Alopecia Barbae

by Sam Malone

There are two main kinds of alopecia (disorder which causes loss of hair on the scalp and body), androgenetic alopecia and alopecia areata. Alopecia barbae is a kind of alopecia areata which affects hair follicles in the beard region.

The signs and symptoms of alopecia barbae are obvious; small, round, bald patches on the beard. Usually there is no itchiness, but sometimes people with alopecia areata or alopecia barbae do experience a burning and tingling sensation. The bald patches are usually smooth and sometimes they may look peach in color.

Sometimes hair starts falling out due to fungal or other kinds of infections; however this is never the case in alopecia barbae. Though information about alopecia areata / alopecia barbae causes is limited, this syndrome is said to be a result of an auto-immune disorder which affects and damages hair follicles, leading to hair loss. Sometimes alopecia areata is seen to occur in men and women after incidences like pregnancies, illnesses or some kind of emotional stress.

It has also been noticed that some people affected by this condition, have some kind of a family history. Based on this it can be assumed that this disorder may have some hereditary link.

Recovery from alopecia barbae can be difficult if not treated right at the onset itself.  Many people tend to ignore a small patch thinking hair growth may recover by itself, but this just worsens the condition. Also no treatment for alopecia areata and alopecia barbae is found to have been really very effective. However, some treatment options have been explored and have shown to help reduce hair loss. Typically, alopecia barbae treatment to stimulate hair growth includes:

  • Application of topical creams and medications like Minoxidil and Tacrolimus
  • Injection of steroids
  • Ultraviolet ray therapy

Complementary and alternative therapies which have also been explored to try and minimize the extent of alopecia areata / alopecia barbae include aromatherapy, massages and use of herbs.

Some studies indicated that massages increased blood circulation and reduced stress thereby leading to improvement in hair growth. For additional aromatherapy benefits, essential oils like lavender, rosemary, thyme combined with carrier oils like jojoba or grape seed, could be used to massage the bald patches and the scalp.

Corticosteroid creams can be used for mild cases of alopecia and in more developed cases of the condition a corticosteroid is injected into the bald patches. Another treatment is similar to one that is used for vitiligo. A plant-derived substance called psoralen can be applied to the affected areas and then is followed by UV light or UV laser treatment.

Alopecia Barbae is considered to be an autoimmune disorder, but it is not clear why one's immune system would attack hair follicles. Even without treatment, there is spontaneous hair regrowth within a year for most individuals affected by the condition.


Habif TP, ed. Clinical Dermatology. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elsevier;2009: pp 932-934.

Warning: The reader of this article should exercise all precautionary measures while following instructions on the home remedies from this article. Avoid using any of these products if you are allergic to it. The responsibility lies with the reader and not with the site or the writer.
More articles from the Hair-Loss Category