Movember is upon us and with that a lot of unshaven beards and mustaches. November is the month that represents the fight against diseases that primarily affect men, prostate cancer in particular. To show solidarity with this cause, thousands of men drop their buzzer and let beards grow freely for the month. But this is easier said than done for some. Not all men can easily grow facial hair, and though it can have genetic reasons, there could also be an underlying medical reason.
Genetic Reasons Why Facial Hair Will Not Grow
The main reason why some men cannot grow a full-length beard is that they are less sensitive to the male hormone testosterone. Testosterone synthesizes into another hormone called dihydrotestosterone, or DHT. DHT decides how much facial hair you grow. If you are more sensitive to these hormones you will grow more facial hair and vice versa. If this is the case, there is nothing you can do about it – it is just the way you are. However, there is also a possibility that you are suffering from a medical condition called Alopecia Barbae.
Movember Could Help Reveal Whether You Suffer From Alopecia
You will not know whether you are capable of growing a full beard until you try. So Movember could be the perfect opportunity to find out whether you may suffer from a particular type of hair loss. Alopecia barbae only affects facial hair, not the hair on the head.
The most common type of hair loss, androgenetic alopecia, affects most men and women as we age. For men, it is most common that it begins with a receding frontal hairline. In women, the hair normally thins out gradually and begins on the crown of the head. There is also a form of hair loss called alopecia areata, which is considered an autoimmune disease. If you suffer from this, your immune system attacks your hair follicles and they stop producing hair.
Alopecia barbae is more specific embodiment of the general condition, alopecia areata. Both are caused by an autoimmune disease, but alopecia barbae is the diagnosis when the facial hair is affected. It usually starts with a small bald patch in your beard, but can quickly become several bald patches. Many men ignore it at first, not paying much attention to a small bald spot. But identifying it early on can make it easier to find a solution.
What to do About it
Unfortunately there is no good cure for this type of hair loss as it is the body’s own immune system attacking the follicles. Some have seen results with steroid injections or tacrolimus cream, but all of them are either painful or come with harmful side effects. For example, long term use of tacrolimus cream has lead to skin cancer and lymphoma in some cases.
When it comes to natural treatments, there is little science to back up their efficacy. Pure aloe vera and a combination of essential oils of thyme, lavender, rosemary and cedar wood applied on the effected spots, are said to have produced positve results in some men. Aloe vera is a well known anti-oxidant, that can remove toxic elements from the skin, and since there are no side effects of trying it, you might as well give it a shot.
Another thing you can do is to check for any other symptoms, like hair loss on the scalp, fatigue, changes in your weight, or trouble sleeping. This could mean you have a thyroid disorder, which is treatable.
Also, make sure you get a nutritious diet and all the essential vitamins that you need to grow healthy hair. You can boost your chances of optimal hair growth by adding a natural vitamin supplement. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is very important for all your hair growth. On top of a balanced diet, make sure you exercise, get enough sleep and drink enough water. And remember, you can still support Movember and the fight against prostate cancer, even if you do not grow a beard!