Alopecia Areata can manifest anywhere on the body. People with Alopecia Beard problems sometimes only exhibit this condition in that area, while others may have two or more patches elsewhere.
Properly called Alopecia areata barbae, seeing balding patches in your beard could warn of a larger issue since alopecia typically starts out very localized.
While alopecia most commonly erupts on a person's scalp, beards are affected in 28 percent of all individuals who have alopecia, so you're not alone.
Note that more than one area of your body can experience alopecia at the same time you have Alopecia beard, so have a friend or family member check the areas you cannot see for any signs of trouble.
The Alopecia Beard At the Outset
The Alopecia beard problems start out small. You may notice tiny bald patches. These are usually round. Now here's the confusing part. You can experience hair growing in the same spot, at the same time, as you're having alopecia breakouts. Alopecia sometimes goes into remission, and other times it becomes a permanent issue. Some men feel the sensation of skin tingling, while others find the condition a little painful.
The hair comes out quickly, usually on one side of the beard or the other. As this occurs you may notice what's called exclamation point hairs in your beard. These have a thinner base than end, making them literally look like an exclamation point standing in your beard.
How Alopecia Affects Beard Hair
When you try to pull out a healthy hair, it resists. And while some hair loss is normal for dead hair, healthy hair doesn't fall out. A person with Alopecia is different. Now the hairs pull out and fall out very easily.
About 15 percent of the men who develop an alopecia beard have other factors that seem to have triggered or exasperated the condition. These factors include illness, trauma, and drug use. While no conclusions about this correlation have come out of the studies done to date, it's possible that certain situations act as facilitators for developing alopecia, or for starting a cycle of hair loss.
You may wonder if you've done something wrong to end up with this disease. First, Alopecia Aerata occurs in people of all cultures and both genders. Your age doesn't matter. However, if you have a family member that had alopecia, that increases the chances you may develop the disease by about 20 percent. The exact causes of alopecia are unknown. This autoimmune disease causes the body to attack hair follicles. It's not something you caused yourself, and it's not contagious.
Treatments For The Alopecia Beard
If you have an alopecia beard you may be looking for potential treatments. There is no cure, but some treatments will promote temporary hair growth.
Some men simply choose to shave their beard regularly and not worry about the spots. Treatment options include corticosteroids that suppress your immune system. These come in liquid, pill and injection form.
You'd need treatment every 3-6 weeks, with new hair growth beginning after about a month. Note that topical applications are less successful than injections.
Bear in mind that Corticosteroids do have potential side effects and shouldn't be used for long-term treatments. A second, safer option for an Alopecia Beard is approved by the FDA is topical minoxidil 5% solution.
Apply this twice daily to your beard. Minoxidill takes about three months to show significant results. Alternatively there's Anthralin that alters the skin's immune functions. It goes on like tar, remaining on the body for between 20 minutes and an hour. It can be very irritating to people with sensitive skin. This product takes 2-3 months to manifest hair growth.