Lice Salon Insights: Dandruff or Head Lice?

Often our mobile lice salon service gets texts and photos from past and prospective clients asking us to identify nits or lice. Most of the time, it’s just dandruff or other debris found on the scalp. Confusing the two is understandable, but preventable with a little education.

When our hair becomes itchy and dirty, we often mistake it for dandruff or dry scalp that’s has been causing the itch. But. if we’ve recently had lice or heard that it’s going around it’s easy to thinkg this itch is lice infestation or re-infestation. While dandruff can appear similar to nits and cause an itchy scalp, you can distinguish between dandruff and head lice. Read further to find out about a few key differences between the two. 

 

Meaning: Head Lice vs. Dandruff

 

Head lice are parasites that live and multiply on the scalp and suck human blood. An infestation of lice on your head can cause intense itching. If left untreated, the lice in your scalp will give birth to eggs resulting in a growth of such infestation. 

 

Whereas, sandruff refers to a common inflammatory skin condition that affects our scalp. It is also known as seborrheic dermatitis that causes the top layer of the skin to shed too quickly. Due to this shedding, we get a dry, itchy, and flaky scalp. 

 

Both these conditions are usually treatable at home, and a differentiation between the two can help a person choose the right treatment option. While Head lice can spread from person to person who comes in close contact, dandruff isn’t going to spread. 

 

 

Symptoms: Head Lice vs. Dandruff

 

Lice are more common among young children and people who are in close contact with children such as parents, teachers, daycare workers, and babysitters. 

 

Some common signs and symptoms of head lice include:

 

● Extreme itching on the scalp

● Scratching your head constantly

● Red spots on the scalp from excessive scratching

● Swollen lymph nodes

● Black tiny spots on the scalp or in the hair

● Teardrop-shaped lice eggs on the hair

 

Dandruff, on the other hand, may also develop on different parts of the body. Due to this, a person may notice scaly skin on the chest, neck, face, or ears. These areas may become dry, itchy, red, and painful. 

 

Symptoms of Dandruff include:

 

● Itchy scalp

● Flaky skin either very oily or very dry

● White or yellow colored flakes on clothes

● Red-colored patches on the scalp

● These symptoms might worsen during winter or dry weather

 

Causes: Head Lice vs. Dandruff

 

Head Lice are contagious, and you can get head lice when these parasites crawl onto your head. Different ways in which you may get head lice to include:

 

● Head to head contact with a person who already has a lice infestation

● Sharing your personal belongings such as a comb with someone who has had head lice

● Using any fabric items such as clothing, pillows, towels of an infected person. 

 

Dandruff can also have many causes, but unlike lice, they are not contagious; that is they do not pass from one person to another on contact. 

 

You may get dandruff due to:

 

● Irritated, oily skin

● A yeast-like fungus (the Malassezia fungus)

● Dry Skin

● Not shampooing your head often enough

● Sensitivity to hair care products

● Stress and fatigue

● Extreme weather conditions

 

 

Treatment Options: Head Lice vs. Dandruff

There can be different options for treatment that can be adapted to treat both these conditions. While dandruff can be treated with the help of OTC shampoos, it becomes hard to kill lice if an infestation is severe and you might need to consult a professional head lice removal salon. 

 

Treatments of Head Lice involve:

 

● Combing the nits out of the hair

● Chemical shampoos

● Dehydration by way of an FDA approved machine known as AirAlle

● Over the counter products

 

 

Whereas, dandruff is treated with the help of:

 

● Pyrithione zinc shampoos (such as Head and Shoulders)

● Tar-based shampoos

● Shampoos having salicylic acid

● Selenium Sulfide shampoos

Lice Salon Insights: The Takeaway

Whether you have lice or dandruff, we would suggest you get it treated immediately. Lice if left untreated can multiply in number and make the situation worse. Dandruff can also make your scalp dirty and can come back if left untreated. 

If home treatments do not work, call a lice salon before the situation becomes too challenging to handle and even more expensive.

Very personable and attentive. She did a thorough search and comb through plus good conversation. I felt very relaxed in an already tense situation. I feel clean and happy going to sleep tonight :) thank you lice charmers!!!read more
shannon vasilev
shannon V.
02:48 14 Sep 19
We had a great experience with Alexis and are grateful to have such a quick response for an in-home lice check and removal. She was prompt, pleasant and good. What else could we ask for?
Matt Martin
Matt M.
20:31 10 Sep 19
This was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had with an in-home lice treatment. The technician was right on top, very proficient and super friendly. As much as one could enjoy the experience of removing nits, this was it! Thank you Lice Charmers!read more
Lucinda Salinas
Lucinda S.
05:08 10 Sep 19
Lex was super friendly and professional. This was a hard experience for my foster kids, but she made it better. She was easy to schedule with and very educated and understanding with my concerns. Having her in my home was easier than going to a salon, making it easier to care for my traumatized kiddos. She showed them compassion and respect. I am completely happy with our experience.read more
Julie Nielsen
Julie N.
18:34 09 Sep 19
Lex is very good at what she does. Very friendly at answering our questions. I would defiantly call her again! Such a stress relief to have her come to our home. Thanks Lex, you're the best!!!!
Janine Olson
Janine O.
19:21 07 Sep 19
Totally great expertise! Lex was knowledgeable and patient. She was especially great with my 4 year old who has trouble sitting still. Hoping I never have to deal with this again, but will use lice charmers if we do.read more
Sierra Chapman
Sierra C.
18:39 04 Sep 19
So friendly and convenient!! Lex knows her stuff and is so thorough. Anyone that has ever dealt with lice time and time again knows how time consuming it can be. She allowed me time away from dealing with the tedious treatment and combing to continue on with my endless parental responsibilities and for that I am endlessly grateful!read more
Sarah Okerlund
Sarah O.
03:14 29 Aug 19
Such a great experience in such an unpleasant situation. Having Lice Charmers come to our home was easy, informative, and most importantly, effective. For...
Aubray C.
Aubray C.
17:25 26 Aug 19
I always had this idea in my head that if my kids ever got lice that I would be able to take care of it myself. Trust me: you can, but you don’t want to. Your time and sanity and piece of mind is worth more than that. You love yourself more than that. Why do you work so hard and make decent money if you can’t spend it on those things that truly make your life better? Things like a quiet weekend on the coast, high octane fuel for your car, name brand sliced cheese.Picture this: your child starts scratching the back of their head, during dinner and ON A SCHOOL NIGHT. “Oh no”, you think to yourself. Please no. Not this, not now, the new season of Bob’s Burgers just started and you’ve got 3 episodes burning a hole in your DVR. You’ve already chilled the Chardonnay and you can practically feel the freedom associated with stepping out of the work “undergarments” and into your jammies and the quiet of comfort of the “post-kids-bedtime”.You reluctantly part the hair on the back of their head, the way the heroine in the slasher film may pull back the drapes to reveal the horrors behind. And, of course, it’s lice. And not just a few. Those parasites have been having a 3 week bender on your kids’ head and they’ve pulled permits to start building gated communities.You remember what happened last time they got lice? Yeeeeah. Hours bent over their greasy heads, in low light while they squirm and complain about the hair pulling. Load after load of laundry. The itching of your own scalp... “do I have it? Is it psychosomatic? Both?” Your heart sinks, the dreams of jammies and a solid Chardonnay buzz fading quickly.But hey! Don’t worry! You can still get your drink on AND get those kids in bed on time! We called Lex with Lice Charmers and she was in our house within one hour reassuring us, picking nits and bugs and we were lice free in time for bed. That Chardonnay tasted amazing.They are very professional, they are fast, courteous, clean and kind.You owe it to yourself and your children to get this taken care of TODAY. It’s worth every penny. I will call them every time from now on. #licecharmersforliferead more
Josh Norris
Josh N.
22:54 05 Aug 19
After discovering a single tiny bug on one of my kids while on vacation, I immediately went into crazed action. Said child was treated and all of us were meticulously checked. Ongoing checks for more bugs continued daily. 8 days of and nits were found on all 3 kids. Probably me too since I have little faith in my husbands lice/nit finding skills. All of us were treated. Days of checking and sure enough more nits on one child. I was at my whits end. I called a company that our pediatrician recommended that has a local office. They were polite on phone but said they assign one tech to our family to screen and treat each member 1.5 hrs for average treatment. There are 4 of us!!! That just wasn’t reasonable with young kids that have set schedules I.e. meals, baths bedtime. I booked since I didn’t feel I had many options. After trying to figure out how to make that long appointment work for us, I decided to do some research. I found Lice Charmers just searching online. They didn’t have many reviews but the ones they had were all good. They are mobile, they come to your home to screen and treat in an unmarked vehicle. Lex was so friendly and efficient. She had us all throughly screen and 1 treatment in under 2 hours. We were able to maintain our normal routine and have the green light to live normally with no fear of a return. I wish I used her first before using OTC toxic chemicals on my kids heads. This company will be my go to if we ever have to deal with these annoying bugs again.read more
Patricia Murphy
Patricia M.
18:12 05 Aug 19
Connor and Lex were great. I called in a panic and Lex came out the same day. She was very patient and thorough. We even had a couple other people show up to be checked for lice. Very professional, highly recommend.read more
M S
M S
04:32 03 Aug 19
Amazing company! You receive play by play messages on the arrival time after you have a general apt time based on when you called and who was ahead of you. Lex is wonderful with kids and you can tell enjoys her job. The ease of being in your home so while they are being cleaned you can start cleaning your house makes it nice as well. Everyone is checked thoroughly as well in the houseread more
megan whitford
megan W.
05:12 01 Aug 19
As the Program Cordinator for a Japanese high school tour group, I was so amazed and so grateful for the quick and efficient service of this company when one of our host mothers saw a bug on her student!The service technician, Lex, was on her way to our location in less than two hours from our call! I had never heard of such a service and was stunned by their professionalism and thoroughness in taking care of our student at our location. Thankfully she had no head lice after all, but the quick response and care given during the exam was totally worth the cost to quell our concerns. We are so thankful for the word of mouth referral!read more
Kathy Griffith
Kathy G.
19:23 31 Jul 19
Lex was very thorough and patient with my young children. Especially with my daughter who has very thick long hair and hated to have it combed. We are so relieved to be lice free after one session. 10/10 would recommend to anyone with headlice but definitely to those with young children! Thank you!read more
Stephanie Kelso
Stephanie K.
02:56 26 Jul 19
Lex was very thorough and patient with my young children. Especially with my daughter who has very thick long hair and hated to have it combed. We are so relieved to be lice free after one session. 10/10 would recommend to anyone with headlice but definitely to those with young children! Thank you!read more
Stephanie Kelso
Stephanie K.
02:54 26 Jul 19

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