Telling the Difference Between Lice and Dandruff

Lice and dandruff are both uncomfortable conditions that cause your scalp to itch, and they are easily confused with each other. While louse are a temp infestation, however, dandruff is a chronic skin condition .

Head plant louse, besides known as pediculus humanus capitis, are epenthetic insects that live and lay eggs on the scalp. They drink human lineage, and their bites cause severe itch .

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ( CDC ), there are six to 12 million cases of headway worm each year in the United States. Young children are most at hazard because they frequently have hair-to-hair contact with others at daycare or school .

Dandruff, besides known as seborrheic dermatitis, causes humble pieces of dry bark to flake off of the scalp. When seborrheic dermatitis occurs on an baby ’ s scalp, it is known as birthplace detonator .

While lice are highly catching, dandruff is not. fortunately, both conditions can be treated safely and efficaciously at home .

Closeup of a woman scratching her head
Sirinate Kaewma / EyeEm / Getty Images

Signs and Symptoms

While both bird louse and dandruff can cause your scalp to itch, their symptoms are different .

plant louse

The classic symptom of plant louse is intense itching. The bites of an adult bird louse cause an allergic chemical reaction, which leads to itching. You may even feel a crawl sensation. Young children may describe this sensation as tickling in their hair’s-breadth .

little ones may besides have trouble sleeping when they have lice since head plant louse are most active voice at night. The scalp may besides appear red and bleed due to patronize rub .

Lice and dandruff can look the like at foremost glance, but they occur in different locations. Lice lay their eggs ( called nits ) on the haircloth shaft itself. Nits adhere to your haircloth and will not flake off like dandruff does. Nits are normally white or chicken and in the shape of a teardrop .

Adult louse are tan, brown, or black, and may be visible under a overstate glass. A amply grown louse is about the size of a sesame seed. They are normally found in the scalp and hair around the ears and neckline .

dandruff

Like bird louse, dandruff can be antsy, but it is normally not a intense as the itch caused by louse. The dry the scalp, the more dandruff will normally itch. When you have dandruff, your scalp generally feels either identical greasy or very dry. You may notice that symptom worsen during the cold months due to the dry air travel .

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Dandruff affects the scalp and not the hair itself. Looking closely, you will see white or jaundiced flakes coming from the scalp ; these flakes then fall off easily .

Seborrheic dermatitis can besides affect other areas of the torso, but is most normally found on the scalp. While worm look black or brown, dandruff will appear whiten or yellow .

Causes

Lice are caused by an infestation of epenthetic insects, while dandruff is caused by a yeast that grows on everyone ’ sulfur skin called malassezia and excitement .

worm

Lice are highly contagious. If you come into close contact with person with louse, such as from caressing, the louse can well crawl from their head to yours. Lice can not jump or fly. Sharing hats or hair brushes is another way to become infect with worm, but neck and neck contact is the most common .

Lice are more normally seen in young children and those who work with them. Higher-risk occupations include teachers, daycare workers, and babysitters .

dandruff

Seborrheic dermatitis is a chronic condition that causes the skin cells on the scalp to shed excessively quickly, leading to dry, itchy flakes coming off in the hair and on dress .

Dandruff is a chronic skin condition that causes dry, bizarre bark. You can not catch dandruff from another person. Lice, on the other hand, are highly catching parasites. Young children are particularly at risk of spreading bird louse to one another.

discussion

Most cases of bird louse and dandruff can be successfully treated at home .

louse

Lice can normally be treated at home with an over-the-counter medicate shampoo according to the package directions. It is important to cautiously comb the nits out of the hair deoxyadenosine monophosphate well. Nits are normally found within one-fourth column inch of the scalp. Nits found further down the hair diaphysis are normally not feasible and will not grow into bird louse.

If you ’ ra treating your child ’ second worm, call your baby doctor first to discuss the correctly amount of shampoo and how frequently to use it. This is much based on their age and weight .

Some common home plate remedies for plant louse treatment involve coating the scalp with heavy, greasy food like mayonnaise, olive petroleum, butter, or margarine as a way to suffocate the bird louse. These treatments have not been proven effective and are not recommended. Some other important things to do include :

  • Avoid using conditioner in the hair until it is completely free of lice and nits. Conditioner can act as a barrier that blocks the medicated shampoo from adhering to and treating the hair shaft. 
  • Since lice need a human host to survive, wash any items that could transfer them to a new host. This includes clothing, bedding, stuffed animals, hats, and any other items that came in contact with the person’s head. The CDC recommends washing all items in hot water over 130 degrees F to kill both the lice and nits. Items should then be dried in the dryer at the hottest setting. Vacuum any areas where the person with lice laid down, such as carpets and furniture. Any items that cannot be washed or vacuumed should be sealed in a plastic bag for two weeks. 
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If over-the-counter treatments have not been effective, see your healthcare provider. It ’ s possible that the worm are repellent to the nonprescription discussion and you need a prescription medication. Your local health department may besides be able to help .

It is not always potential to prevent bird louse, but you can reduce your chances of getting them by taking precautions. Discourage your children from having hair-to-hair liaison while playing with their friends and avoid sharing hair brushes or hats .

dandruff

dandruff can besides be treated at home with over-the-counter shampoo. Start by shampooing twice per week with an anti-dandruff shampoo. Keeping the dandruff shampoo in contact with your hair for five to 10 minutes is most effective. Washing your hair more frequently in general besides helps dandruff .

Use caution with dandruff shampoo that contain tar because they can cause your scalp to become more sensitive to the sun. The tar can besides discolor blond or white hair after treatment .

If using an anti-dandruff shampoo does not provide any relief, see your dermatologist. Sometimes dandruff is caused by a yeast contagion that requires an fungicidal to treat .

Some autoimmune conditions such as psoriasis or eczema can appear as dandruff, but require more specialize treatment. Your dermatologist will be able to help you determine the lawsuit of your flakes, american samoa well as the best room to treat them .

frequently Asked Questions

What do bird louse spirit like vs. dandruff ?

Lice are parasitic insects with six legs and are normally tan, brown, or black. Their testis spirit like teardrop-shaped eggs that are white or yellow in color. They are found attached to the hair shaft close to the scalp .

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Dandruff looks like white or yellow flakes of dry skin. It is normally bigger than plant louse and their eggs, and may appear greasy .

How do you check for louse vs. dandruff ?

To check for bird louse and dandruff, start by parting the hair’s-breadth and examining the scalp. When you have dandruff, your scalp will appear either identical greasy or identical dry. The flakes will be coming from the scalp and are easily brushed away .

Lice lay their eggs on the hair diaphysis about one-fourth column inch from the scalp. The eggs are securely secured to the hair and can not be brushed away. Adult plant louse live on the scalp and normally appear tan, brown, or black. sometimes a overstate glass is helpful for identifying adult louse on the scalp .

How boastfully is dandruff vs. worm ?

Dandruff and worm are both highly small, and it can be tough to tell them apart. An adult worm is about the size of a sesame seed, and their eggs are even smaller. Dandruff flakes are bigger than plant louse and frequently appear and feel greasy .

How do you know if it ’ randomness bird louse or dandruff ?

One of the best ways to distinguish between bird louse and dandruff is the placement. Dandruff describes dry bark flaking off from the scalp. The eggs of bird louse, on the early hand, stand by to the hair shaft itself. Using a blow up glass, you may be able to see adult worm moving on the scalp. This is challenging because they are normally lone active in the dark .

Another symptom to pay attention to is the itch. Lice bites cause intense itch, while dandruff itching feels more like uncomfortable dry skin .

A Word From Verywell

If you ’ ve found yourself scratching your head recently, take a closer look. Dandruff will appear as white or scandalmongering flakes of dry skin. Lice eggs, besides known as nits, look like bantam yellow or white eggs in the determine of a teardrop. Adult bird louse are black in color and about the size of a sesame seed .

While both conditions can make your skin crawl, they are normally efficaciously treated at home. Invest in a medicate shampoo, and talk with your healthcare provider before treating unseasoned children .

If at-home treatments have not been successful, call your healthcare provider. They will be able to diagnose your condition and recommend the safest and most effective treatment .

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