Most men have been there. Your friends are growing an immaculate beard whereas you can barely grow a couple of stray hairs.
Or worse yet, you’ve managed to use all your patience and finally grow a beard until you notice that your hair has grown in patches. So what do you do?
Firstly, you’re going to need to identify the reasons to why you may be experiencing a balding beard. Secondly, we’re going to explore the treatments and options together, to ensure you understand the best options for you and your beard.
We’re here to give you a comprehensive lowdown as to what beard balding is and what you may be able to do to prevent it in the future.
What Is Beard Balding?
Beard balding is otherwise known as alopecia barbae. However, what you need to know is that alopecia barbae is a specific variation of alopecia areata, which is an autoimmune condition that causes hair loss in areas other than your scalp.
An autoimmune disorder is a condition that leads to your body systems “malfunctioning”, and ends up fighting against one another instead of fighting against a disease or pathogen. Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disorder that causes your body’s response to fight against hair follicles.
Beards and balding don’t usually strike up in conversation together. However, they should. When talking about losing hair, a balding beard, hair loss, and losing body hair should all be brought up for discussion.
There are many reasons for one to develop alopecia areata and alopecia barbae. The American Academy of Dermatology has summed this up nicely:
- Genetic reasons – various genes have roles in hair strength and growth
- Thyroid Disease
- Down Syndrome – Research has proven that those suffering from Asthma, Thyroid disease, or down syndrome are more susceptible to developing alopecia areata
- Nivolumab – a commonly used drug during chemotherapy
Further research has identified that a lack of vitamin D may be a factor for developing alopecia areata and subsequently, alopecia barbae. This is because certain studies have shown that people suffering from autoimmune disease may have a deficiency in vitamin D, and have concluded that people who suffered from alopecia areata also have this deficiency.
Furthermore, your race has been determined to be a factor in developing a balding beard. A large study was carried out that showed an increased prevalence in alopecia areata in black and Hispanic people than in caucasian.
The symptoms of beard balding aren’t too subtle. For example, you may notice some beard hair loss when combing your beard or applying beard oils.
When talking about beards and balding, we need to make sure to remember that other parts of facial hair are included in the term alopecia barbae. Although most commonly noticed areas of hair thinning are usually on the scalp, if you develop alopecia barbae you may be prone to losing hair (usually around the size of a coin) in areas of your face such as your cheek, neck, and upper lip.
Alopecia barbae symptoms are mostly patches of baldness in the beard. These bald patches occur smaller in size and are not always permanent.
The patchy condition that is alopecia barbae comes in three stages, similar to those described in previous hair-loss models such as the Ludwig. The alopecia barbae stages are:
- Sudden hair loss (this does not mean your beard will suddenly fall off your face, but instead, you will notice a larger amount of hair shedding when combing your beard)
- Rise or enlargement of bald patches (once you shave your beard you may notice that it will not grow in certain patches that were previously covered)
- Regrowth (sometimes the hair loss due to alopecia barbae can regrow)
Balding beard patches are some of the most commonly seen amongst men. The bald patches on the beard caused by alopecia barbae may present as having a completely smooth surface or as a surface that has scattered rough pieces of hair.
When hair regrows in these patches it is usually white or grey and not as straight as the hair was originally. The hair regrowth may take a long time to get back to its original state. The worst part is that as one patch of beard hair is slowly regrowing, another patch may begin to thin in a process known as beard pattern balding.
There are many roots to beard hair loss reasons. Some of these reasons may be more obvious than others, and we are here to give you the ins and outs of the most common beard alopecia causes.
Some of the most common reasons for balding, regardless if it is beard or scalp balding, is genetic. Genes are wonderful things that give us our determining characteristics as human beings. However, sometimes during the crossover process, some anomalies may occur which lead us to develop conditions later on in life.
Other causes of beard balding are due to lifestyle causes. These may be either how you live your life or based on the surroundings in which you have grown up.
Disease and infection have huge factors in determining hair growth. We don’t only mean acute conditions that may result in losing hair, but more chronic diseases such as asthma have a surprising risk of alopecia.
Finally, and probably the most obvious reason for alopecia areata would be chemotherapy. Although chemotherapy is an amazing finding that has helped save the lives of many, certain drugs, especially Nivolumab, have been shown to cause hair loss. Unfortunately, everybody reacts differently to these drugs and therefore you can never tell who will suffer this side effect.
The genes which you are made up of are the main reason that determines how thick your hair is and how prevalent it grows in various areas of your body.
In fact, there are a possible 8 genes that may have a part in your development of alopecia areata, but these need to be researched further for confirmation.
However, alopecia barbae and androgenetic alopecia are two completely different conditions. Although your genes are more likely responsible for androgenetic alopecia, alopecia barbae is a result of alopecia areata.
The research behind the causes of alopecia areata is yet to be properly confirmed, however, it has been shown that stress can be a major trigger.
One of the most common causes of alopecia areata, and consequently, alopecia barbae, is stress. Stress can arise from a variety of activities whether they may be work-related or personal. In order to prevent alopecia barbae, why not try some stress-relieving activities such as going to the gym or meditation?
Furthermore, a healthy diet can help induce beard growth. Since obesity has the tendency to lower your natural testosterone levels, it is best to work on keeping your body at the optimum BMI. Healthy diets can help promote weight loss, and the addition of zinc in your diet can help boost testosterone levels.
Disease And Infections
Various diseases are known to contribute to beard hair loss. These diseases and infections do not have to directly affect the beard in order for hair loss to occur, such as various cancers and beard hair loss with chemo that comes around as a side effect.
However, diseases such as a beard fungal infection (ringworm), can directly lead to beard hair loss. Ringworm presents with various ring-like rashes around the beard area (or other parts of your body) that are itchy and lead to hair loss.
Ringworm can be treated using typical over-the-counter medication found at any pharmacy which should clear up the infection after 2-4 weeks.
If you are a beard balding guy and suspecting that your beard alopecia is getting worse, why don’t you try out some of the below methods to help preserve your beard hair strength and maintain beard integrity?
- Wait – As tedious as it may be to wait for your beard to grow in a more full manner, it is sometimes the only way to do – in a biological sense. It has been proven that some men are genetically disposed to grow beards at a faster rate than others, and so waiting may be a great option. Just remember, your beard does not grow overnight, and some men may have to wait until the age of 30 before they notice a difference!
Furthermore, continuously shaving your beard at a younger age can also help you outgrow those pesky bald patches. Although this is a myth and has been told since the stone age, when in reality, when you shave you are left with thicker and darker bits of hair which gives you the illusion that your beard is thicker. However, there is no guarantee that this will work for you.
- Watch what you eat – Gaining all the beneficial nutrients from food is essential for not only maintaining your physical health, but also to help preserve your beard hair strength and prevent alopecia barbae permanent damage. As discussed above, maintaining a healthy diet is essential in keeping your body max index as close to the recommended range as possible, as obesity is directly linked with a reduction in testosterone.
Better yet, if you struggle to get certain elements into your diet, you can always add additional nutritional supplements such as zinc, which has been shown to help increase testosterone levels. In order to naturally obtain more zinc, you can try eating food such as nuts, chickpeas, lean meats, and healthy fats. Again, before we come to any conclusions we must reiterate the fact that these prevention methods may or may not work for you, as everybody’s hair will react differently to lifestyle changes.
Most symptoms of alopecia barbae can be treated if they are caused due to disease or infection.
For beard alopecia treatment UK, it is best to get a consult with your general practitioner who will help determine the initial cause your beard loss, see if it is treatable under alopecia barbae NHS acceptability, or prescribe you the appropriate medication.
Beard baldness treatment can vary from medicines and hair transplants all the way to home remedies you can make yourself. If you are looking for the best beard hair loss solution, then we can say that you have come to the right place for a comprehensive outline of all treatment options.
Medical treatment for alopecia barbae varies depending on the reasoning behind your symptoms.
- Ringworm – Antifungal medications are commonly found over-the-counter for all to use. A simple consultation with your pharmacist will allow you to find the best treatment option for you. These medications include clotrimazole, terbinafine, and miconazole. If these treatments are not as effective as you hoped, your doctor can prescribe you stronger anti-fungal tablets taken between 1-3 months until your symptoms clear up.
- Alopecia areata – If you are suffering from alopecia areata, you can try buying hair growth medications from your pharmacy. Your doctor can privately prescribe you a minoxidil beard balding regime or finasteride 1mg tablets to take daily. If the case is severe, you may be prescribed some steroid cream.
- Chemotherapy – unfortunately, there is no current treatment for hair loss due to chemotherapy. The only alopecia barbae injection that can be used is PRP, which isn’t used by the NHS. Most people tend to shave their beards off to prevent the trauma of watching your beard hair shed.
All in all, most hair loss causes can be treated using medications following a consultation with your doctor to find the best option for you.
Beard hair transplants are getting more and more common, especially due to the rising popularity of hair transplant clinics around the world making these procedures not only more accessible, but more acceptable.
There are various methods of hair transplants which suit each individual differently. These are FUT, FUE, DHI a legacy method that seldomly is used today is hair plugs.
The most common surgical procedure for alopecia beard recovery is the follicular unit extraction (FUE). During this procedure your surgeon will remove the donor follicles from an area with healthy hair growth to your desired area.
This process is lengthy, depending on the patches that need a transplant. Although small incisions are made in order to remove the follicles, the scars are nearly invisible to the naked eye. Better yet, the recovery time for this method is relatively short.
The option with a higher success rate is the Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT). During this procedure your surgeon will excise a strip of donor follicles (as opposed to individual extractions), and places the strip in a sterile jelly which allows the surgeon to take the follicles one a time to transplant.
Although the FUT is a longer process than FUE, the results have shown a more fuller beard with this type of procedure. The recovery period is still similar to that of FUE.
Home Remedies And Other Treatments
Unfortunately, there isn’t a lot of evidence behind using alopecia barbae homeopathic treatment and beard loss home remedies in order to treat your beard hair loss. However, no home remedies are likely to cause harm to your beard.
Some home remedies you can try at home include:
- Making your own beard oil using coconut or almond oil. You can add fragrance by adding some lavender extract.
- Rubbing garlic and onion juice on your beard
- Rubbing aloe vera on your beard
- Pumpkin seed oil has been proven to increase the average hair count by 40%.
These home remedies have only marginal effects on treating hair loss and will need further testing and research before proving their benefit. 100% success cannot be guaranteed, but using these products should cause no harm to your hair and are worth a try.
Furthermore, you can opt for therapies found at your local spa such as acupuncture and aromatherapy.
A study has shown that if you massage your scalp for 4 minutes every day using a head massager, a noticeable difference was found after 6 months. We believe that applying the same technique to your beard can help increase growth.
When it comes to home remedies, we believe that you can find the right product for you. Although one remedy might work for one person, this does not mean that it will work for you. Therefore, go through the trial and error processes to find your best alopecia beard home remedy.