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.

I called as soon as I heard about this company! They were very helpful in answering any questions I had. They conveniently traveled to our home. Not only was Lex quick and efficient she was educational and gave us piece of mind. By the time she... left... We were lice free:) I’d highly recommend Lice Charmers!!!read more
csellano
csellano
We discovered lice on a family member, and immediately knew we needed a Leo to completely rid of them ASAP! We called Lice Charmers, and Lex was in our home within the hour! She completely got rid of all lice in two members of the family. She... searched a few others, which were in the clear. She was very easy to talk with and very professional! Highly recommend if you live in the Portland metro area.read more
Jenna Folds
Jenna Folds
Lex saved us again! She is the BEST! Very prompt, gentle and kind! Our kids love her and I feel safe knowing I can count on her in such a stressful situation. She was able to see the same day I called for treatment and she drove to Gresham to help... out family. Thank you so much!read more
Lisa Volk
Lisa Volk
No one wants to hear their child say, “I think I have lice!” But when it happens I highly recommend calling Lice Charmers! After a simple google search Saturday (@ 5:00pm) for lice treatment near us I found Lice Charmers & spoke with Lex on the... phone. She was able to come to our home in Lake Oswego the next morning & check/treat the entire family. Quick, efficient, thorough. My family is so thankful to have found Lice Charmers.read more
Alison Heath
Alison Heath
We had a great experience with Lice Charmers and would highly recommend them for anyone dealing with a possible infestation. Very professional, experienced, fast, and efficient. They definitely know what they're doing and are great with all kinds of... kids!read more
Leah Smith
Leah Smith
Lice Charmers got me in quickly and only charged for the time they spent with me. The service was super friendly and informative also.
Loren Chasse
Loren Chasse
When the after care program at my son's school sent an email home about lice being present on another student, I was nervous that my kids had it. I'd heard so many tales of woe around lice from my friends and didn't want to risk multiple rounds of... infestation. I wanted a professional opinion. I called Lice Charmers and spoke to Lex. She was able to see us all the same day at their SE private clinic. Prior to our appointment, she gave me advice on how to treat our home and the protocol for informing close friends and school, if necessary. When we arrived for our appointment, Lex was friendly, informative and professional. She was able to examine all three of us without causing any discomfort and in a short amount of time. It turns out that is was a false alarm but I am so glad that we went to an expert to alleviate my worries and be on the safe side. If we ever do experience a lice outbreak, I will 100% give Lex and Lice Charmers a call. I've already told my friends and coworkers about our awesome experience.read more
Cheryl Gaze
Cheryl Gaze

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