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Alopecia Barbae: Why Is My Beard Falling Out?

Alopecia barbae is a type of hair loss disorder that affects the beard area. Like alopecia areata, it’s the result of the immune system mistakenly attacking healthy hair follicle cells. In some cases, it can spread to the scalp and other parts of the body.

Although there’s no definite cure, some treatments and medications can help stop hair loss and promote beard regrowth.

Here are some of the key points from the article:

  • SYMPTOMS ARE PATCHY BEARD HAIR LOSS, SMOOTH/ROUND BALD SPOTS, AND SUDDEN ONSET

  • TRIGGERS INCLUDE GENETICS, GENDER, STRESS, ANXIETY, DEPRESSION, POOR DIET, MEDICATIONS, AND SUBSTANCE USE

  • BEARD TRANSPLANT IS ONE OF THE TREATMENT OPTIONS

  • OTHER CAUSES OF BEARD HAIR LOSS INCLUDE ALOPECIA AREATA, TINEA CAPITIS, THYROID DISORDERS, TRICHOTILLOMANIA, AND SYCOSIS BARBAE

What Is Alopecia Barbae?

Alopecia barbae is a specific type of non-scarring alopecia that causes hair loss in the beard area. Similar to alopecia areata, barbae is caused by the autoimmune system mistakenly attacking healthy follicles.

In this case, the target is the beard hair follicles. That’s why it’s also known as beard alopecia areata.

Does Alopecia Barbae Spread?

Yes, alopecia barbae can spread. What happens is the progression of bald spots in the beard caused by barbae. Over time, these patches may grow larger, increase in number, and merge, spreading to a wider area.

Is Alopecia Barbae Dangerous?

No, having alopecia barbae isn’t something to worry about in terms of your physical health—it’s not dangerous. However, it’s essential to recognize its potential impact on mental well-being.

Alopecia barbae may not affect your body, but it can influence how you feel about your appearance. In fact, a study in the British Journal of Dermatology found that people with alopecia have a 30-38% chance of experiencing depression and anxiety. So, while it’s not harmful physically, it’s important to be mindful of the potential emotional effects.

Is Alopecia Barbae Permanent?

Not everyone with alopecia barbae experiences permanent hair loss. The experience might be different for each person. Some people may see their hair grow back over time, while others might have a recurring or permanent condition.

How Long Does Alopecia Barbae Last?

Unfortunately, alopecia barbae has the potential to last a lifetime. However, everyone’s body is unique, so it’s hard to predict whether it’ll persist or improve over time.

To get a clearer understanding of your specific situation and the available treatments, start by consulting a dermatologist or a specialist.

Even if you notice signs of improvement after treatments, be patient—alopecia barbae may take around 6 months or more to show significant progress.

What Triggers Alopecia Barbae?

  • GENETIC PREDISPOSITION
  • GENDER
  • STRESS
  • ANXIETY
  • DEPRESSION
  • POOR DIET
  • MEDICINE
  • ALCOHOL CONSUMPTION
  • SMOKING


Understanding and identifying these triggers is key to effectively managing alopecia in beard.

What Causes Alopecia Barbae?

Although alopecia barbae’s exact cause still remains unknown, it’s considered an autoimmune disease. It happens when the immune system mistakenly attacks healthy cells, in Alopecia Barbae^s case, the immune system attacks beard hair follicles. 

Other Beard Hair Loss Causes

Besides alopecia barbae, there may be other causes why you experience beard hair loss which include:

  • ALOPECIA AREATA
  • TINEA CAPITIS
  • THYROID DISORDERS
  • TRICHOTILLOMANIA
  • SYCOSIS BARBAE


Among these causes, the most common ones people experience include tinea capitis (ringworm), alopecia areata (AA), and trichotillomania (hair-pulling disorder).

How to Know If You Have Alopecia Barbae

You can look out for symptoms of alopecia barbae to make sure this is what you are experiencing. 

  • SMOOTH/ROUND BALD SPOTS 
  • PATCHY HAIR LOSS
  • SUDDEN ONSET
  • NO SCARRING
  • NO ITCHING/PAIN

How to Fix Bald Spot in Beard

While there is currently no cure for alopecia barbae, there are treatments and medications that can help fix bald spots. In some instances, the bald patches in the beard may even grow back on their own after proper treatments.

However, before deciding on one, a proper diagnosis and understanding the patient’s medical history is quite important to choose the most suitable approach.

Medications for Alopecia Barbae

Here are some of the available treatments for alopecia barbae mentioned in a study published in the Journal of Clinical Medicine:

  • TOPICAL AND INTRALESIONAL CORTICOSTEROIDS
  • SYSTEMATIC CORTICOSTEROIDS
  • TOPICAL MINOXIDIL
  • TOPICAL IMMUNOTHERAPY
  • TAKING VITAMIN D SUPPLEMENT
  • TARGETED TREATMENTS (SUCH AS JAK INHIBITORS)
  • COMBINATION THERAPY (COMBINING TOFACITINIB AND ORAL MINOXIDIL)


Aside from medications, it’s possible to get a beard hair transplant, PRP injections, and microneedling treatment for alopecia barbae.

Can I Have Beard Transplant for Alopecia Barbae?

Yes, you can get a beard transplant if you have alopecia barbae. With this procedure, which is also known as facial hair transplantation, hair follicles from the donor area are removed and transplanted to your beard area.

Before considering such a procedure, it’s always a good idea to consult a dermatologist or hair transplant specialist to see if you’re suitable and this is indeed the right treatment for you.

The success of the transplant operation can be different for each person.

Can Alopecia Barbae Spread to Scalp?

It is possible for alopecia barbae to spread to the scalp, eventually leading to alopecia areata, or even alopecia totalis or alopecia universalis. In fact, according to a study published on the Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology, 45.5% of patients with alopecia barbae, showed progression into alopecia areata. 80% of those who experienced this transition did so within the first 12 months.

This means that regular check-ups during the first year can help catch any potential progression to alopecia areata early on.

Alopecia Barbae vs Alopecia Areata

Alopecia barbae and alopecia areata (AA) might sound similar, but they’re actually a bit different. Although both involve hair loss and are linked to the immune system, there’s a key difference. Alopecia areata causes round patches of hair loss on your scalp or other body parts, while alopecia barbae is all about the beard area, causing loss of facial hair.

Knowing these differences is important because it helps you figure out what you’re dealing with. Once you can tell them apart, it becomes easier to choose the right treatment.

[1] Kaiser M, Abdin R, Yaghi M, Gaumond SI, Jiménez JJ, Issa NT. Beard Alopecia: An Updated and Comprehensive Review of Etiologies, Presentation and Treatment. Journal of Clinical Medicine. 2023;12(14):4793-4793. doi:https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm12144793

[2] Nwosu A, Miteva M. Alopecia Areata Barbae in a Nutshell. Skin Appendage Disorders. Published online March 8, 2023:1-8. doi:https://doi.org/10.1159/000529389

[3] Stefanis AJ, Arenberger P, Arenbergerova M, Gkalpakiotis S. Alopecia barbae severity score: a novel scoring system to estimate the extent of beard loss and success of treatment. The British Journal of Dermatology. 2021;185(4):847-849. doi:https://doi.org/10.1111/bjd.20489

[4] Cervantes J, Fertig RM, Maddy A, Tosti A. Alopecia Areata of the Beard: A Review of the Literature. American Journal of Clinical Dermatology. 2017;18(6):789-796. doi:https://doi.org/10.1007/s40257-017-0297-6