Whether George Clooney, Brad Pitt or Zac Efron – Hollywood is all about the beard. But the masculine accessory doesn’t just make an impression on the red carpet. It’s also a real eye-catcher in everyday life – no matter whether it’s the wild Viking beard, the stylish upper lip beard in gentlemanly style or the casual three-day beard.
But unfortunately, not everyone is as lucky with their beard and head hair as George Clooney, Brad Pitt & Co. On the contrary: hairless areas of beard growth are not uncommon. Many proud beard wearers are annoyed by them. Understandable, after all, the loss of hair destroys the harmonious overall appearance.
But what actually happens? How does hair loss in the beard become noticeable and what are the possible causes? What does sebum production have to do with this blemish and what can we do about it? Let’s take a closer look at this messy issue.
How Does Beard Loss Occur?
Don’t worry: If you lose up to 100 hairs a day, there’s no need to panic. This is completely normal. We estimate 25 to 30 of the lost hair to be from the facial hair. The first doubts should only be voiced when you exceed the 100-hair mark.
A typical sign of upcoming beard loss is excessive sebum production. The more sebum our sebaceous glands produce, the faster the glands become clogged. And if the pores are hopelessly overcrowded, we may lose a precious beard hair or two.
Is this true for your beard growth? That’s easy to find out. Just run your fingertips lightly over your beard. Important: Be sure to touch the skin. Do your fingers feel oily and greasy after contact? This is a sign of excessive sebum production.
Beware: Please don’t apply any beard oil before the test. This can also make the skin oily and greasy. It is difficult to find out whether the greasy film on your fingers is really due to increased sebum production or if it’s just the beard oil.
Another sign of beard loss is dandruff. And that’s exactly why it’s important to do a dandruff test. Grab a fine comb and carefully run it through your beard hair. It’s best to use a dark surface for the dandruff test – for example, a black towel. If you have dandruff in your beard, it will stand out clearly from the dark base. And then you’ll know for sure.
What are the Causes of Beard Loss?
Just as with our head hair, there is no universal cause for our beard hair. There are several possible triggers. We present the most common culprits.
Many people are born with hair loss. Did you know that around 80 percent of all cases of alopecia are genetic? Every second man and every fourth woman now complains of androgenetic alopecia – at least that’s what the statistics say. Hereditary hair loss has long been considered the most common cause of hair loss, and not for nothing.
But it is not only on the top of our heads that we have to say goodbye to some hair roots because of genetics. Our beard is also affected. Many men know bald patches and thinning areas of facial hair only too well.
But what is actually happening to our hair roots when it comes to androgenetic alopecia? It’s simple: our hair follicles react hypersensitively to dihydrotestosterone, better known as DHT or the hair loss hormone. As soon as the two come into contact with each other, the follicles decrease in size – until they eventually fall out.
At a young age, the hypersensitivity of the hair follicles is usually still limited. However, with age it becomes more and more apparent. Thus, hair loss often only breaks out in alopecia patients in their mid-30s or 40s. Some men are less fortunate. It starts earlier for them. Sometimes the beard hair already starts to disappear in the early 20s.
You can be very shocked when coin-sized, circular bald patches suddenly form on your head or in your beard. This is called circular hair loss or alopecia areata.
This is a relatively rare form of hair loss. Only 1 to 2 percent of the entire population is affected by this circular pattern of hair loss. In most cases, alopecia areata occurs on the head hair. But it can also affect the beard. In this case, doctors speak of alopecia barbae. The trademark of this special form of alopecia is that it only occurs in the facial area.
But how does alopecia areata actually develop? Experts believe it is an autoimmune reaction of the body that appears very suddenly and unexpectedly. All of a sudden, our immune system considers our hair follicles as foreign bodies that it needs to fight. Therefore, it forms antibodies against the “hostile” hair follicles. The result: inflammation of the facial skin occurs, which leads to beard loss.
Alopecia areata often proves to be a great emotional strain. The distinctive circular spots are often prominent enough to completely destroy the harmonious overall appearance of a beard. Consequently, more and more affected persons opt for a complete shave in order to conceal the rare autoimmune reaction.
Stress is our daily companion - whether it is work-related or personal. We rarely feel completely at ease in our meritocracy.
But don’t worry: a little stress is no big deal. It even motivates us. But when stress overwhelms us, it becomes a concern. The reason: a constantly high stress level quickly has a negative effect on the testosterone balance in the body.
When the stress level in the body rises, it releases more cortisol, known as the stress hormone. And it is precisely this stress hormone that can inhibit the production of testosterone. Remember: the less testosterone we have in our body, the higher the risk of hair and beard loss.
You are what you eat. Somewhat true. If our body is not supplied with enough vitamins, trace elements and amino acids, it quickly switches to failure. The result is hyperacidity, which often leads to beard loss.
But no need to worry: as soon as you change your diet, your beard hair will recover. If you provide the right nutrients, they will reward you with fullness, vitality and shine. These are the treats that will make your beard hair grow back extra fast:
- Trace elements: Zinc, iron, selenium, copper
- Vitamins: Vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin D, vitamin 7 (biotin)
- Amino acids: Isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan and valine
Reducing Beard Loss: What can I do?
When diagnosed with beard loss, many men are perplexed at first. How can they get back their healthy and full facial hair?
Luckily, there is hope: with the right methods, you can recover your favorite accessory. But be careful: Before you try out our tips and tricks, a consultation with your dermatologist is recommended. Talk about your beard loss, describe your life situation and have a hair analysis done. After that, nothing will stand in the way of a successful therapy.
Proper Beard Care
A well-groomed beard is not only good looking, it also reduces the risk of hair loss. After all, the better the skin is hydrated, the better the blood circulation and nutrient supply to the hair follicles.
May we present you with the basics of beard care?
- Clean your beard regularly – preferably twice a day. In the morning and evening, wash the skin and hair thoroughly with lukewarm water. This way you get rid of dirt, germs and bacteria with little effort.
- Use natural care products. A beard shampoo and beard oil are ideal. Not only will this keep your skin and hair clean and fresh, it will also keep them soft and supple.
- How about a facial peeling? The fine abrasive particles reliably remove dead skin flakes and allow the pores to breathe. This reduces the risk of clogging. But be careful: don’t exfoliate your skin too often. Once every two weeks is perfectly sufficient. Otherwise, you will just stress the skin.
- Avoid aggressive products with synthetic active ingredients and fragrances. They only irritate the skin unnecessarily.
- Time for a massage: Treat your skin to a massage more often. Did you know that rhythmic movements have been proven to stimulate blood circulation? Ideally, you should take 10 to 15 minutes twice a day and let your fingertips glide gently over the surface of your skin. Doesn’t that feel good?
In the case of hereditary hair and beard loss, many patients with testosterone deficiency turn to products containing finasteride. They usually take the active substance in the form of pills.
Finasteride interacts with the metabolism. To be precise, it paralyzes the so-called 5-alpha-reductase in the cells. In fact, it is precisely this process that converts the sex hormone testosterone into dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which leads to hair loss in androgenetic alopecia.
Good to know: Finasteride only works as long as we take it. As soon as we stop using it, the alopecia returns. Thus, the advertised miracle ingredient is just a treatment, not a cure.
Doctors prescribe minoxidil for genetic hair loss just as often as finasteride. The substance was originally intended to be used for the treatment of high blood pressure. However, it soon turned out to be a welcome medication for androgenetic alopecia.
Whether as a foam, tincture or medication – minoxidil is supposed to stop hair loss prematurely and even allow new hair to grow back. How does it work exactly? Experts believe that the active ingredient stimulates blood circulation in the scalp. This enables it to absorb more nutrients and provide the hair follicles with a better supply.
Just like finasteride, minoxidil is not a long-term solution. The effect of the preparations only lasts as long as the patient takes them. As soon as they are dropped, the hereditary hair loss progresses.
Beard Hair Transplant
We have some good news for you: the treatment of beard loss is no longer limited to temporary solutions such as finasteride or minoxidil. A beard transplant is a permanent solution.
Regardless of whether it is a three-day beard, a full beard or an upper lip beard – those who are suffering from hair loss and who desperately want to have strong and healthy facial hair are in good hands with this professional procedure. They finally regain their youthful freshness and no longer have to unwillingly reach for the razor to hide bald spots.
Sounds good. But what exactly is the procedure for a beard hair transplant?
A beard hair transplant is similar to a head hair transplant. It always starts with a consultation. The doctor in charge talks to the patient about their problems, wishes and ideas. Afterwards, they advise them on their medical options. In addition, they draw the shape of the new beard experimentally on the patient’s face. This helps the patient to visualize the result.
A custom, patient-tailored approach is essential in this case. The doctor includes both the shape of the face and the existing beard hair in the process. After all, the transplants should blend seamlessly into the existing beard.
The transplantation is the next step. The doctor first removes a fine strip of skin from the back of the head. Because the hair roots at the back of the head are the closest to the beard hair. They are similar in both thickness and structure. Another plus: Possible scars on the back of the head resulting from the removal can be hidden without much effort.
Now the doctor prepares the donor hair from the removed skin strip and stores it temporarily in a nutrient solution. This way, the transplants are only minimally isolated from the natural nutrient supply, which significantly increases their chances of survival.
The next step is to study the transplants carefully. Meticulously, they are examined in terms of strength and vigor. As a precaution, hair that is too thin is sorted out.
Now, the doctor takes care of the recipient area. Diligently, the skin areas are prepared for the transplants. To do this, the doctor opens tiny channels in the facial skin in which the transplants will later be inserted. The recipient area must be prepared with the utmost care and precision. This is the only way to effectively avoid visible scars.
The main part of the treatment follows. The doctor carefully inserts the individual hair roots into the channels that have just been opened in the face – one after the other. In doing so, they pay particular attention to the direction of growth to ensure that the result later looks as natural and harmonious as possible.
Good to know: Several hours must be planned for a beard hair transplant. It depends on the individual patient how long the procedure takes. In fact, it all comes down to the degree of hair loss and the patient’s wishes.
The patient is conscious during the entire procedure. He can even talk to the staff, read or watch TV.
After the transplant, a long regeneration phase is not necessary. The very next day, the patient is fully capable of socializing again and can go about their daily tasks with almost no restrictions. During the first two to three weeks, we recommend avoiding saunas, sunbathing and sporting activities.
The first results can be seen about one to six months after the treatment. At first, the freshly transplanted hair roots in the beard area may be lost. This is referred to as shock loss. But no need to panic: The hair that has fallen out will regrow gradually. Step by step, the beard recovers its fullness, freshness and masculinity.