Head lice and dandruff are two things that are easy to mistake for one another. If you’re a parent and you see specks you don’t recognize on your child’s head, it’s important to know what it is you’re looking at. Depending on whether you or a family member are suffering from lice or dandruff, the treatment for it will be completely different.
Let’s start with defining what they are. Dandruff is a skin condition having to do with inflammation and dryness of your scalp. These two factors combine to cause loose flakes of skin that you’ll see as white or yellowish specks in your hair. Head lice, on the other hand, are small, parasitic insects that feed on the blood near your scalp. Given these facts, it’s possible to discern several differences between lice and dandruff that can give you a pretty good idea of which one you’re dealing with.
Key Differences Between Head Lice and Dandruff
- Head lice are contagious and dandruff is not.
Some of your dandruff flakes might incidentally land on someone else, but this won’t give that other person dandruff. Lice, on the other hand, can crawl from an infested person’s head to another person fairly easily if their heads come into contact. They can also survive for a short time on an infested person’s hat, helmet, scarf or other item worn on or near the head, and someone wearing an infested person’s headgear might catch their head lice.
- There is some difference in the location of dandruff and lice on your head.
Lice have the three growth stages of egg, or nit, then nymph and then an adult louse. Their nits are probably most readily confused with dandruff flakes. One difference between them is that nits are attached to the base of hair follicles and are difficult to remove even if you’re trying to get them off. Conversely, as anyone who’s had dandruff can attest, dandruff flakes will readily fall off your hair and are loosely in and on your hair before they do so. This is why white flakes on the top of a jacket or shirt you’re wearing are a common tell-tale sign of dandruff.
- The color and shape will be different.
Lice will typically be darker in color than dandruff, which tends to be white or yellowish. Also, while the nits might be more easily mistaken for dandruff in terms of shape, the nymphs and adult lice are actually bugs. If you use a magnifying glass to look on your child’s hair around their scalp, you’ll readily see that they are little bugs.
- Determining who’s more likely to suffer from each problem can provide a clue of which one it might be.
Dandruff is a fairly common condition for people of almost any age. Because head lice are primarily spread by direct head-to-head contact, the vast majority of diagnosed cases are children from 4 to 12 years of age. Kids are constantly coming into contact as they play with each other or scrunch together to get a group selfie, and this provides a perfect opportunity for lice to crawl to a new person.
Effective Head Lice Treatment in Mercer County
If you’re a parent looking for head lice removal in Mercer County, New Jersey and either you suspect your child has lice or a school nurse has told you they are infested with lice, your thoughts immediately turn to effective head lice removal options. At Lice Lifters of Mercer County, we help families like yours overcome the problem of head lice every day.
When you bring family members you believe may be infested into our head lice treatment center, we do a lice head check to verify if this is the problem. Once found, we employ a head lice removal process that utilizes 100 percent safe and natural techniques and products that are also guaranteed to be effective at ridding any sufferers in your family of this problem in a single visit. Please don’t let your family suffer from the itching and discomfort of lice, and give us a call today to get your lice head check.