Skip to content

Pointing out the difference between lice and dandruff in your child’s hair


    Dandruff and head lice are two of the most common afflictions that produce awkward specks in your child’s hair. You may also have seen them if you check the condition of your child’s head on a regular basis. You may be aware of the difference between the two as well but, if not so, here we are to tell you the same. Moms must be able to tell the difference as the treatment for each is totally different. Let’s have a look at this difference so that you may treat both of them accordingly. 

    The difference between dandruff and lice 

    A chronic skin condition that gives rise dry, flaky bits of skin is what you call dandruff, whereas lice are small parasitic wingless insects of the size of a sesame seed. They feed on human blood under the scalp. They have three basic forms with respect to their growth stages: lice eggs or nits, immature lice or nymphs and adult lice. Nits or lice eggs are the most similar to dandruff. Both are of the same size and color. They are often confused for each other also because both cause a severe itch to the scalp. Hence, dandruff vs lice is a very interesting topic for most of the household ladies. Here are a few significant ways to tell dandruff and lice apart. 


    • The difference in location


    The nits of head lice are always attached with the hair shafts of your child with a glue like substance secreted by the female lice. The dandruff, on the other hand, is just the flaky skin found exactly on the scalp. Moreover, dandruff flakes easily fall off the scalp, get attached to the hair very loosely and are very easy to brush out while it is really challenging to remove nits from the hair shafts near the base of the scalp with a simple hair brush or comb. 


    • Lice infestation is contagious, but dandruff is not      


    The skin condition due to dandruff is not contagious. The skin flakes may fly off a person’s head and land on someone other’s.  They never cause any infection or the dry scalp condition to the other person’s head. On the contrary, head lice infestation is contagious and spreads speedily as soon as a louse transfers from an infested head to a healthy one. 


    • The feelings on the scalp


    Though both cause a severe itching to the scalp, there is still a vivid difference between the two sensations. The lice confirm their presence with a sensation as if something is crawling through the hair or on the scalp whereas dandruff never gives such feelings. Dandruff causes itching usually on the dry scalp while lice never care for the scalp condition. 


    • The difference in color


    Dandruff is white or off-white in color while nits are a bit yellowish and lice are tan or dark brown. A magnifying glass may help you a lot distinguish between the bugs like appearance or a simple flake. Being a little darker in shade, nits are easily recognizable from the dandruff.