Cause and Treatment Of Alopecia Barbae
Alopecia barbae is a noncommunicable disease affecting only a small percentage of the population and affects men only. Alopecia barbae is one type of a group of conditions falling under Alopecia areata, a condition in which a certain area of the human body suffers from rather sudden, but often only temporary, hair loss.
Alopecia Barbae – For Men Only - Alopecia areata is usually evident when hair loss from the scalp is observed, the scalp region being the region most commonly affected. Hair loss may occur in a single spot only (Alopecia areata monolocularis), or in several spots (Alopecia areata multiolocularis), or their may be a total loss of hair from the scalp (Alopecia areata totalis). Other parts of the body can be affected as well, giving rise to other types of Alopecia. Alopecia can affect a person of any age but is most commonly found among younger men and women, from mid teens into the 30's, and affects significantly more women than men. Women however need not be concerned about Alopecia barbae because the Alopecia barbae condition affects only facial hair, which usually means the area of the beard. So it is men who would be most concerned about getting this particular type of Alopecia.
Alopecia is generally considered to be the result of an immune system disorder. For reasons not yet fully understood, the immune system attacks the hair follicles, either suppressing hair growth or stopping it entirely. Heredity may also play a role, as people who develop the disorder often have family members who also have or have had the disorder. The condition can strike without warning, which is to say apparently perfectly healthy people can fall victim to it. The symptoms (hair loss) are usually not permanent, and the disorder eventually disappears, perhaps never to return. Alopecia barbae does not necessarily cause the entire beard to disappear. Only a small spot may be affected, or the small spot may grow and eventually cover the entire area where there is facial hair. Often it is possible to tell if the condition, once started, is progressing, as hair at the edge of the now bald spot can be gently tugged, and if hair comes out easily, the condition is still progressing. Similarly, if the condition is in a state of regression, hair pulled in the boundary area will not easily come out.
Recovery - About half of the people experiencing the Alopecia barbae condition will re grow the lost hair within a year's time. The smaller the affected area is, the greater the chances for a full recovery are. For the other half of the affected population, the hair will usually grow back eventually, though may take longer. On the average, about 10% or less of those affected will not experience hair re growth.
Some Contributing Factors - Besides immune system disorders and hereditary factors, stress is believed to be a probably cause, especially in those cases where the condition has regressed and is then aggravated and hair loss resumes. People who have various allergies, other skin disorders, or suffer from any condition of hypothyroidism appear to have a greater chance of contracting Alopecia areata or, more specifically, Alopecia barbae. Age is also a factor. Although the disorder as stated before, primarily affects younger people, the elderly are susceptible in that their hair follicles take longer to produce new hair, and are therefore more prone to being affected by any changes in the immune system. The environment, including pollution, or a proximity to harsh chemicals, can also contribute to Alopecia.
The Stress Factor - Whether stress can be a primary cause of Alopecia may be debatable. It does appear however that there is a vicious cycle between the disorder and stress, with one feeding upon the other. In the course of a normal day we lose hair, maybe a hundred or more individual hairs. This is quite natural, and no cause for concern. If Alopecia is involved however, the number can jump to several hundred or a thousand hairs per day. That can cause stress, and stress can cause an imbalance in the immune system, which in turn can make the Alopecia symptoms worse. The vicious cycle can of course continue until there is no more hair to lose. Maybe then the stress will subside, maybe not. But stress does apparently play a role of one sort or another. At least if you are afflicted with Alopecia barbae, it isn't as likely to be as traumatic as suddenly growing bald would be!