Lice and dandruff can look very similar in this woman's hair.

Lice vs Dandruff: Differences in Symptoms and Treatment

When someone experiences an intense head itch, we often associate it with these two situations: they have lice or dandruff. Both are irritating conditions that can be treated, but they are not the same. The only similarity between lice and dandruff is that they are conditions that happen on a human scalp that gives an itchy and uncomfortable feeling. Other than that, their causes and treatments are different in many ways. Let us talk about the two conditions in detail.

Lice vs Dandruff: How the Two Differ

Lice are parasites. They are alive, six-legged parasites that come in three forms. First, they are seen as eggs. These are the tiny white specks with a tail that hold onto human hair. When they hatch, they turn into nymphs. These are tan-colored insects in a tiny size that runs around one’s scalp. When they become adult lice, they get as big as a sesame seed. Lice rely on human blood to stay alive, and when their saliva touches a human scalp, it causes itchiness.

Dandruff, on the other hand, are not insects. It is a scalp condition, also called seborrheic dermatitis. It often leaves your skin or scalp dry, flaky, and itchy. It is a non-contagious and non-inflammatory skin condition that usually affects adolescents and older adults. Babies can also experience a flaky scalp, which is called cradle cap.

Dandruff and Head Lice Infection: The Cause

The main difference between dandruff and head lice infection lies in the way they appear on one’s scalp.

You do not simply get lice. It is caused by head to head contact, from an infected person to another. If you have a family member who has lice, it is easier for you to get them as well. Close interaction is necessary before you get infected by lice.

On the other hand, you can never catch dandruff from anyone else. However, if your family is prone to dandruff, there is a higher chance that you will also suffer from the same scalp condition.

Dandruff and Head Lice Treatment

While shampoos exist for both conditions, shampoo for dandruff can be effective, while OTC shampoo for head lice is not. Lice is best treated professionally.

• On Dandruff

There are special shampoos dedicated to treating dandruff. These shampoos have the following ingredients: coal tar, salicylic acid, ketoconazole, or selenium sulfide. They help slow down the skin-shedding process and treat the fungal infections that cause the skin-shedding.

• On Lice

OTC head lice shampoos contain harsh chemical pesticides such as permethrin and pyrethrin. The shampoo companies recommend using the product repeatedly, at intervals of around seven to ten days, to get rid of the infestation. Unfortunately, this puts your child through repeated exposures to harsh chemicals. In addition, most species of lice prevalent today are super lice, which OTC shampoos are ineffective at killing.

The Prevention

Since they are two very different conditions, prevention for dandruff and head lice is very different too.

• On Dandruff

Using the right shampoo for your scalp can prevent your condition from worsening. Avoiding chemicals like hair dyes or hair sprays can also help. Regular brushing of hair and massaging it instead of scratching are few ways to improve your condition.

• On Lice

Lice has nothing to do with hygiene. Anyone with human blood can be infested with lice. The best way to prevent being infected with it is to avoid close head to head contact with someone who has lice. Using lice prevention products can also help.

Diagnose and Treat Early

Lice and dandruff are two conditions that you would not want your children to get. They cause inconvenience and irritation. Although they cannot always be prevented from happening, there is a solution to improve or get rid of both of these conditions. You just need to be aware of what is happening on your child’s scalp and make sure to attend to them as soon as you can.

Head Lice Treatment in Jacksonville, Orlando, and Savannah

For head lice treatment in Jacksonville, Orlando, FL, and Savannah, GA, turn to Fresh Heads Lice Removal! Our lice removal clinics offer different treatments and protection plans, depending on your child’s needs. Book an appointment with us today!

Schools Without Lice.

Schools Without Lice

At Fresh Heads Lice Removal, our mission is to eradicate lice from schools across the country. To accomplish that mission, we’ve partnered with the Lice Clinics of America to create a program called Schools Without Lice. Through this program, we can provide teachers and nurses with free head lice screenings, resources, and treatments. Together, we can have schools without lice!

Two girls sitting on a bed playing with a stuffed toy.

How Is Head Lice Spread and Is It Contagious?

When you’re holding a notice from your child’s school informing a recent lice outbreak, it’s easy to panic at the thought that your kids may be infected with the pesky critters. However, you don’t need to keep the children home from school just yet.

If you’re dealing with a lice outbreak and want to keep you and your child’s head safe from lice infestations, learning how to identify lice and how it spreads can save you from head-scratching moments.

Are Lice Contagious?

Head lice can be contagious, but not in a way you would think. When people say the word ‘contagious,’ it’s easy to imagine how viruses or diseases spread from one host to the next using airborne methods. Lice, on the other hand, will only invade your hair if you come in direct head-to-head contact with a person who has lice.

Even if lice fall off hair strands, keep in mind that it cannot survive for more than 24 hours off the human scalp. It also cannot jump, and its only way of travel is through crawling, which means that you won’t automatically get head lice just by sitting next to someone who is harboring one.

This means that the only way to spread head lice is if you or your children come into personal contact with the infected person’s head.

How to Spots the Tell-Tale Signs of Lice Invasion on Your Kid’s Head

If you’re afraid that your child has come into close contact with someone who has head lice, it’s best to look closer at their head for any signs of unwanted life crawling out and about. The most obvious symptom is when your children start to itch, especially in areas like the neck, hairlines, and behind ears.

However, itching doesn’t necessarily start in the earlier stages. If you want to get a head start before the infestation becomes too much to handle, watch out for the following warning signs of head lice:

  • Direct light on their head. Lice hate the light, so they will start to move away quickly. Adult lice look like small, sesame seeds with a 1/16 inch long body and reddish-brown color. Nits, on the other hand, are whitish eggs that are firmly attached to individual hair strands.
  • Even if you only see nits, consider seeking professional lice removal treatment as it is a red flag of a start of a head lice infestation.

Removing Head Lice Once and For All

If you or your children get infected with head lice, there are options to get rid of the pesky insects. However, you should avoid home remedies and over-the-counter shampoos as they are ineffective, which increases the risk of infecting other people, especially other children living within the same household.

Professional lice removal offers a quick solution that can eliminate the lice living in your kid’s locks for good. Just to be safe, it’s best to clean your home, sanitize brushes, and change your children’s sheets to ensure any lice are eradicated before they become an issue.

We’re a professional lice removal service in Jacksonville and Orlando, FL, and Savannah, GA. Book your appointment today!

Schools Without Lice.

Schools Without Lice

Our goal at Fresh Heads Lice Removal is to eradicate lice from schools across the country. That’s why we’ve partnered with the Lice Clinics of America to create a program called Schools Without Lice. This program gives teachers and nurses free screenings, resources, and treatments. Together, we can have schools without lice!

Eggs hatch into nymphs after 7-10 days, another 10 days after that, those nymphs have grown into adults.

How to Calculate How Long You Have Had Lice

The news has broken, and your kid has lice. We know the drill. Panic immediately sets in while a million questions run through your head at the same time. You’re thinking how long could you’ve had lice? How did this happen? How do I get rid of lice and fast ? We’re tackling the first question among many—how to calculate how long you have head lice.

Lice Life Cycle

To be able to calculate how long you’ve had lice, we’ll need to understand the lice life cycle.

  • Once the lice have spread to the person’s head, the female louse will start to lay their nits or eggs; an infestation has begun.
  • The first nymphs, or baby lice, will appear 7-10 days later.
  • Nymphs will continue to eat and grow over the next 7-10 days.
  • Before becoming adults, nymphs will molt their exoskeleton three times in order to mate. You can think of this as the louse teenager stage, based on the various molting phases the louse might be.
  • During the third and final molt, the gender is determined based on what is needed for a growing colony and are now officially adults.
  • Once genders are determined, the females will mate, and the life cycle begins again.

It is important to note, after the first successful lice generation, the females mate only one time and lay nits for the remainder of her lifespan. The louse lifespan is usually between 30-33 days, and females can lay up to 10 nits (eggs) a day.

Calculating How Long You Have Had Lice

Now that we’ve learned all the fun details on the life of lice let’s get down to the bottom of how long you’ve had lice. Lice infestation is typically noticed in 30 days after the nymphs have become adults and begin to mate. Female lice are larger than male lice, which means they can be easier to spot in someone’s hair. When you examine the scalp of a person with lice, you will be able to see lice at the various stages in their life: nits, casings (shell after hatching), nymphs, teens, and the adults. By understanding the life cycle of lice, if there are more nits than adults on the head, we can assume you’ve had lice for longer than 30 days. This means there has been longer than one louse life cycle on the head because the adult lice were able to lay and hatch their nits.

Nit on a Strand of Hair

Nit on a strand of hair.

Hatched Louse Casing

Hatched louse casing.

Nits and Lice in Hair

Lice and nits in hair.


For a more technical calculation of how long you’ve had lice, we can measure how far from the scalp the eggs (nits) are. Female lice lay their eggs as close to the scalp as possible, and hair grows about 1 cm per month. For example, if you find nits in your hair and they are measured 2 cm from the scalp, we can calculate you’ve had lice for two months.

Head Lice Treatment in Jacksonville, Orlando, and Savannah

It’s time to cut the lice life cycle short and get rid of them once and for all. Picking the nits, casings, and louse out of the hair yourself will be time-consuming, back-breaking, and eye-straining. It can be easy to miss those one or two nits, and you’ll be left with a breakout yet again. Even those over-the-counter lice treatment products are filled with chemicals and toxins not safe for anyone’s yet. Sometimes they don’t even kill the nits. The safest and most effective lice treatment on the market is our AirAllé device here at Fresh Heads Lice Removal. Our revolutionary device uses only warm air to kill all nits and adult lice in under an hour. Schedule your appointment to be lice free today.


Schools Without Lice.

Schools Without Lice

Our mission at Fresh Heads Lice Removal is to get rid of lice in schools across the United States. We’ve partnered with Lice Clinics of America to create the Schools Without Lice program that gives teaches and nurses free screenings, resources, and treatments. Together, we can have schools without lice!