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.

Lexi was kind and efficient and skillful - she really saved the day- we are so grateful
J Glasser
J G.
18:46 02 Nov 19
I called at 8am and Lex was there by 10, everyone got checked and lice removed by noon. It was so convenience to have everyone at home so I could do laundry, send emails, and keep siblings entertained while Lex worked. She was also very informative and helped us understand how to handle and prevent lice infestations. Would totally use them again!read more
Kimberly Mason
Kimberly M.
20:10 16 Oct 19
We had the best possible experience thanks to Alexis. She checked everyone in our family and then treated our daughter. I learned a ton from Alexis and what to check for moving forward. I highly recommend calling her as soon as you find the little buggers.read more
Cara Taormina
Cara T.
21:11 04 Oct 19
After learning I had head lice, I went online and found Lice Charmers. Called immediately and got an appointment within 2 hours. Lex showed up on time and proceeded to clean my head! She was very informative and thorough. She is awesome! Highly recommend her!read more
carole taormina
carole T.
20:31 04 Oct 19
I went to get a haircut and was told I had head lice! After freaking out I looked online and found Lice Charmers and called right away. Got an in in home...
Gayle T.
Gayle T.
13:29 04 Oct 19
Lex is the absolute best!!!!!! She called me back at 11 pm. We got an appointment right away. She is extremely thorough!!! She was so sweet to my kids and...
Susan V.
Susan V.
13:22 28 Sep 19
Holy hannah, Lex is a LIFESAVER! Here are the top 5 reasons why I love her and this company!1. She is prompt with her communication. She emailed me back at 11pm the night I messaged her to set up an appointment, and she was able to get us in for a next day appointment!2. She saved us hours and hours of lost time at a lice clinic! I was able to cook, clean and carry on life while she worked on our family.3. She is *extremely* knowledgable about lice and gave us amazing research-based advice about how to clean the house and prevent future outbreaks.4. She stays true to her word of 30-day guarantee! Unfortunately, we suffered a second lice outbreak within the 30 days, and she came back to help us out free-of-charge. (We have since narrowed down the issue to our gym's daycare so we are officially pulling our kids from this program! Ugh!)5. We successfully used our HSA account to cover the cost!read more
Shannon Robertson
Shannon R.
06:40 25 Sep 19
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

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