Does White Bulb on Hair Follicle Signify Hair Loss?

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If you have ever had any concerns about your hair loss, remember that the average person loses about 100 hairs a day. Shedding is always happening and does not necessarily indicate a hair loss problem. All hair loss at the root will contain a bulb that is present when it comes from the follicle.

The white bulb is not usually noticed until shedding becomes excessive, which prompts one to examine the fallen strands. The bulb may be small or large. It may also be white or pigmented. A hair without a bulb means the hair was lost prior to the root. Excessive loss of hair with the white bulb attached is indicative of Telogen effluvium or male or female pattern baldness.

For any hair to fall out with a white bulb attached, it must have cycled through the Telogen phase. There is usually no reason for concern unless shedding is excessive. These strands are also known as club hairs because of their shape.

Hair And Hair Growth

A hair is made of a tough protein called keratin, while a hair follicle anchors each hair into the skin. The hair bulb makes up the base of the hair follicle. However, the color of the Hair color is created by pigment cells that produce melanin in the hair follicle. With aging, the pigment cells die, and the hair eventually turns gray. Blood vessels nourish the cells in the hair bulb, which deliver hormones that modify hair growth and structure. The average rate at which hair grows is around one-half inch per month. There are three phases in which hair growth occurs;

  • Anagen- This is the growth phase characterized by the growth of most hair at any given time, lasting for several years.
  • Catagen– This is known as the transitional phase where the hair growth slows over a few weeks, and the hair follicle shrinks.
  • Telogen phase- This phase is the resting phase. Here, old hair detaches from the hair follicle and hair growth stops. After that, a new hair begins the growth phase and pushes the old hair out.

The bulb is at the bottom of the hair follicle, and it contains three distinct parts: The papilla which is the bottom-most part of the bulb, it connects to the follicle root delivering nutrients oxygen and energy from the blood vessels; the germinal matrix is the second layer, where cells divide to produce new hair; and the root sheath which comprises of the inner and outer root sheaths. This part protects the newly produced hair strand and serves as a support to the hair structure. There is a difference between this bulb and the bulb that is shed. This implies that the bulb that is seen at the end of a fallen hair strand only contains the root sheath and the base of the hair strand.

Is White Bulb A Sign Of Hair Loss?

If a  disorder is suspected, an examination of the bulb can provide professionals with clues regarding the type and cause of the disorder. The shape, size, and color will determine which stage of the growth cycle, the hair was in before falling out, and the presence of abnormalities. However, when there is an increase in the number of shed telogen hairs, there is a possibility of TELOGEN Effluvium.

Telogen Effluvium

It is the most common condition that causes excessive shedding with a white bulb attached. Telogen effluvium is a type of hair loss that means the outflow of telogen hairs. Although losing a high number of hairs within a short time can be frightening, It is often temporary and isn’t a condition as Androgenetic alopecia and alopecia areata.

The loss of telogen hairs, however, doesn’t mean there is a danger of permanent baldness. Since hair on the scalp grows slowly, the hair appears thinner, but fullness will eventually return as the new hair grows in. The hair loss begins two to four months after the event that triggered the problem and lasts approximately six months.

Causes of Telogen Effluvium

Nutrient deficiencies, hormone changes like pregnancy, menopause and birth control, stress, shock (injury, surgeries).

It is often triggered by several events such as surgery, major physical trauma, extreme change in diet, iron deficiency, hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, high fever, severe infections, some  medications


There has been no effective treatment for active telogen effluvium. However, some causes of the disorder can be corrected. For instance, a dietician can be consulted to balance a poor diet. Also, if the hair loss began after the start of a new medication, the doctor should be consulted to know if the medication should be discontinued. In cases where the hair growth has not returned to the satisfactory level, a lotion such as minoxidil may be prescribed by the doctor, to apply to the scalp to stimulate hair growth.

In cases where there is excessive hair loss or noticeable thinning patches on your scalp, then you might have to see a professional.


It is often characterized by more hair than usual, accumulating in your hairbrush, pillowcase, or in the shower drain.

This condition is also identified by subtle hair loss, which is not easily noticeable by other people.


A medical history and examination of hair and scalp can diagnose telogen. If the doctor gently tugs on your hair, and four or more strands come out, it means the patient has telogen. If the hair loss has been occurring for several months, thinning patches may be visible but without a dramatic hair loss. It should be noted that the presence of large bald patches does not diagnose telogen

Steps To Stopping Hair Loss

There are many ways to stop hair loss, but it all depends on the reason for hair loss. One of the approaches employed in stopping hair loss includes

Diet- a diet containing raw vegetables and fresh herbs, like the Mediterranean diet and also high amounts of these foods like parsley, basil, salad greens, may help prevent hair loss.

Also, eating a diet rich in protein like eggs, nuts, beans and peas, fish, low-fat dairy products, chicken, and turkey as well as the inclusion of vitamin A, supplements like multivitamins, biotin vitamin D and ginseng are also used. They contribute to improved health as well as stable hair.

Other ways of stopping hair loss include regular hair care that comprises of washing, hair processing, gentle styling. Also, some medical treatments like Platelet-rich plasma, laser therapy, and medications like minoxidil, finasteride, and phenylephrine are used.

Hair loss as a result of telogen effluvium, alopecia areata with a white bulb attached can be treated with the right procedures as effective treatments for some type of hair loss are available that promote hair growth and slow hair loss.


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