Head lice are parasites that live on the human head. Their bites cause an itchy scalp. Dandruff, a skin condition, causes flaking of the skin and a slightly itchy scalp. Many people are confused about the difference between head lice and dandruff. If they see something white on the scalp they immediately assume it is head lice. Slow down! It may just be dandruff. It’s simple to tell the difference.
Lice vs Dandruff — 4 simple ways to tell them apart:
Removability– Dandruff brushes off the hair quickly and easily. Nits aren’t easily removed or picked off. Nits are firmly attached to the hair. That’s because the female louse glues the egg onto the hair shaft.
Appearance– Nits are tiny and oval shaped. Their color can be lighter or darker shades of brown or gray. Dandruff is larger and really white in color. Also, while dandruff particles come in various sizes, nits are generally uniform in size.
Location– Nits like warm spots on the scalp. They are commonly found close to the scalp at the nape of the neck and behind the ears. You’ll find dandruff flakes all over the head as they don’t have any particular preferences on the scalp.
Itchiness– Dandruff are mildly itchy. Head lice and nits are really itchy. Think, “scratching the head with two hands” itchy! A really easy way to determine if it is lice or dandruff is to use a nit comb. Wet the hair and start combing. If you see white flakes coming off easily then you just have dandruff. If you notice tiny oval shaped things in the hair that are not coming off easily then you probably have nits. If you have detected head lice, you will need to proceed with lice treatment. If you still have doubt, give us a call and let’s schedule an appointment for a quick screening just to be absolutely sure.