If you have a beard or are growing a beard, chances are you’ve had to battle with a few patches, especially when you first start growing your beard out due to different growth rates for different hairs. Normally these patches gradually fill in as you grow your beard out and even if they’re still visible you can still rock a great beard!
There are steps you can take to improve those patches:
- Eat Well. Start with the source – diet. Eating a healthy, balanced diet and ensuring you’re incorporating protein and B vitamins into this is essential for healthy hair growth. Check out our eat your way to a better beard posts for some inspiration.
- Groom it. Get past the itchy stage using a beard oil to moisturise the skin underneath. Using a beard brush will stimulate the hair follicles to encourage growth in those sparse areas. Use with our beard balm to encourage the direction of the hair to create a more even look.
- Be patient. If you get frustrated with it being patchy the worst thing you can do is trim it all off else you’ll be stopping yourself from eventually achieving beard supremacy.
- Trim your losses. If all of the above fails after you’ve given it a good go, try a trimmed look and focus on clean shaping to distract from patches. If you feel hesitant, head to your barber so you can follow his guide once it grows out.
But what about when you’ve had a full beard for months or years and suddenly new bald patches start showing up? Well then you may well bet suffering with Alopecia Barbae.
What is Alopecia Barbae?
Alopecia Areata is an auto immune condition that causes the immune system to mistakenly attack hair follicles. This can happen to your head hair, beard or anywhere on your body.
Alopecia Barbae is the name for when the beard is specifically affected. It usually happens pretty fast and shows up as small coin shaped bald patches
Why is this happening and how can I stop it!?
So firstly, I’m no Doctor, if you’re worried that you may alopecia I’d recommend seeing your GP who will then refer you to a dermatologist if they feel it necessary. That is exactly what I did and I’m now sharing my experience in the the hope it can help you!
Why it happens is not totally understood, its thought it could be linked to stress. People who suffer with Alopecia Areata are also slightly more likely to develop other autoimmune conditions like type 1 diabetes or psoriasis although the risk is still low.
I developed a bald spot on my right cheek a little over a year ago, it started out as a patch of my beard going white, then the hair falling out, leaving a really smooth patch of skin. I’m happy to say mine has slowly started to grow back but it is taking a while. At first thin white hairs started to return in the middle of the patch, which are gradually becoming darker. For some people hair can begin to return in months, others years and for some, I’m sorry to say the loss is permanent.
At first, I’m not ashamed to say I was mortified! My beard is such a part of me (especially working at a Beard company!) that I felt like a piece of me was falling away with every hair! But, over time I’ve learnt to live with it and embrace it, using it as an excuse to try different styles and products. Right now for instance I’m sporting a Tache and using our extra firm wax, I’ve also played around with Mutton Chops and a Goatee. So you can still be a part of the facial hair family even if you are suffering with Alopecia Barbae. If you do play around with styles make sure to tag us in your instagram posts and use #brightonbeardco for a chance to get reposted and win some goodies!
There’s no known cure for Alopecia Barbae and there’s been minimal studies on treatments. There are a few treatments available but most of them involve steroids in the form of cream, tablet or injections and the adverse side affects don’t make this the most advisable course of action and as stated above, there has been minimal studies and results are usually short lived with the loss returning once the course has ended.
As we recommend when growing a beard the best thing you can do is make sure you’re eating well, keeping healthy, getting all the vitamins and minerals needed for healthy hair growth, looking after the hair and skin with a good oil and waiting out the storm!
Good luck Bearded warrior, you’re not alone!