Leukotrichia (White Hair phenomenon) is a type of acquired hair discoloration that can occur at any stage of a person's life. This phenomenon mainly concerns those who suffer from Vitiligo, as well as those who have individual white hairs. White hair may have a negative effect on the patient’s psychology and confidence, mainly because of its association with aging.
To date, scientists have tried various therapeutic approaches for the treatment or removal of white hairs, unfortunately without success. The most common treatments for white hair removal are laser hair removal, radiofrequency and wax. The main disadvantage of laser hair removal is that it cannot permanently remove white hairs, because of the absence of melanin chromophore in the hair follicle. Moreover, wax or radiofrequency cannot offer a permanent white hair removal result. On the other hand, FUE hair removal with punch extraction, a tool that is widely used in FUE Hair Transplant, is the optimum method that can effectively address white hair removal problems.
FUE (Follicular Unit Excision) technique performed with Individual Hair Follicles Transfer, is a minimally invasive technique, used for extracting and implanting hair follicles, during a hair transplant session. This process is performed with the use of “punch”, a tool that is as small as a pen. Punch has been used in Hair, Beard, and Eyebrow FUE Transplant for many years now. Thus, the extensive knowledge we have acquired all these years using punch allows us to successfully use it during white hair removal on face and body.
Prior to the implementation of White Hair Removal with FUE technique in Advanced Hair Clinics, Dr. Anastasios Vekris, Medical Director of the clinic, conducted a study in which 32 patients (24 women and 8 men) participated in. The average age of the participants was 51 years old, with I-IV skin phototype. In 15 out of 32 cases, FUE technique was applied to the face, in 9 cases to the beard, in 5 cases to the neck, and in the rest 3 cases to the bikini. The aim of the study was to show the effectiveness of FUE method, and to determine whether the hair regrow 3 months after the treatment.
Each one of the participants had visible white hairs. Punch extraction was performed with tools of different diameter ranging from 0.75mm to 0.9mm. The one with the smallest diameter was used for the facial hair extraction, while the biggest one for the body hair extraction. Using the punch tool, the doctor manages to remove the hair follicle from the root. Follow-ups took place after 1 week and after 3 months, by using digital photography, in order to evaluate the results.
Out of a total of 32 people who participated in the study, 18 experienced a permanent result in just one session, and no regrowth of white hair was observed. No contraindications were observed, except for a little bleeding during the extraction (only in 5 participants, representing the 15.6% of the total number), and bruises (in 4 participants, representing the 12.5% of the total number). No infections or permanent side effects, such as scarring or discoloration, were observed.
It is of high importance to mention that the majority of the patients, approximately 88% of the participants (28 out of 32) were satisfied with the result. In almost half of the participants, more than one session was needed in order to permanently remove white hairs.
The aforementioned study revealed that white hair follicles extraction with FUE technique can successfully eliminate the problem of leukotrichia. Moreover, the advantages of this technique include the absence of serious or life-threatening side effects and scar formation. Yet, it is worth-mentioning that all of the patients that participated in the study conducted in Advanced Hair Clinics were Caucasians, and no other races were involved.
In any case, it is important to mention that whoever experiences leukotrichia should visit an experienced Plastic Surgeon, specialized in FUE method, in order for the treatment to be successful and with no side-effects.
During the 22nd Annual ISHRS Congress that took place in 2014 in Kuala Lumpur, Dr. Anastasios Vekris, Medical Director of Advanced Hair Clinics, presented the great contribution that FUE has proven to have in white hair removal with punch.