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Ask the Medical Expert Archives 2000-2004

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Facial Hair
March 2002

Q. I am 47 years old and I haven't been able to grow a full beard. The hair only grows on my chin, above and below my lips and a patch of hair on each cheek. I would like to be able to have a full beard. Are there any treatments to grow facial hair?

A. Your description sounds like a condition called alopecia, lack of hair growth from an area that usually would have it. As the condition is long-standing, it may well have a genetic (inherited) basis. Although hair loss on the scalp is more common, facial hair growth can be affected as well. If the condition is genetic in which the immune system plays a role, the available hair growth products such as Rogaine and Propecia may not be effective. See your family doctor or a dermatologist to decide whether a particular treatment might help.



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