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 think 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, dandruff 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 lice 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.

Lice Charmers - Lice Treatment Portland OregonExcellentLice Charmers - Lice Treatment Portland Oregon5.0 Based on 239 reviews fromSee all reviewsMary Rae MollerMary Rae Moller ★★★★★ Melanie was very professional and was extremely efficient. We did home care first and went to get checked to ensure we got it all. She was very friendly and made the whole experience pleasant. We would highly recommend this service and Melanie!David PetersonDavid Peterson ★★★★★ Quick service and helpful staffNicole ThomasNicole Thomas ★★★★★ Well worth the price for a peace of my mind! They were efficient and very informative.Amber KentAmber Kent ★★★★★ We had such a great experience. We were a big job with 5 kids and one parent but Melanie was amazing and had exceptional customer service. She answered all our questions patiently and worked fast and efficiently. She was super knowledgeable and helped put my mind at ease.Jenny ChapinJenny Chapin ★★★★★ She was wonderful. Very detailed and thorough job. Would definitely reccommend!James S (godofidea)James S (godofidea) ★★★★★ Melanie was kind, friendly, and efficient! I was able to get a same day appointment locally for a fair rate, and even with my thick hair she was able to do a lice check in just 30min (thankfully no treatment needed, I just needed confirmation that I was lice free before a trip). If I ever need lice care again, I know I'll be reaching out!James S (godofidea)James S (godofidea) ★★★★★ Melanie was kind, friendly, and efficient! I was able to get a same day appointment locally for a fair rate, and even with my thick hair she was able to do a lice check in just 30min (thankfully no treatment needed, I just needed confirmation that I was lice free before a trip). If I ever need lice care again, I know I'll be reaching out!Alicia ReeseAlicia Reese ★★★★★ Thorough and very informative. I hope we never need it again, but we’ll be back if we’re faced with this again. She’s excellent in every way. Highly recommend if you find your family in this cruddy situation.Rose NewberryRose Newberry ★★★★★ Kind, responsive, knowledgeable. Highly recommend!Heather WeiglerHeather Weigler ★★★★★ Lex made making an appointment super easy, and Melanie was gentle and understanding about how freaked out I was. She provided a lot of education and did a great job of making my middle schooler feel comfortable and at ease. Great chairside manner with both kids and adults! I recommend this place.Priscila RosalesPriscila Rosales ★★★★★ Great service! She was super nice and understanding.Shondra CulpepperShondra Culpepper ★★★★★ LIFESAVER!!!! I had been through lice before with my older kids when they were younger as there was an outbreak at their daycare. Well back then, about 14 years ago there were no lice clinics to take your kids to. Doing the treatment myself was a nightmare and not 100% effective.Fast forward to today, when my nine-year-old had been exposed to lice from a friend. I called the clinic to make an appointment for us to all get checked. My daughter had lice and immediately got treated by Lex. Lex was knowledgeable, kind and efficient! It made what could have been a terrible experience actually pleasant. To be able to go home 100% lice free is amazing and worth every penny. I never write reviews but I highly recommend Lice Charmers!!Esmeralda MartinezEsmeralda Martinez ★★★★★ This was the first time that I experienced with lice with my youngest daughter a feeling with stress but i found this professional head lice removal and the company is called Lice Charmers! She was very sufficient and she was able to help me right away! She was able to get me the appointment the same day! I am very happy with her work! Thank you Lice Charming for your help!savage 7ecneeksavage 7ecneek ★★★★★ Good work, let us know what she was doing, and the cleaning we needed after the treatment was donesarah martinsarah martin ★★★★★ Melanie was very kind, good company, and thorough. Would recommend to anyonejs_loader

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