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What Will Happen If I Pluck Out White Hair?

Linda White

When you see white hair, you immediately give yourself two options: pluck it or ignore it! This is mainly because of the commonly held belief that if you do pluck it, you’ll have to prepare for three more white hairs growing its place.

So does white hair multiply when plucked? The answer is no. As we reach the age of 30, we have a 10 to 20 percent chance of having gray or white hair every ten years. This means that many men and women get gray hair in their twenties.

Graying hair is a fact of life – like wrinkles, we know everybody will go gray at some point in their lives. As you age, the pigment that gives your hair its color, called melanin, reduces, causing hair to turn gray and eventually white, which means no melanin is left at this point.

Plucking white hair will only result in new white hair coming in its place. This is because your scalp has a set number of follicles, and only one hair can grow per follicle. When you pluck white hair, you do not multiply its growth, because you cannot increase your follicles. Also, when you pluck a white hair, the surrounding hair will not turn white – until the pigments in their follicles die as well.

Does this mean it is okay to pluck those pesky white hairs? Probably not as it will cause damage to your hair. Keep reading to find out the consequences of plucking white hair, along with expert-approved solutions to getting rid of them.

Understanding Why Hair Turns Gray or White

If you look back at photos of President Obama before he ran for president, you’ll notice a striking difference to how he looks today. What used to be dark brown is now, mostly gray. The most obvious cause is stress. It seems the stress of running a country would turn any individual’s hair predominantly gray.

However, stress isn’t actually to blame. Your hair doesn’t “turn gray.” Your hair color is set as soon as your follicles produce hair. This explains why even people, who don’t undergo a lot of stress, do go gray at some point in their life. If a single strand of your hair is blond, black or brown, it cannot turn gray.

Your hair color is the result of the pigment in your hair, called melanin. Melanin is a protein, and each hair may possess dark melanin (eumelanin) or light melanin (pheomelanin). The melanin blends together to form varying shades of hair.

What Leads to Graying Hair?

When you’re young, your melanocytes (pigment stem cells), insert pigment into your hair cells containing keratin. Keratin is the protein that makes up your hair.  As we age, our melanocytes produce less melanin, causing reduced pigment in the hair. Therefore, when your hair is going through its natural cycle of shedding and regrowth, it’s likely to grow gray after a certain age.

Although stress isn’t a direct contributor to graying hair, it can prompt a common condition called telogen effluvium. The condition causes hair to shed thrice its normal speed. The hair grows back, without causing balding. However, if you’re middle-aged and your hair falls and regrows too fast as a result of stress, there is a high possibility of new hair being gray.

Some other causes of gray hair may include:

  • According to the Nigerian Journal of Surgery, there may be a significant link between graying hair and the use of tobacco. Furthermore, a study published in the Indian Journal of Dermatology, suggests that cigarette smoking is also associated with premature graying of the hair – where hair grows gray before you turn 30.
  • Hydrogen Peroxide Use. Hydrogen peroxide, used in hair dyes, is a common ingredient for bleaching hair. However, what most people don’t know is that your hair cells produce hydrogen peroxide as well. With age, your hair cells produce more hydrogen peroxide. According to a text published in the Federations of American Society for Experimental Biology (FASEB) journal, this eventually bleaches out the melanin in your hair, causing hair to turn gray and then white.
  • Oxidative Stress. White hair may be an indication of oxidative stress-induced damage. Oxidative stress is the state in which your body has more free radicals from a poor diet, pollution, and stress, than your antioxidant defenses. According to research published in the International Journal of Trichology, people who have gray hair have lower levels of antioxidants and higher levels of pro-oxidants than individuals with normal hair.
  • Vitamin B12 Deficiency. This is a common reason for white hair. According to one report published in the Archives of Dermatology, individuals with vitamin V12 deficiency and graying hair noticed pigmentation coming back after the deficiency was taken care of.
  • Alopecia Areata. The condition causes loss of hair in patches, and it mainly targets colored or non-gray hair. This may make your hair appear gray overnight because the existing gray becomes much more obvious. When the condition is resolved, hair grows back, and your hair returns to its original state.

Your Hair’s Biological Clock

Your hair follicles may be controlled via a melanogenic clock that slows down the activity of melanocytes with age. Hair turns gray as a result of age and genetics. Your genes decide when the pigment in each hair follicle begins to die. The rate at which this occurs may vary among hair follicles. For some, graying is a fast process, while for others it occurs slowly over many years.

This explains why you may see a couple of gray hairs in your scalp, while one of your peers of the same group doesn’t.

Does Plucking White Hair Make Them Grow Back Thicker?

You’ve probably noticed that your hair on the rest of your body grows back a little thicker and darker every time you shave, wax or thread it. So, does this mean plucking hair on the scalp will result in thicker, fuller hair growing back?

The answer is no. Yanking your hair out does not change your hair’s diameter or texture. Genetic predisposition and hormonal variables are more likely the cause.

If you want thicker, fuller hair, understand that plucking it is not going to solve anything. You cannot regrow a hair follicle if it’s not there. However, maintaining a healthy diet, reducing sun and heat exposure, getting regular trims, not processing your hair too much and using conditioning products and oils on the regular, can prevent your hair from falling excessively, and make it appear smoother. This results in hair that looks more voluminous and silky.

The key here is changing the look. Your hair and hair follicles do not change. Bleaching and dying your hair may make your hair appear fuller, but they’re just causing your hair shafts to swell, allowing easy access for dye molecules to enter your hair.

Why You Shouldn’t Pluck White Hair

While pulling out a white hair will not cause multiple white hairs to grow in its place, you should still probably avoid it.

if you pull out a hair will it grow back?

Each time you pluck your hair, whether it is on your head or your eyebrows, you’re creating a little bit of damage. Keep reading to find out why it’s better just to cut them, dye them or embrace them.

Your Hair Will Appear Thinner

By pulling the hair out, you’re causing trauma to your scalp and follicle. When you pluck your hair on your face, you probably notice some redness as blood vessels dilate, responding to the microtrauma. When it comes to the hair on your scalp, you’re also causing slight strain to your follicle.

If hair is being pulled continuously, over time, your brain signals the hair follicle not to produce more hair.  This allows the follicle to go into rest and ultimately shrink.  Although rare, plucking your hair forcefully and continuously can stunt your hair’s growth and cause overall thinning of your hair. In extreme cases, this may result in bald patches.

Moreover, every time you pull out your hair, you’re also running the risk of reducing your hair’s smoothness as new growth begins to grow coarser and more brittle.

Whether you’re plucking one hair or ten at one time, you should not pull out of gorgeous silver strands. If you don’t like them, try coloring them.

Risk of Ingrown Hairs on Scalp

When you pluck a hair rapidly from any part of your body, you disrupt and possibly damage, the lining that surrounds your hair and leads it out of the follicle and to the surface of your skin. A disruption in this lining can result in a plethora of problems – one of the most common issues being the dreaded ingrown hair.

When this lining is absent, the hair that is growing back does not have a pathway that leads it out of the skin. This increases the risk of ingrown hairs on the scalp.

It Doesn’t Achieve Anything

In today’s fast-paced world, we have to make enough time for work, family, a healthy diet, exercise, self, car, and sleep. Plucking your gray hair shouldn’t be one of your primary concerns.

Pulling out grays does not benefit you in any way. It is just a temporary fix that may make your white hair go away for a brief period. After a while, the hair follicle resets to its growth phase and grows another hair in its place. Unfortunately, because the pigment cells in this follicle have died, your hair will always grow back gray.

does white hair multiply when plucked?

How to Transform Your Graying Hair

Silver hair is all the rage these days, so if you ever decide to leave them, try focusing on giving them more shine. This can be done via a clear gloss salon treatment.

Glossing is a more inexpensive option to highlights, color, and balayage and it comes with many benefits. Glosses are classified as demi-permanent, which is a cross between semi and permanent hair dyes. They’re typically used to deposit tone, without lifting hair cuticles and lightening your hair color.

Glosses don’t contain bleach or ammonia, so they’re often much less harmful than typical hair dyes. Furthermore, they leave your hair feel shinier, healthier and more moisturized at the end of the process.

Along with a gloss treatment, you should also consider using a blue-based shampoo for gray hair or a purple shampoo for blond, gray or white hair. Blue or purple shampoo will ensure that your hair continues to look brilliant, without getting dull.

Hair Mascara for Concealing Grays

In the 19th century, men and women covered their gray strands temporarily with a technique called Mascaro. Luckily for us, it’s making a comeback today, and even though it’s a temporary fix, it’s much less harmful than pulling out your hair.

Hair mascara is often waterproof, so it won’t run if it rains. You can take it off during your shower, using your regular shampoo.

There is a wide range of hair mascaras for different hair colors on the market, but you can DIY it at home as well. Simply use a toothbrush or a clean mascara wand to apply hair color onto gray hairs. The technique works wonders and lets you focus only on gray areas or your roots without coloring the rest of your hair.

Add Some Oomph with Highlights

Over time, gray hair can wash out your skin color, making it look dull. However, you can add dimension to your hair without a performing a complete dye job.

If your hair is more than 75% non-gray, you can add contrast via salon highlights. Highlights are trickier than dying your entire hair, so it’s best not to tackle the project on your own.

Ask your stylist to add highlights, along with a few lowlights spread out, without coloring your entire hair. These color variations help hide grays beautifully.

We’re also huge fans of highlights and lowlights because they don’t require as many touch-ups as a complete dye job. Also, it’s important to note that sticking to the same hair color all over, results in a bland, flat result. Adding different shades makes hair appear fuller and more natural.

Load Some Color

People who haven’t colored their hair before stay away from it because of the possible damage it may cause. Although the concern is reasonable, you can work around it.

Try getting your hair colored professionally, instead of doing at home using a box color. The chemical formulations that are found in box colors are often more potent than the ones used in salons. To top it all of, they generally do not yield desired results, calling for another dye job sometime soon.

does plucking white hairs have side effects?

Gray hairs can be wiry, stubborn and hard to cover up. However, if you do decide to color your hair yourself, take the following tips into consideration:

  • Color your hair yourself, only if you have to cover your roots or all of your hair. Highlights and balayages require the skill of a trained colorist.
  • Only use permanent hair dyes. Semi-permanent dyes are often not effective enough for gray and white hairs.
  • Choose two shades lighter or two shades darker if you’re coloring your hair at home.
  • Always follow instructions written in the box. Avoid washing off dye too early or too late after applying color.

How to Pick the Best Shade

If your hair is more than 50 percent gray, choose a lighter hair color to a darker one. For example, a blond shade is often a smarter choice than going brunette. This is mainly because, as your hair grows out, your white hair will seem less obvious within the lightened hair. If you choose a dark color, chances are new grays will stand out more.

However, if your hair is less than 50 percent gray, try to stay close to your natural hair color. Avoid going over two shades darker or lighter than your natural hair. If you are having a hard time deciding between light and dark, always go for light. It’s easier to switch from light to dark than the other way if you end up not liking it.

Avoid colors that make you look older. It’s important to stay away from black, burgundy and golden blond because they accentuate the lines in the face. Try opting for reds, such as copper, as they brighten your face and look much healthier than other hair colors. Also, short hair can make you appear younger than long hair.

The world of beauty has an ocean of closely tied myths – including ones related to your hair. The number of hair follicles on your scalp and how and when your hair turns gray is almost entirely based on your genes. Plucking white hair will not result in more white hair, because you cannot multiply the hair follicles on your scalp.

Instead of plucking out your gray hair, try snipping it as close as possible to the scalp or coloring it to prevent permanent damage to your scalp. Graying is an inevitable part of everyone’s life, so it helps to have an action plan that will be best suited for you – whether it involves embracing your silver or covering it up.

Copyright 2018 by DryScalpGone.