In 2022, beards are a mainstream facial feature. And with the beard grooming market expected to grow almost 40% by 2026, this doesn’t look like that’s going to change any time soon [1a]. So if you find it difficult to grow a beard — or you’ve noticed beard bald spots in your facial hair — it can be a blow to your confidence.
The ability to grow a beard is closely linked with male self-esteem and attractiveness. A YouGov survey found that 21% of men aged 18-24 (and almost a quarter of men aged 25 and over) grew a beard to make themselves appear more attractive . So it’s unsurprising that many men turn to home remedies and other treatments to stimulate beard growth.
So what can you do about beard bald spots? In this article, you’ll learn:
- what causes beard bald spots and patchy beard growth
- how to diagnose the cause of your beard alopecia
- how to fix bald spots in your beard.
Causes of beard bald spots
There are many possible causes of bald spots in your beard. The two most common causes are a lack of natural growth (which is often related to hormones) and alopecia barbae (a type of alopecia areata that affects the neck and face).
Lack of beard growth
Some people have a naturally sparse beard. You may find that your beard grows more densely in some areas than others, creating a patchy appearance:
Sparse, patchy beard growth usually occurs as a result of your hormones. Male sex hormones like testosterone and its byproduct, dihydrotestosterone (DHT), are known as androgens. Your beard follicles contain androgen receptors. As you go through puberty, your beard follicles respond to the increased production of testosterone and DHT by growing thicker, longer-lasting hairs .
DHT is the hormone that causes male pattern baldness (also known as androgenetic alopecia). But unlike male pattern baldness, DHT actually stimulates beard growth . So if your beard follicles aren’t sensitive to DHT, it can prevent those thicker beard hairs from growing in.
Alopecia barbae is a type of alopecia areata that only affects the neck and face. It usually manifests as smooth round bald patches where hair used to grow normally:
Alopecia areata is an autoimmune condition in which white blood cells attack the hair follicles. It’s been linked with a loss of immune privilege in the affected hair follicles, which may be due to a lack of T-cells [5-6].
Alopecia barbae has been linked with many other autoimmune conditions, including thyroid disease and type 1 diabetes .
Other causes of bald spots in your beard include:
- Sleep deprivation — one study found that not sleeping for up to 48 hours can stop beard growth 
- Medication — certain medications (such as chemotherapy) can lead to beard hair loss
- Fungal infections — ringworm has been linked with beard hair loss in a condition known as tinea barbae .
How to diagnose the cause of beard bald spots
Understanding the cause of your beard bald patches is essential for finding the right treatment. The best way to diagnose your beard hair loss is to check the symptoms surrounding your condition.
- Is the hair loss sudden, or have you always had patchy beard growth? If you’ve always struggled to grow a beard, the cause is probably hormonal.
- Are the bald patches smooth and round or diffuse across the face and neck? Alopecia barbae is the most likely cause of round patches of hair loss in a beard that was previously full.
- Do you have a rash on your face? Unlike alopecia barbae, ringworm is usually accompanied by a red rash.
- Are you taking any new medications? If your beard hair loss corresponds with starting a new course of treatment, see if alopecia is listed in the side effects. Learn more about medications that cause hair loss.
- Is your beard hair loss sudden and diffuse? Sudden hair loss throughout the beard may be linked with poor sleep.
How to treat bald spots in your beard
Treatments for patchy beard growth
If you have patchy beard growth caused by hormones, the effectiveness of topical solutions is fairly limited. Minoxidil, platelet-rich plasma therapy, and low laser light treatment have all shown some success in treating patchy beard hair [10-12]. See Minoxidil beard growth before and after photos to see the effectiveness of this treatment.
However, the most effective way to get permanent, long-lasting results for this type of beard hair loss is with a beard transplant. Learn more about this minimally invasive procedure:
- Do beard transplants look natural?
- What’s the best age to get a beard transplant?
- 5 beard designs you can have after a beard transplant
Treatments for alopecia barbae
If you have alopecia barbae, there is some good news: alopecia areata has high rates of spontaneous remission . In many cases, the hair will regrow by itself without any treatment within 6 to 12 months. While this does mean you’ll need to wait a while for your hair to regrow, this type of beard hair loss isn’t usually permanent.
If your hair doesn’t regrow spontaneously, or you want to speed up your beard hair growth, there are several treatment options available:
- Corticosteroids — steroids are applied topically or injected into the beard bald spots to suppress your body’s immune response and reduce inflammation 
- Minoxidil — results are mixed for Minoxidil as a treatment for alopecia barbae by itself, but it can improve the effectiveness of corticosteroid treatment 
- Vitamin E supplements — while more research is needed to establish their success for beard hair growth specifically, these vitamins for hair growth have been shown to improve hair loss related to alopecia areata.
Treatments for other causes
If your hair loss is caused by a known trigger — such as chemotherapy-related hair loss, ringworm, or sleep deprivation — your hair should regrow when the trigger is removed or resolved. Treating any infections or improving your sleep pattern may boost beard hair growth.
Learn more about lack of sleep and hair loss.
How to fill bald spots in your beard
Looking for a quick fix for the bald spots in your beard? There’s a common myth that shaving your facial hair can make it grow back quicker. This isn’t true, but there are some ways to get instant improvements in your beard.
Hair fibres or hair thickening spray can give you the appearance of a full, natural beard in minutes:
Before and after the use of hair fibres on beard.
Hair fibres are unlikely to work if you have substantial beard hair loss; they’re best for filling mild to moderate gaps in relatively dense beards.
Creating the appearance of stubble can be achieved with beard micropigmentation. This works in a similar way to scalp micropigmentation. Tiny dots are tattooed on your face to match the rest of your stubble, creating a more even appearance. It’s a popular treatment choice for those with chronic alopecia barbae.
Home remedies for bald spots in beard
Vitamin E supplements are the only home remedy with clinical evidence to suggest it can stimulate hair growth in those with alopecia areata . Be aware that taking high doses of vitamin E in supplement form can lead to dangerous conditions like stroke and blood clots, as well as further hair loss — so don’t overdo the supplements. Learn more about vitamin E for hair.
Eating a good diet for healthy hair may boost beard growth. Plus, if you’re sleep-deprived, improving your sleeping pattern can increase your beard hair count. But proven home remedies for bald spots in your beard are few and far between — so if you’re serious about improving beard hair growth, it’s best to speak to a hair loss specialist.
Can you have a beard transplant for beard bald spots?
Beard transplants are an extremely effective way to treat beard bald patches. But they’re only appropriate for some hair loss patients — namely, those with naturally patchy beards. If you have alopecia barbae or alopecia areata, hair transplants aren’t usually suitable.
But for other patients, beard transplants can be life-changing. At the Wimpole Clinic, we’ve transformed the facial hair of hundreds of beard transplant patients. Take a look at some of our before and after beard transplant photos:
To find out how we can improve the bald spots in your beard, book your free consultation at the Wimpole Clinic.
- Global Beard Grooming Products Market (2021-2026)
- YouGov Survey Results | Beard Growth & Perception
- Hormones and hair growth: variations in androgen receptor content of dermal papilla cells cultured from human and red deer (Cervus elaphus) hair follicles
- Dihydrotestosterone Regulates Hair Growth Through the Wnt/β-Catenin Pathway in C57BL/6 Mice and In Vitro Organ Culture
- Lymphocytes, neuropeptides, and genes involved in alopecia areata
- Alopecia Areata of the Beard: A Review of the Literature
- Incipient Diabetes Mellitus and Nascent Thyroid Disease Presenting as Beard Alopecia Areata: Case Report and Treatment Review of Alopecia Areata of the Beard
- Sleep deprivation decreases the beard-hair growth in man
- Tinea Barbae
- Review of Topical Therapies for Beard Enhancement
- Successful Treatment of Alopecia Areata Barbae with Platelet-rich Plasma
- Hair stimulation following laser and intense pulsed light photo-epilation: Review of 543 cases and ways to manage it
- Common Hair Loss Disorders
- Systemic steroids with or without 2% topical minoxidil in the treatment of alopecia areata
- Effects of Tocotrienol Supplementation on Hair Growth in Human Volunteers
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