How to Know If You Have Lice or Dandruff

How to Know If You Have Lice or Dandruff

Your child is complaining of having an itchy scalp, you take a look and you see white stuff, but you’re not sure if it’s dandruff or lice because oftentimes dandruff looks like nits to the untrained eye. While lice is the answer no parent wants to hear, it is a possibility. We know how disruptive lice can be to your lives, so we’ve got some answers to help you figure out your next step. If you’re too spooked to check yourself, you can make an appointment with Fresh Heads Lice Removal and we’d be happy to check for you. 

How Do I Know If I Have Lice or Dandruff?

Dandruff vs. lice can be very confusing, as they can have similar symptoms and a similar look. It is very common to confuse the two, as dandruff does look like nits at a glance. Both can give you an itchy scalp, but the itchiness that comes with lice tends to be much more severe. Lice are a very small, black insect that feeds on your blood from your scalp, and their bites can cause severe irritation. You’ll constantly itch your scalp; the itching may affect your ability to fall asleep and stay asleep. Also, in severe lice infestations, you will likely be able to see and feel the lice on your scalp.

Identifying Dandruff VS. Lice

There is quite a difference between dandruff and lice. Dandruff is typically white, close to the scalp, thin, and flaky. Dandruff is dead skin from your scalp, which explains the white and flaky appearance and causes itchiness. Lice is a black insect that crawls around on the scalp, bites your scalp, and lays eggs. Their eggs are called nits and you can typically find their nits throughout their hair on single strands. Their nits are white/yellow in color, oval shaped, and hard. While dandruff looks like nits, nits are hard to remove off the strands of hair, while dandruff usually just comes right off. 

Causes of Dandruff VS. Lice

While dandruff and lice are often confused for one another, their causes are completely different. Lice is only spread through head-to-head contact. So, that means your child was in close contact with someone who has lice. Dandruff is typically caused by dry skin, irritated skin, hair care products, or skin conditions such as psoriasis.

Lice Treatment in Jacksonville, FL

If you’re looking for lice treatment in Jacksonville, FL, Fresh Heads Lice Removal is the #1 choice for local families. We use our patented AirAlle device that distributes warm air onto the scalp without using harsh chemicals or toxins. We provide the quickest single treatment with a 45-day guarantee, and no follow-up appointment needed! We also have two other locations in Orlando, FL, and Savannah, GA. Call today to get your life back!  

Schools Without Lice.

Schools Without Lice

At Fresh Heads Lice Removal, our mission is to get rid of lice in schools across the United States. We’ve partnered with the Lice Clinics of America to create the Schools Without Lice program. Through this program, we provide school nurses and teachers with free screenings, resources, and treatments. Together, we can have schools without lice!

Head Lice Symptoms

Common Head Lice Symptoms

Are you worried about a head lice infestation? It is a real risk for adults and children alike, so here are common head lice symptoms. These signs can help you determine whether-or-not professional head lice removal is needed.

Lice on your scalp, neck or ears

If others can see lice on your head, or if there are lice on your hand after scratching, then the conclusion is self-evident: You most likely have an infestation and could use treatment immediately.

Nits on Hair Shafts

Nits are lice eggs which typically are laid on your hair shafts. Incubating nits are tiny, so they are usually difficult to see. Nits are easier to see when they’ve hatched because they become lighter in color. Nits are easiest to see around the ears and the neck’s hairline. Seeing some nits does not mean that there is an ongoing infestation, as they could be from a prior episode.

Itchiness and Sores

Scratching your head frequently, despite not having a history of eczema or dandruff? If it’s not those common scalp conditions, then it may be lice. Their bites cause an allergic reaction sometimes resulting in open sores. Sores can also be caused by prolonged scratching at the scalp.

Tickling, Crawling Feeling

Do you feel things crawling around on your head or your hairline? This is also a common lice symptom.

Difficulty Sleeping

Feeling lice crawling on your scalp with painful sores can make it hard to fall asleep. If the infestation has gotten to this point, you need to get your scalp checked as soon as possible. If it’s not lice, it might be something else that could still need medical treatment.

False Signs of Lice Infestations

Studies have shown that many children who do not have active infestations still get treated for lice resulting in unnecessary exposure to chemicals and unneeded expenses with over the counter products. This is due to false alarms and uncertainties, which is why it’s important to consult a head lice professional.

Here are several false signs of lice infestations:

  • Dead or empty nits from a previous infestation
  • Dandruff
  • Dead hair and skin tissue on hair shafts
  • Dirt, debris, dust and scab tissue
  • Other small insects that just happen to be in the hair
  • Residue from hair products

When Professional Head Lice Removal is Needed

If you or a loved one is experiencing several of these common head lice symptoms, err on the side of caution and consult with a professional to find out the cause. Our professional head lice removal process uses the only FDA-cleared medical device† empowering parents and caregivers with the safest, most effective method to clear your family of head lice. We dehydrate the lice and eggs in a single treatment without the use of harmful toxins and pesticides. Book a revolutionary lice treatment at one of our locations today.

man flicks dandruff off shirt

What is Dandruff and What Can You Do About It?

We get a lot of questions from people who wonder how to tell the difference between head lice and dandruff. Fortunately, it’s fairly easy tell them apart once you know the difference in their appearance.

If you are worried that you have head lice, contact us right away for a head check. But what if you have dandruff? Here is a great article from our friends at that explains what dandruff is, its causes, and what you can do to treat it.

What Causes Dandruff?

Whether you class dandruff as annoying, embarrassing, or both, one thing’s for sure: it sucks. It’s not a life threatening condition, but it’s also not a condition most of us are very happy about having!

Itchy scalp, constantly checking your shoulders for stray flakes…it’s not your idea of sexy and sophisticated, is it?

So what causes dandruff and what can be done about it? Read on to find out the answers to these questions and more… Click here to read this article on

Inquiring Minds Want to Know: Is It Head Lice or Is It Something Else?

If you have never had an up-close-and-personal relationship with head lice, first of all, you are fortunate.  Second, are you really certain that it is, in fact, head lice?  For those of you who are new to the head lice experience, here are some things to remember…

  • Dandruff is the shedding of dead skin cells from the scalp.  Other scalp residues may be due to conditions such as eczema or seborrhea.  A louse is a sesame-seed-sized wingless insect; a bug with six legs.  Varying in color from beige to gray, a louse moves on its own.  Unlike dandruff or any other residue from a scalp condition, a louse crawls.
  • A nit is a louse egg.  It will be located on the hair shaft.  A nit is attached to the hair shaft with a waterproof, glue-like substance.  Unlike dandruff, “hair cast”, or any other residue from a scalp condition, an untreated nit will not slide along the hair shaft when tugged between fingertips.  Nor will it simply just fall out of the hair and off of the head.
  • Many conditions can cause the scalp to itch.  When a louse bites the skin, the saliva causes an allergic reaction that causes itching.  Unlike dandruff or any other residue from a scalp condition, it also causes the scalp to “tingle”.
  • Dandruff flakes or other scalp residues will be removed easily when brushing or combing the hair.  Nits, on the other hand, are not removed easily until after the hair is treated.  A special fine-toothed comb is required.
  • Nits are fairly symmetrical; dandruff and other scalp residues, not so much.
  • Dandruff flakes, sand, and other scalp residues can be anywhere on the head.  Initially, nits are located close to the warm scalp, moving only as the hair shaft grows.

If all of this information has you scratching your head and wondering what’s what, a call to the experts at Fresh Heads Lice Removal can go a long way toward easing your mind by giving you a correct and thorough assessment of your situation.  We will send you home happy… no matter what!


Fresh Heads Lice Removal serves Jacksonville FL, Orlando FL, Savannah Ga, and surrounding areas.  If you are interested in the AirAllé™ treatment and would like to find a Lice Clinics of America location near you, click below!


What is the Difference Between Head Lice and Dandruff?

If you get a notice from your child’s school about head lice or one of your children’s friends has a case of head lice, many people don’t always know exactly what to look for when checking their child’s head for lice. For example, how do lice eggs differ from dandruff? What is the difference between lice, lice eggs (or nits), and dandruff? Fresh Heads Lice Removal of Jacksonville knows that if you are looking at your child’s head, you might see some white flecks in your child’s hair. They are often very small, so how do you know what you are looking at? How can you tell the difference between whether they are lice eggs (nits), dandruff, live lice insects, or just hair debris?

First, let’s start with head lice. A single louse insect is small and tan to grayish-white to brown, depending on its age. An adult louse is about the size of a sesame seed and has six legs that allow it to move very quickly in a head of hair. Next, the main difference between lice eggs (or nits) and dandruff is that lice eggs are firmly glued to the hair shaft; they are tightly stuck to the hair, and will not slide down the hair shaft under your fingertips. Additionally, nits are typically dark brown in color, especially when they are new and viable, not white as many people believe. Dandruff will either flake off or slide on the hair underneath your fingertips.

Dandruff is a common form of skin eczema, also called Seborrheic dermatitis. It is thought to be caused by an overproduction of oil by the skin, and it is called dandruff when it affects the scalp. Dandruff looks like thick, flaky, skin and it’s usually white to yellowish in color. It can be localized patches or it can be in various parts of the scalp. It also can cause red, irritated skin.

Lice eggs (nits) are dark brown and firmly attached to the hair shaft, and very small. When pried off a hair shaft, a nit will always look like a small oval with a tail coming off the end. They always take the same shape, which helps us to properly identify them. Older eggs or nits that have already hatched will remain glued to the hair shaft even though they are no longer viable. These old nit casings are empty, and may appear to be further down the hair shaft, and can turn a clear color, and sometimes white. They are still difficult to remove, and would not slide underneath your fingertips.

Fresh Heads Lice Removal wants to remind you that nits (lice eggs) can really be very difficult to see. If you are finding small specks that are hard and dark brown in color, and if they will not slide underneath your fingertips, you may have head lice. If this is, in fact, the case, then you will want to seek treatment right away.

On the other hand, dandruff is usually not that hard to see. If you brush on the hair and the flakes easily fall off, then you might try some over-the-counter dandruff shampoos.

Fresh Heads Lice Removal Center advises that one of the best ways to tell if your child has lice eggs or dandruff is to use the fingertip test: If you can slide it under your fingertips, it is not lice. If you must use your fingernails to pry something off of the hair shaft, it is likely lice, and it is time to contact Fresh Heads Lice Removal.


Fresh Heads recommends using a Terminator Comb to properly distinguish head lice from dandruff