata Barbae Treatment

The treatment of alopecia areata barbae includes:

1. No treatment since alopecia areata can resolve without treatment in some cases.


2. 5 % Minoxidil (Rogaine) lotion can be applied to the bald spot twice a day for at least 4 months.


3. Calcineurin inhibitors like Tacrolimus 0.1% (Protopic) are also applied to the bald spots to treat alopecia areata.


4. Corticosteroid creams like Betamethasone dipropionate cream 0.05% (Diprosone) and Fluocinolone acetonide cream 0.2% (Synalar HP) are also used to treat alopecia areata.


5. Corticosteroid injections like Triamcinolone acetonide (Kenalog) can be injected into the bald spots.


6. Corticosteroid shampoos like clobetasol (Clobex) and fluocinonide (Lidex) are also used to treat alopecia areata.


7. Cosmetic camouflage is also used to treat alopecia areata. It can either be temporary camouflage therapy which involves the use of makeup. Permanent camouflage therapy involves micropigmentation or medical tattooing and it can be used to disguise small areas of hair loss.


8. Aromatherapy essential oils can also be used since a study found that a blend of cedarwood, lavender, rosemary and thyme essential oils mixed with jojoba and grapeseed oil was a safe and effective treatment for alopecia areata. Though this study was done for scalp alopecia areata, you can consider experimenting with the natural oils by using them to massage the bald spot on your beard area after consulting an aromatherapist.


9. Onion (Allium cepa) juice is another home remedy which has been shown to be effective for the treatment of patchy alopecia areata. In this study, participants who applied onion juice to their scalps twice a day developed hair regrowth after just a fortnight.


10. Biotin, which is one of the B complex vitamins, can also be taken at a dose of 10 mg each day.

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