Alopecia barbae is a kind of hair loss or baldness that impacts both the moustache and beard. Barbae, in Latin, means the face’s bearded part. Since facial hair is the danger zone, men are obviously more likely to suffer from the condition. Like other types of alopecia, alopecia barbae is an autoimmune disease wherein the hair follicles are attacked by the immune system.
Generally, the beard or moustache lose hair in patches. However, complete hair loss is rare. Though the condition isn’t dangerous or fatal, the affected spot may feel itchy or give out a burning sensation.
As aforementioned, alopecia barbae is an autoimmune disorder, which means heredity has a major role to play. It’s believed T lymphocyte – a white blood cell subtype – causes and propagates alopecia barbae. These cells attack the hair follicles, causing a disruption in the hair’s normal growth pattern. This causes the hair roots to weaken, resulting in sporadic hair loss.
Other possible causes include exposure to chemicals, vaccines, environmental toxins and desensitizing injections, and also viral and bacterial diseases. Stress, depression and anxiety could play triggers.
By the time men realize they have alopecia barbae, it’s usually too late. Generally, the baldness begins with a small patch that’s easy to ignore. The patch may widen its footprint or new patches may show up in no time – usually near the chin.
Since the problem is not caused by an external source, the treatment options are little to none. And the ones that work only have little impact.
Injecting steroids or applying steroid creams could bring some positive results. Minoxidil, a hair growth stimulant, may be effective too. Natural remedies such as essential oils, aloe vera, and nettle root may bring about some positives. Nettle root is enriched with vitamin C and vitamin A. Also, rubbing onion slices or applying onion juice to the bald spots could bring results.
Hair may regrow after a few years, but regrowth is not certain and cannot be predicted. The reasons for hair regrowth is not clear. External treatments generally work if such hair regrowth possibilities exist. Therefore, medications may not necessarily work for all. Moreover, there could be many major side effects. Also, cortisone injections can be excruciatingly painful.