Alopecia barbae is a type of alopecia which affects the men. It features with small, hairless and round patches on the beard. Unlike alopecia areata, alopecia barbae affects only men and loss of hair is only detected on the beard. Loss of hair is typically painless but some men have reported burning sensation of the affected skin.
Causes of Alopecia Barbae
Unfortunately, the exact cause of alopecia barbae has not been identified yet. Still, some scientists believe that it is related to certain autoimmune reactions. Other think that the disease may be hereditary. Alopecia barbae has also been reported to run in families. Theory about autoimmune process in the body may be correct. Namely, antibodies produced by the body can be possible culprits for loss of hair. They collect in one area of the skin, attack hair follicles and finally cause falling of the hair. Stress, depression and environmental changes may trigger autoimmune reaction and accelerate the loss of hair.
Treatment for Alopecia Barbae
If patches are small men tend to ignore them. Still the presence of many patches especially if they are big enough may significantly affect appearance of the beard. As for treatment the best results are achieved if the condition is diagnosed on time. The doctor can easily set the diagnosis thanks to specific pattern of hair loss and in some cases definitive diagnosis is set after pathohistological examination of the biopted skin. Medicamentous TherapyThere are several medications which may be effective enough. Only the doctor can suggest and prescribe these medications.
One of the medications given to patients suffering from alopecia barbae is minoxidil- 5 percent. It is in a liquid form and is applied directly onto the skin changes. It is supposed to be applied at least twice a day. Minoxidil-5 percent accelerates re-growth of the lost hair and it can also effectively cease the progress of the disease.
Another solution includes application of corticosteroid injections. Corticosteroids are injected only in the affected areas. In severe form of alopecia barbae patients may be given oral corticosteroids. Even though corticosteroids can be applied in a form of creams and ointments these forms are not as effective as injections and oral corticosteroids.
And finally, anthralin is one more medication for alopecia barbae. It comes in a form of creams and ointments. Anthralin is applied onto the bold spots and its function is to provide with re-growth of the lost hair. Patients are supposed to be very careful when applying anthralin since it can cause skin irritation.Natural Remedies and DietThis disease may be brought under control with several changes in one's diet and a few natural remedies. Foods which contain lot of proteins and iron are particularly good. Furthermore, onion juice is excellent if applied directly onto the skin changes. Another helpful topical remedy is aloe vera. Re-growth of the hair may be also achieved by mixture of thyme, lavender and rosemary oils. And finally, He Shou Wu, Chinese herb, is amazingly good for loss of hair.