Last Updated on August 21, 2023 by Reiner Chase
White tips on hair, often called “trichoptilosis,” result from split ends caused by hair damage. Over 80% of people experience split ends due to factors like heat styling, harsh chemicals, and lack of moisture. Regular trims, proper hair care, and heat protection can prevent and manage white tips.
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Common Causes of White Tips on Your Hair
One common cause of white hair tips is nutrient deficiencies. It can show up in your hair if you’re not getting enough vitamins and minerals. Another common cause is damage from heat styling or coloring.
This damage can make the hair shaft vulnerable to breakage, leading to pesky white tips. Environmental factors like sun exposure and chlorine can also cause white hair tips. Luckily, there are some solutions for all of these causes.
Suppose you are eager to learn more about why your hair tips turn white; read our segment below to find the reasons and probable solutions.
Do you have white hair tips? If so, you’re not alone. Many people experience this phenomenon, which is often caused by excessive shampoo. Here’s how it works;
When the soap in your shampoo mixes with the natural oils produced by your scalp, they form a chemical reaction that strips away natural pigments from your hair. For example, when a sulfate-based soap mixes with sebum (natural oil from your scalp) to create sodium lauryl sulfate (a detergent), the result can be colorless or white hair tips as well as stripped or damaged strands.
Sulfates and the White Hair Tips
Sulfates can cause white hair tips. Sulfates are a salt often used in shampoo and other hair products. When sulfates come into contact with your hair, they can strip away the natural oils that protect it.
The stripping of natural oils causes your hair to become dry, brittle, and more susceptible to damage. In addition, sulfates can bleach dyed hair, which can lead to white tips.
To avoid this problem, opt for shampoos that don’t contain any sulfates. Non-sulfate shampoos improve your hair’s health and prevent future issues like discoloration or breakage.
Swimming in Chlorinated Water
Do you wonder why your hair turns white at the tips after swimming in chlorinated water? Chlorine is a strong oxidant that can damage the hair shaft, making it more susceptible to breakage.
This can lead to the formation of white tips, also known as split ends. Several ways to protect your hair from chlorine damage include using a swim cap, applying a leave-in conditioner, and rinsing your hair with clean water after swimming.
Dyeing your hair can cause the tips to turn white for a few reasons. If you’re using a semi-permanent or demi-permanent color, the dye may not take to the ends of your hair as it does to the rest of your strands. This is because the ends of your hair are often more damaged than the rest, causing them to be less porous.
As a result, the color doesn’t adhere well and can look patchy or uneven. Additionally, if you don’t use a deep conditioner after coloring your hair, this can also lead to dryness and damage, making the tips appear white.
Did you know that bleaching contributes to white tips on your hair? When you bleach your hair, you’re essentially stripping it of its natural color. This can damage the hair shaft and lead to those telltale white tips. If you’re using excessive heat styling tools, that can also cause damage and lead to white tips.
Remember that while these products might temporarily make your hair look brighter, they damage it in the long run.
Lack of Melanocyte Cells
One of the primary causes of white tips on your hair is a depletion or lack of melanocyte cells. Melanocytes are what give your hair its color. When the melanocyte is depleted, your hair can no longer produce pigment, resulting in the telltale white tips.
While this can be due to natural aging, it can also be caused by other factors, such as exposure to chemicals or UV radiation.
Smoking is one of the leading causes of premature graying hair. The nicotine in cigarettes narrows blood vessels, including those in the scalp, which reduces blood flow and delivers oxygen and nutrients to hair follicles.
This can cause your hair to weaken, making it more likely to break or fall out. Plus, the chemicals in cigarettes can damage the DNA in your cells, which can also lead to hair loss. If you smoke, consider quitting since this is the best favor you can do for your hair—and your health!
Which is the best way to eliminate the pesky white tips? Use a darkening toner or deep conditioner for about 20 minutes before rinsing. It’ll help bring back some missing pigment and keep your locks from breaking off too quickly.
How to Fix White Tips on Your Hair
Is your hair healthy, and do you have white tips? Here are a few hacks you can try to return to its natural color.
- Avoid bleaching your hair with harsh chemicals, as this will only damage the already damaged areas of your hair.
- Try using an organic shampoo and conditioner that contains sulfur to restore the protein in your hair’s damaged sections.
- Consider adding a deep conditioning treatment once or twice per week.
- Depending on how much of your hair has been affected by the white tips, you may need to get it trimmed off entirely if it’s too difficult to dye over the problem areas.
- Consult your stylist about what would be best for your particular situation.
When you’re satisfied with the results, keep up with these steps every two weeks or so and avoid getting any more chemical treatments done on your hair until the white tips disappear.
How to Prevent White Tips
Although you might not prevent white hair tips completely, there are some things you can do to reduce their appearance:
- Try using a moisture-rich shampoo and conditioner to keep your hair hydrated.
- If your diet lacks specific nutrients, take a supplement containing anti-oxidants, biotin, or folic acid, which are essential for healthy hair growth.
- Finally, avoid using too much heat on your hair, which can cause further damage and make your white tips more visible.
It’s challenging to pinpoint the exact reason behind white hair tips, but these tips should help you get them under control.
Can You Get Rid Of White Hair Tips on Your Hair?
Unfortunately, once white hair tips, also known as split ends, have occurred, they cannot be repaired or mended. The best solution is to trim the affected hair to prevent further splitting and promote overall hair health. Regular trims, proper hair care, and minimizing factors that contribute to damage can help prevent new split ends from forming.
The Bottom Line
The causes of prematurely white hair tips include overuse of heat styling tools like curling irons and flat irons, which can also break down natural oils. Likewise, chlorine in swimming pools also breaks down these oils, turning them into chloramines. Some solutions to this problem include Shampooing less often, choosing shampoos made without harsh chemicals like sulfates, using diluted vinegar rinses, or trying coconut oil deep conditioning treatments at least once a week for stronger hair that resists breakage and damage.