Finding white pubic hair can be alarming, but it is not likely to be a cause for concern. In most cases, the natural aging process leads to white pubic hair.

Nevertheless, white pubic hair can sometimes have other underlying causes that require medical attention. This article looks at the possible causes of white pubic hair.

hand touching grey rugShare on Pinterest
mikroman6/Getty Images

While the natural aging process causes most cases of white pubic hair, there are some other reasons that may require medical attention.

Pubic lice

Pubic lice are parasitic insects that primarily affect hair in the pubic region. They may also affect other coarse hair on the body, such as the eyelashes.

The lice usually pass between people during sex, and healthcare professionals classify pubic lice as a sexually transmitted infection (STI).

Pubic lice may cause the pubic hair to appear white even though they do not turn the hair shaft white. The eggs of these parasites are yellow-white.

Adult pubic lice, also known as crabs due to their appearance, are grayish-white. If the infestation is large enough, the pubic region may appear white.

Other symptoms that may indicate a pubic lice infection include:

  • visible lice crawling through the hair
  • itching or burning from bites
  • sores from the bites

Most doctors recommend treating the affected area with a medication containing permethrin. Most infections only require one treatment.

When treating pubic lice, thoroughly washing bedding, underwear, and swimwear is also a good idea.

While the outlook is good for most cases of pubic lice, a person with pubic lice should check themselves for STIs and avoid engaging in sexual activity until treatment is successful.

White piedra

White piedra is a fungal infection of the hair shaft. This infection results from a type of yeast known as trichomycosis, which coats the hair in a white substance.

This type of infection can affect any hair on the body, including eyebrows, eyelashes, mustaches, beards, and pubic hair. While it may appear everywhere hair grows, it rarely occurs in the hair on the head.

White piedra begins just beneath the hair shaft and grows into nodules that cling onto the hair, giving it a white appearance. The nodules may feel gritty and cause the hair to weaken and break.

White piedra is rare and most often affects young females in temperate and tropical climates. However, it can affect anyone regardless of their age or sex.

Shaving the affected area completely is the most effective remedy and may be an option for people with white piedra in their pubic region.

However, some people with white piedra may find shaving an unsuitable solution, and they can choose to use a topical antifungal cream to treat the infection instead. Someone who has severe or persistent white piedra may need oral antifungal medications in addition to other treatments.

Aging

Just like the hair on the head, the hair on the rest of the body — including the pubic area — is subject to graying.

As people age, their skin produces less melanin, the pigment responsible for giving skin and hair their color.

The hair follicles contain melanin. As people age, these follicles die off, and the hair has less melanin.

As the follicles die and melanin decreases, the color of the hair fades to silver, gray, or white. This process happens with hair all over the body, including pubic hair.

In some cases, hair may prematurely age and gray. Again, premature graying can affect hair anywhere, including in the pubic region. Premature gray hair can result from:

Vitiligo

Vitiligo is a condition that causes the patchy loss of skin color. It can affect the skin or hair anywhere, including pubic hair.

Vitiligo occurs when the parts of the skin that produce melanin die or stop producing melanin. It usually begins in areas with the most sun exposure, so it is uncommon to occur first in the pubic hair. It can start at any age but often appears before age 20 and affects both sexes.

Doctors are unsure about the causes of vitiligo. However, most believe there is a genetic component, as people whose relatives have the condition are more likely to develop it.

Some researchers think vitiligo might result from an autoimmune condition that attacks the skin or an event, such as severe sunburn or exposure to certain chemicals.

A doctor will likely perform a skin biopsy, blood tests, and a physical exam to diagnose vitiligo. While no known cure exists, certain treatments can slow its progression.

While it is not necessary to consult a doctor for aging-related causes of white pubic hair, people with pubic hair that turns white suddenly may want to seek medical advice to rule out other causes.

Anyone with symptoms of pubic lice should contact a doctor as soon as possible. People with suspected white piedra or vitiligo cases should also get medical attention as soon as possible.

Treatment for white pubic hair depends on its cause. There is no treatment for white pubic hair caused by aging, and it is not possible to prevent it.

However, quitting smoking and avoiding stress may help slow the aging process. People with another cause of white pubic hair should follow the treatment plan outlined by their doctor.

Conditions that cause white pubic hair are not life threatening, and there should be no long-term physical side effects.

Here are some common questions about pubic hair turning white.

Why is my pubic hair turning white?

Pubic hair can turn white for various reasons, including aging, conditions such as white piedra, or pubic lice.

Why is my pubic area white?

A white pubic area without hair may result from lichen sclerosus, a condition that causes itchy, white patches on the genital area or other parts of the body.

What causes a white coating on pubic hair?

A white coating on pubic hair may result from white piedra, a fungal infection on the hair shaft.

White pubic hair may result from simple aging, in which the skin produces less melanin as the body ages. However, some conditions, such as fungal infections, lice infestation, or vitiligo, may also result in white pubic hair.

A person should contact a doctor as soon as possible if pubic hair suddenly turns white, they see lice, or think they may have vitiligo or white piedra.