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NewsHair Loss With White Roots, Is It Normal?

Hair Loss With White Roots, Is It Normal?

Hair loss accompanied by a white bulb is a common occurrence, but excessive loss of such hair may raise concerns. This could indicate conditions like telogen effluvium or pattern baldness, which, if left untreated, can worsen over time.

You may also be interested: Hair Problems Other Than Alopecia


Differentiating the White Bulb from the Root 

The presence of a white bulb often leads to confusion as it is mistaken for the root. Since hair grows from the root, the absence of a root could imply a halt in hair growth. However, it is essential to note that the bulb is not the root itself. Rather, it is the part of the hair strand closest to the root during the growth cycle. 

 When a hair strand possesses a bulb at its end, it suggests that the hair was lost at the root. This indicates a telogen phase hair, but it does not necessarily imply Male-Pattern Baldness or other forms of hair loss like alopecia areata. Moreover, the presence of a bulb does not indicate that further hair growth is impossible, as the shedding of telogen hair is a natural part of the hair growth cycle. 

The Link between the Bulb and the Source 

Every hair lost at the root will contain a bulb. The size of the bulb may vary, and it can be either white or pigmented. However, the bulb is always present when the hair originates from the follicle. 

Absence of the Bulb: Premature Hair Loss 

Conversely, a hair without a bulb implies that the hair was lost before reaching the root. This kind of hair loss is typically caused by premature breakage, which often results from tension or physical stress. Several factors that can contribute to hair breakage include: 

  •  Stretching (caused by tight hairstyles or wet styling) 
  • Protein deficiency 
  • Insufficient vitamins and minerals 
  • Excessive exposure to the sun 
  • Heat styling 
  • Use of dyes or perms 

The Life Stages of Hair 

Hair growth follows a cycle consisting of four main phases. Let’s explore each stage: 

Anagen – The Active Growth Phase 

During this phase, hair experiences active growth, lasting from two to six years. Rapid cell development occurs, leading to the formation of the bulb, the lower part of the follicle. 

Catagen – The Transition Phase 

Catagen serves as the transitional phase when active growth comes to a halt, and the hair follicle is pushed away from the papilla. This phase lasts for a few days to a few weeks. 

Telogen – The Resting Phase 

Telogen represents the resting phase of hair growth. Minimal cell activity occurs during this period. Meanwhile, beneath the surface, a new anagen hair starts to form, preparing to push out the telogen hair along with its white bulb from the follicle. 

Exogen – The Shedding Phase 

During exogen, shedding takes place as telogen hairs are shed, making way for newly-formed anagen hairs to emerge through the follicle. On average, 50 to 100 hairs are lost per day during this stage. 

Consistency of Shedding and Hair Loss 

Under normal circumstances, shedding should remain fairly consistent throughout the year, unless you are experiencing hair loss. Shedding alone, even with a white bulb, does not necessarily indicate a significant problem. It’s important to look out for other signs that may provide a more accurate indication of an issue, such as: 

  •  Excess shedding, noticeable on your pillow or in the shower drain. 
  • Hairline recession, particularly around the temples. 
  • Itchy and flaky scalp. 
  • Thinning and wispy hair. 

 By paying attention to these signs, you can gain a better understanding of your hair’s condition and take appropriate steps if needed. 

Understanding Telogen Effluvium 

Telogen effluvium refers to a condition where hair loss occurs during the telogen phase, which is the resting phase of the hair growth cycle. The term “telogen outflow” is used to describe this phenomenon. Although the causes of this condition can vary, the outcome is the same: an interruption in active hair growth, leading to diffuse thinning of the hair across the scalp. 

Causes of Telogen Effluvium 

Telogen effluvium can be triggered by several factors, including hormonal changes (such as those experienced during pregnancy, childbirth, medication use, or illness), shock to the body (such as from injury, surgery, or anesthesia), chronic or acute stress, and deficiencies in the diet. 

 One possible indication of telogen effluvium is an increase in hair loss accompanied by a white bulb at the end of the hair strand. Fortunately, this condition is typically temporary, and the problem often resolves itself within a few months once the underlying trigger is addressed. 

Preventing Hair Thinning and Loss 

If you are experiencing hair loss due to telogen effluvium, there are steps you can take to halt the process. 

 Adjusting Your Diet: Proper nutrition and the right balance of minerals are crucial for maintaining healthy hair, just like any other organ in your body. A diet lacking in essential vitamins and minerals can lead to acute or chronic hair loss. 

 To tackle telogen effluvium caused by diet deficiencies, it is important to determine your specific nutritional needs. This can be done with the guidance of a trained medical professional like a dietitian, who will consider factors such as your gender, weight, BMI, age, and other relevant information. 

 Managing Stress: Since stress is a major contributor to telogen hair loss, engaging in stress-relieving activities can be highly beneficial. One effective method is controlled breathing, which involves taking calm and intentional breaths to lower cortisol levels and increase oxygen intake. This helps reduce free radical activity, which can contribute to signs of aging like hair loss and wrinkles, while promoting healthy hair growth. 

 Stimulating the Scalp: While the aforementioned methods focus on long-term health and hair growth, if you desire more immediate results in preventing hair fall, scalp stimulation is worth considering. Scalp stimulation involves physically manipulating the scalp through techniques like massage, scalp exercises, and microneedling. 

 Microneedling, in particular, has shown promise in stimulating hair growth, even in individuals who did not respond to other hair loss treatments. However, it is important to note that microneedling involves needles entering the skin and carries similar risks to getting a tattoo. Therefore, it is essential to research and select a practitioner who is properly trained and certified in your state and uses sterile disposable needles.


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