It is normal to lose around 50 to 100 hairs each day. You may have noticed that some of these hairs have white bulbs at the ends. In this article, we will look at what these white bulbs are.
A hair that has a white bulb at the end is known as club hair. The white bulb is a deposit of keratin. This is the protein that makes up hair, skin, and nails. This bulb roots the hair in the follicle until it sheds.
White Bulbs On The Ends Of Your Hair – What Are They?
These small white bulbs on the ends of a shed hair are lumps of keratin.
They are unpigmented which means they don’t yet contain melanin. This results in their white appearance.
You may lose strands with pigmented bulbs also, but these are less noticeable as they blend in with your hair color.
While these white bulbs are not the root of the hair, they are the part of the hair strand closest to the root throughout the growth cycle.
If a white bulb can be seen on a shed hair, it means the hair was lost at the root level. But it is not necessarily something to worry about.
What Causes The White Bulbs?
To understand why this white bulb may be attached to your shed hairs, we need to look at the hair’s growth cycle.
In this phase, your hair is actively growing from the follicle. The cells in the root of the hair are rapidly dividing. It is during this stage that the follicle creates the hair root.
Often referred to as the ‘growth phase’, it is in this phase that the hair breaks out from the skin and becomes visible.
At any given time, about 80-90% of your hair is in the anagen phase. Typically, it lasts for two to six years and determines the length of the hair.
After growing to its full length, hair moves into the next phase. It is a transitional phase lasting approximately two to four weeks.
Active hair growth ceases. The hair follicle itself pushes through from the papilla. It is in this phase that hair detaches from the hair follicle and loses its blood supply and nutrients.
This is known as the resting phase in the cycle. Very little cell activity takes place during this stage.
Beneath the surface of the scalp, a new anagen hair is forming and developing. This will soon push the resting telogen hair, with the white bulb, from the follicle.
This is the stage in the hair growth cycle when a telogen hair falls out as the newly formed anagen hair pushes through the hair follicle.
This is the stage that results in approximately 50-100 hairs shedding every day.
Telogen effluvium is a condition in which excessive hair loss occurs.
Effluvium literally means outflow and that is what is happening to the hair when this condition occurs.
The cause behind the outflow can vary, but the result is the same.
The hairs transition prematurely from the anagen phase of the hair growth cycle to the telogen phase.
As a result of the hairs moving rapidly from the anagen phase to the telogen phase, they often shed with this rounded, club-shaped white bulb attached.
However, to re-iterate, shedding hair with a white bulb attached does not mean you are experiencing telogen effluvium hair loss.
It is quite normal to lose a certain amount of hair each day.
7 Signs Of Hair Damage
While an increase in hair loss with a white bulb attached may be concerning for you, it does not necessarily mean that hair is damaged.
However, there are other signs to be aware of that could be indicative of damaged hair. Some of these include:
1. Excess Shedding Or Thinning
This is most noticeable on the pillow or in the shower drain. Excessive hair shedding can have many contributing factors.
Some of these include age, certain medications, stress, or having just had a baby.
2. Receding Hairline
While this is a common situation, it is not necessarily ‘normal’. It is the first sign of androgenetic alopecia or male-pattern baldness.
A combination of genetics and hormones influences the development of this condition.
Scientists believe that men who experience this have inherited sensitivity to the male hormone androgen.
This causes the affected hair follicles to shrink progressively.
3. Itchy, Flaky Scalp
Seborrheic dermatitis is a severe form of dandruff resulting in itching, flaking, and scaly skin on the scalp. An extreme symptom of seborrheic dermatitis can be hair loss.
When the scalp is damaged, it means the hair is growing from an unhealthy foundation. In addition, the irritation and itching caused results in scratching.
This action can weaken hair causing it to break more easily.
4. Split Ends
Split ends can be a tell-tale sign that hair is damaged.
They can feel rough and dry to the touch. The hair’s outer layer breaks away from the core over time resulting in this split effect.
Causes of split ends include everyday wear and tear and heat styling, among other things.
Hair that is dry and does not seem conditioned no matter what you try can be a sign of damaged cuticles.
This means they are unable to lock in moisture.
6. Change In Texture
Changes in the texture of the hair can also be a sign that there is a problem.
A lack of protein can be the cause of a change in hair texture.
7. Lack of Elasticity
When hair is healthy, it can stretch up to double its original length before returning to normal.
Hair with low elasticity won’t hold its shape and can be harder to style. It may also break when stretched.
How To Prevent Excessive Hair With White Bulbs Falling Out
To do this, we need to look at ways to nourish the hair, scalp, body, and mind:
Use natural hair products to keep the scalp and hair follicles clean and healthy. Aim to fortify the hair follicles and roots with good quality products.
Products such as bicarbonate of soda and apple cider vinegar work a treat to keep the scalp healthy.
A diet lacking in essential vitamins and minerals can have a huge impact on hair health.
Some food groups are more likely to cause issues than others. These include dairy, sugar-laden food and drinks, and greasy food.
To get the nutrients your body (and your hair) needs, make sure your diet includes plenty of the following: colorful vegetables, lean meats, high fiber, low glycemic, and probiotics.
Stress can be a major factor in telogen hair loss. To combat this, try taking part in an activity to reduce stress.
Controlled breathing is one such way. This lowers levels of cortisol and increases intake of oxygen which decreases free radical activity.
The result is an improvement in the growth of healthy hair.
Other things you can try include yoga, tai chi, massage, or meditation.
This is a direct approach to avoid hair fall.
Some of the most popular methods to stimulate the scalp are micro-needling, massage, and scalp exercises.
These work by increasing blood flow to the hair follicles which ensures adequate levels of nutrients and oxygen.
If you still have concerns about losing hair with white bulbs, it is important that you seek advice from a medical professional.
They can advise you and talk through steps you can take to treat the condition.
To sum up, the white bulbs on the ends of your hair are deposits of keratin and it is perfectly normal to lose 50-100 of these hairs a day.
However, if you feel you are losing more than this, there are steps you can take to improve the health of your hair. Alternatively, seek the advice of a medical professional.
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