Section : History & Terminology

Leukotrichia: what the word means

  • This term comes from 2 Greek words :
    • λευκóς= leukos = white
    • θρίξ = trix = hair
  • The term is less and less used nowadays. It is not found in recent  dermatological textbooks.
  • Leukotrichia means having white hair.
    • Nevertheless, it does NOT give any precision whether this white hair is pathological or normal (a sign of aging).
    • Also, it doesn’t specify if white hairs appeared as a sign of premature aging or if the white hair  appeared fast
    • In a medical dictionary, leukotrichia refers to the presence of white hair at birth (congenital). If this were the case, it would be a case of albinism.
  • Vitiligo can be a cause of localized leukotrichia – it is indeed rare it extends to all the hair.
  • Leukotrichia can also be observed in alopecia areata:
    • Either the hair is growing back and appears then as white
    • Or an individual with hair greying quickly loses pigmented hairs and the white hair remains sometimes appearing in the form of a white forelock


Dr Christophe Hsu – dermatologist. Geneva, Switzerland

Source of information: Harms M. Dermatologica Helvetica (The Swiss Journal of Dermatology and Venereology)