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Home remedies and tips for beard lichen
The so-called "beard lichen" (medical "tinea barbae") is a skin disease caused by fungi that only occurs in men. Externally, it is characterized by reddish, scaly, round spots, which occur especially in the area of facial hair. There may also be a fever and swelling of the lymph nodes. Beard lichen can usually be treated locally with a fungal agent (antifungal), but it heals in many cases even when not treated.
Beard lichen - also called "beard mycosis" or "beard trichophytia" (medically "tinea barbae") - is a disease caused by special fungi (dermatophytes) that mostly affects older men, less often boys and young men. The dermatophytes (from ancient Greek "to derma": "the skin" and "to phyton": "the plant") are so-called "filamentous fungi" that trigger a specific fungal infection of the skin (dermatophytosis). In contrast to other fungi, these only feed on carbohydrates and keratin and accordingly only affect body components containing keratin (horny layer of the skin, hair or nails).
Dermatophytes distinguish almost 40 species, which belong to the three genera "Microsporum" (for example Microsporum audouinii), "Trichophyton" (for example Trichophyton terrestre) and "Epidermophyton" (for example Epidermophyton floccosum).
The beard lichen typically manifests itself first of all by round, reddish spots, which form scales at the edge, can under certain circumstances wet and cause itching. In many cases, the spots combine with the hair follicles at the hairline and form furuncle-like nodules or pustules.
If the inflamed areas reach a certain size or several such nodules join, an abscess can quickly form, which is generally an encapsulated body cavity filled with fluid and pus.
If the inflammation of the hair roots is located in the depths of the roots, it is referred to as a “boil” in which dead cells and pus form a kind of “graft”. This can break through the skin at any time and empty itself. In more severe cases, the fusion of several boils develops a so-called “carbuncle”, a usually very painful inflammation that in most cases has to be treated surgically.
The beard lichen is triggered by infections with the filamentous fungi "Deratophyten", which in most cases are the dermatophyte species "Trichophyton mentagrophytes" or "Trichophyton verrucosum". Other types of Trichophyton and Microsporum are also suitable.
Since Trichophyton mentagrophytes and Trichophyton verrucosum are predominantly dominated by rodents and cattle, beard lichen is particularly common in rural areas where people have close contact with these or other infected animals. Here it can be enough to touch an infected animal briefly with your hand and then scratch your chin. Despite the term "beard lichen", the length and density of the beard play no role in the development and course of the disease - in many cases there is not even a beard.
The infection is often caused by skin contact. In addition, the fungi are highly contagious on the one hand and, on the other hand, are infectious and resistant to environmental influences even after years. In order for humans to be infected by the pathogen, the fungus must overcome the natural skin flora in order to reach the food sources of nails, horny layer or hair containing keratin.
The immune system plays a central role in the defense against the pathogen - accordingly, a weak immune system can promote the development of skin lichen. Here, among other things, the “diabetes” diabetes mellitus comes into question; circulatory disorders or an immune deficiency disease can also be the reason.
So-called “immunosuppression medications”, which are used, for example, after a tissue or organ transplant or for the treatment of allergic asthma, can promote beard lichen, as these have a restrictive effect on the functions of the immune system.
If a man shows conspicuous red spots on the face, an appointment with a dermatologist should be arranged as soon as possible to prevent the spread or worsening of a possible skin disease. It is important to describe the doctor as precisely as possible, since when the rash has been on the face and how it has developed so far.
If there is a beard lichen, the doctor can usually - as with other skin fungal diseases - get first indications of the cause by looking at the shape, appearance and position of the spots. For an accurate diagnosis, however, a smear is usually necessary, which is analyzed in the laboratory for the respective pathogen.
Treatment for beard lichen
After the diagnosis has been made, the doctor explains the best way to treat the present skin disease. Antifungal medications ("antifungals") are usually used, which are applied to the affected areas in the form of ointments, lotions, gels or creams. In most cases, it makes sense not to stop the treatment immediately if the stains recede, but to continue this for a while after consulting the doctor to really combat the fungus.
Danger: If you have a beard mycosis, you should not "treat" the reddish areas on your own and avoid scratching, bruising or pulling small pieces of skin. This increases the risk that the infection will spread to other parts of the body via the fingers or hands. In many cases, scratching the itchy areas also leads to a bacterial infection. There is also the danger that the fungus will be "worked in" deeper into the skin.
It is advisable to avoid wet shaving until the inflammation has subsided. Dry shavers should be disinfected after each shave. In general, special care must be taken to ensure adequate hygiene.
In principle, the lichen can also heal without antifungal treatment - there is a risk of abscesses or scars, in addition there is usually pain and an increased risk of a chronic course of the disease.
Naturopathy for beard lichen
From a naturopathic point of view, research into the causes of lichen is of paramount importance. This means that prior to treatment, it should be clarified which triggers are suitable for the skin disease.
For example, people with diabetes mellitus should definitely see a doctor to check their medication. It is also important to critically question living and eating habits.
Since the development of beard lichen is favored by a weakened defense, it is important to support it if necessary. Best practices that strengthen the immune system include colon cleansing or autologous blood therapy. Various medicinal herbs such as the taiga root or propolis also have a positive effect on the body's defense system.
In general, it is advisable to take care to get enough vitamin C and to provide plenty of fresh air and exercise. Negative stress can quickly weaken the immune system. It is therefore advisable to provide balance and inner balance in the event of increased tension through suitable exercises to reduce stress.
For external treatment, ointments or creams with essential oils from larch and pine are suitable, which relieve the pain of inflammation and accelerate healing. In addition to that, other herbal remedies can be used. There are many effective approaches to home remedies for pimples and blemished skin or home remedies for boils.
For example, real chamomile is considered a tried and tested universal remedy for inflammation, which in the form of facial steam baths or compresses can help to kill the fungi, clean the skin and support healing. The juice of aloe is an effective remedy for skin diseases of all kinds - here it is recommended to apply pure aloe juice thinly to the affected skin areas in the evening and to let it work overnight. Most of the time, significant improvements can be seen after just a few days, and the effect can be enhanced even more with an additional internal application.
Vinegar washes can help fight the fungus. Because mushrooms do not tolerate the acidic vinegar environment and die as a result.Vinegar water against beard lichen
- Mix four tablespoons of vinegar with half a liter of water
- Dip a washcloth in it and wring it out a little
- Use it to clean the affected areas thoroughly but carefully
Natural treatment with tea tree oil
Tea tree oil is a good remedy for beard lichen.
Danger: It should be ensured here that it is oil from the Australian and not the New Zealand tea tree, because its oils are often used to treat burns, but are unsuitable for use in fungal diseases. The oil of the Australian tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia), on the other hand, is considered a true “miracle cure” because it has anti-inflammatory and antifungal properties, supports wound healing, strengthens the immune system and stimulates cell renewal.
If tea tree oil is used, the correct dosage is particularly important: it is usually the most sensible thing to dab the oil directly onto the affected skin areas using a cotton pad. However, caution is advised for sensitive skin or an increased allergy risk, because tea tree oil can quickly lead to skin irritation or allergic reactions. In this case, the oil should always be heavily diluted with milk, water or compatible essential oils, not used regularly over long periods of time and always used as freshly as possible.
Homeopathy and Schuessler Salts
Homeopathy offers treatment support, especially if inflamed specks, boils or abscesses have developed. “Hepar sulfuris” (limestone sulfur liver) comes into consideration here, of which 3-5 pills in potencies D6 or D12 are taken 3 times a day for acute symptoms. The exact dosage and the period of use should always be discussed with a homeopath, doctor or pharmacist.
The homeopathic remedy "Myristica sebifera" is particularly suitable for purulent processes, superficial ulcers and abscesses. This accelerates the formation of pus, allowing the “pus bump” to ripen more quickly and thus helps the abscess to break faster and heal itself. In many cases, even surgical intervention can be prevented with this remedy - hence the colloquial term as “homeopathic knife”. Myristica sebifera is usually taken 3 times a day in the case of purulent structures in the form of two globules in the potency C4 - but here too, consultation with an expert is highly recommended.
Creams and ointments with Schüssler salts can be helpful in the treatment of skin diseases, since the potentized mineral salts are absorbed by the body through the skin and can accelerate the healing process. For example, Salt No. 1 “Calcium fluoratum” relieves the itchy rash and improves cracked skin. Salt No. 11 “Silicea” and salt No. 12 “Calcium sulfuricum” are also suitable. (No)
Author and source information
This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.
Dipl. Social Science Nina Reese, Barbara Schindewolf-Lensch
- Denise M. Aaron: Tinea barbae, MSD Manual, (accessed September 6, 2019), MSD
- Robert Koch Institute: Mycoses (fungal infections), (accessed 06.09.2019), rki
- Rudolf Schweitzer: Dermatology, The Naturopathic Academy, Urban & Fischer Verlag / Elsevier GmbH, 3rd edition, 2018
- Jutta Lehnen: Consultation practice fungal infections, German pharmacist publishing house, 1st edition, 2012
ICD codes for this disease: B35.0ICD codes are internationally valid encodings for medical diagnoses. You can find yourself e.g. in doctor's letters or on disability certificates.