Difference between Head Lice and Dandruff: 7 Essential Facts

Difference between head lice and dandruff can be a little bit blurry sometimes when you have them. Both seem to be very itchy and very irritating.

If people know you have the problems, they will instantly get a real distance to you. Well, that is only logical. You should know the difference before you know how to treat it. Learn from the following facts and know your problem.

Difference between Head Lice and Dandruff

Image: wikipedia.org

The Appearance

The first head lice and dandruff difference is on the appearance. Dandruff, scientifically called seborrheic dermatitis, is basically your scalp skin flake. It can be dry or oily, based on the hair condition, and it can be white as it commonly appears, and it can also be a little yellow.

The color is also based on oil contain on your scalp skin. Meanwhile, the head lice appear mostly in three ways. The eggs, which are also called nits, are the white specks. It can also be a nymph. On adult, lice can appear as small insect in tan color that hatched from the nits. Their bites cause most of the itch. Adult lice are still very small just like sesame seed size.    

The Causes

The difference between head lice and dandruff also lies on the causes of the case. Dandruff can be provoked by several things like too dry or too oily scalp skin, certain autoimmune issue, and build up shampoo on your scalp.

Someone can also get this problem genetically when one of his family members, not necessarily the parents, has dandruff problems. Meanwhile, lice head can be transferred from someone near you. This explains why a kid can get lice too if one of his classmates has it.

Close contact will allow the lice to get on your hair and reach your scalp in no time. On several cases, these lice came from several stuffs around you like towels, combs, bed linens, and maybe your clothes.  

Population on Affect

You can also find the head lice and dandruff difference on the people who suffer it. Lice head issue is very common among small kids, preschoolers and elementary students. The transfer is also made easy by their every day contact to each other at school. Adult who live among kids with lice will commonly suffer the same issue to even though lice head issue is not common on adult.

Meanwhile, dandruff commonly happens on at least young adult and adolescents. This happens due to adult habit on wrong hair treatment, and health issue. However, older adults as well as children can have the flaky scalp too due to medical condition. The condition may not be critical but it needs special treatment.    

The Symptoms

These two cases have quite distinctive symptoms other than the white particles existence on your scalp. Dandruff is easier to remove. You can try to comb your hair to find out. If the white particles drop easily, this is definitely dandruff. They tend to be dry and they don’t stick on your hair or scalp.

On the other hand, lice are harder to get. If you comb your hair, their eggs will not drop. They stick on your scalp and hair. The itch is caused by the lice sucking your blood. Their saliva is irritating your scalp skin. That’s why it is felt so itchy all the time. Plus, you must get the feeling like something is crawling on your scalp.    

Helpful Shampoos

The other head lice and dandruff difference lies on the shampoo you should use to cure it. For dandruff, you will be medically recommended to shampoo that contains selenium sulfide, ketoconazole, salicylic acid, or coal tar. You can also have a shampoo with the combinations of them all. Several advanced and medically proven shampoo will need doctor prescription.

Meanwhile, to get rid of lice, children and all people above two years old will need a shampoo with pyrethrin and permethrin. Those will kill the lice and the eggs too. You are often suggested to repeat using the shampoo within the next ten days. Children under two will need manual and natural removal due to the chemical exposure though.    

Possible Remedies

Both cases have possibility on home remedies too. However, the difference between head lice and dandruff lies on the kind of the remedies. For dandruff, you can start a diet with menu that contains enough zinc and vitamin B and enough exposure to sunshine as medically suggested by the Mayo Clinic.

On the other hand, lice have home remedies too. Home remedies for lice are more on working form. You basically need to clean the whole things. Wash your linens, clothes, and towels with hot water and high heat dry. Vacuum stuffed animals, rugs and carpet, furniture, pillows and bolsters, and almost everything else in the three days. This will remove their food. Without food, they will die.    

Prevention Action

These cases have their own prevention action, making it the last head lice and dandruff difference you must know. For dandruff, you should follow recommendation from medical journals and research reports you can find. It commonly recommends you to maintain healthy diet intake and less stressing life. Those are proven to be the most effective prevention unless you inherit the case genetically.

Meanwhile, for lice, you should limit your contact with people who have lice. You also need to maintain sterile condition in the house. It doesn’t have to be extreme as in hospital, but you must hot wash and hot dry your linen, clothes, and towels every once in a while.

Regular vacuum on your furniture, carpet and rugs, pillows and bolsters, as well as stuffed animals and anything else is highly needed. It prevents lice to nest in your environment and on your family scalp.  

Lice and dandruff have similarities tough. They both attack your scalp, and it causes the itch. You will not find the right remedies unless you know what causes your itch. Learning from the facts above, it will be easy for you to find out the cause since you already know the difference between head lice and dandruff.

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