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"What causes alopecia barbae around the chin?"
I've got this rash around my chin that looks just like alopecia barbae pictures that I've found online. A) How can I make a definite diagnosis if that is what this is? B) Since it's just a fungus, can I treat it at home, like with vinegar or garlic?
Alopecia barbae is a type of hair loss in the beard area. It is actually a more specific description of a general condition, alopecia areata, which can be hair loss anywhere. Alopecia barbae and alopecia areata are not caused by fungal infections or other infections of the skin. However, fungal infections can cause hair loss, usually in a circular pattern and often with a crusting lesion in the middle. Therefore, before calling it alopecia areata or barbae, it is important to rule out fungus and also other causes such as trauma (from pulling of hairs). Once the presumed diagnosis is alopecia areata, then treatments are based on the presumed mechanism of this condition, which is an autoimmune condition in which the body's own immune cells attack the hair follicles causing hair loss. No treatment option for alopecia areata / barbae is very good, but some things have been shown to have an effect. For example, applying steroid creams or injecting steroids into the affected area may have an effect. Minoxidil, which stimulates hair growth, has been used with some effect. Other topical immune agents such as tacrolimus cream may be used for small spots. In short, you should first see your dermatologist to get a definitive diagnosis; then treatment options can be discussed an initiated.
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