Alopecia barbae is a form of hair loss that affects the beard in particular and can cause partial or total loss of facial hair. It is a subset of an autoimmune disorder called alopecia areata in which the immune system assaults hair follicles resulting in hair loss.
Alopecia barbae's exact etiology is unknown; however, genetic and immune system issues are suspected to play a role. Although it can happen to anyone at any age, young adults are the most frequently affected.
Some persons with alopecia barbae may also experience hair loss on other parts of their bodies, such as the scalp or eyebrows, in addition to their beard. Itching, burning, or soreness may or may not be present along with the hair loss, which can occur suddenly.
Since there is no known cure for alopecia barbae or alopecia areata, there are treatments that can encourage hair development, including minoxidil, topical or injectable corticosteroids, JAK inhibitors, and immunotherapy. A board-certified dermatologist should be consulted to decide the best course of action in each unique case.