Lice vs Dandruff: How to Differentiate?

Lice vs Dandruff: Signs, symptoms, causes, treatment - kshvid
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Are you get tired of itching your head now and then? Well, many reasons can lead to head irritation and continuous itching. Sometimes it’s very difficult to differentiate between lice infestation vs dandruff itching. Lice is a temporary infestation that can be treated well, while dandruff is a skin condition. But fortunately, both are treatable.

This article will help you differentiate between dandruff and head lice. Further, we will guide you about lice little things in hair, not lice or dandruff. Keep scrolling and learn more about how to tell if it’s lice or dandruff. Can you have dandruff and lice at the same time?

Head Lice: 

A parasite named pediculus humanus capitis is commonly called a head louse. The lice live and lay eggs on the scalp and, in return, suck blood from the human body.

When they bite, it causes severe itching and irritation. Mostly, young girls with long hair are prone to their infestation.

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Additionally, children such as the kids who have direct head contact in school and daycare are at higher risk.

An unbearably itchy scalp is the first symptom of having lice in the head, but if your head shows some white flakes, it can be dandruff.

You may wonder about specific questions like can you pull lice out with your fingers? Can you feel like crawling? Where do lice itch the most? So, a standard answer is yes.

You can feel the lice if they are more in number. Further, lice may not feel like crawling, but it will cause itching. So, you must know what’s going on in your head before treating the cause.


Dandruff vs lice is a common scalp condition resulting from seasonal changes. Most people experience different signs during the winter.

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Dandruff causes the appearance of snowflakes on dark clothing. Moreover, it results in extreme itching and causes severe irritation on the scalp.

But, most of the time, this condition is temporary and can be easily treated by switching to a good shampoo.

Lice vs Dandruff Causes

There are different causes for initiating lice or getting dandruff in the head. Both have other reasons that can create this situation.

Sometimes you may think do I have lice, or am I paranoid? Hence, it is necessary to look for the root cause. Here, we share the primary reasons for both issues.


What causes head lice to begin? Lice are highly contagious, which results when you come in close contact with a person already having lice in their head. The lice can easily crawl and jump from their head to yours while hugging and sitting together.

Head-to-head contact is one of the major causes of developing this problem. People often ask, are adults less likely to get lice? The answer is yes. This is why lice are commonly seen in young children and kids of school-going age. Children who study and play together get this infestation quickly.

Another common reason for getting lice in the head is haring hats, caps, and head scarfs. A person who already has lice in their head when sharing accessories such as a comb, towel, hat, or a cap is the best chance that a head louse may transfer from their head to yours.

Further, the head lice vs dandruff take no time to reproduce, so they grow in number eventually


Dandruff is a skin condition in which skin cells shed too quickly. It dries out the scalp and leaves your skin flaky and itchy. The significant reason for getting dandruff can be dry skin. If you are not moisturizing your scalp enough, you risk getting eth dandruff.

The other reasons include not shampooing your good head or having a dry scalp for long. Further, one of the reasons can be the fungal overgrowth that can occur on the different scalp and skin types.

Last but not least, many people face this problem due to medical conditions. Seborrheic dermatitis is a medical condition that results in dry, flaky patches on the scalp and other skin areas.

Further, allergies to some ingredients can also trigger flaky skin or dandruff in the head. So, before reaching out to the treatment, one must reach out to the root cause and then take a further step.

Lice vs Dandruff Signs and Symptoms:

There are some signs and symptoms of having dandruff or lice infestation. People with dry scalps are prone to get dandruff in the winter season.

Scaling and flaking are signs of dandruff, while lice usually don’t cause any of this. Here are some clear signs and symptoms that can help how do I check my head for lice or dandruff?

Dandruff symptoms:

  • An itchy scalp
  • Scaling on the scalp.
  • Red or pink skin itching.
  • White flakes on the scalp hair.
  • Symptoms worsen in the winter.

Lice symptoms:

  • Intense itching.
  • Trouble sleeping.
  • Tickling and crawling feeling.
  • Red bumps or sores on the scalp.
  • Small black or brown spots at the hair base.

How to Treat Lice and Dandruff?

Both conditions require proper diagnosis and the right treatment. To get the right results, it is necessary to reach out to the right cause and check if the signs and symptoms align.

After differentiating between lice vs dandruff, you can easily conclude and treat your hair well. So, follow the proper treatment according to your hair condition:

Lice Treatment:

Have you ever wondered that how can I tell if I have lice? Well, dandruff and lice have a common symptom which is an itchy scalp.

To treat the hair condition rightly, it is essential to find the exact cause by looking into the other symptoms. What can lice go away on their own? Well, the answer is negative.

To get rid of the lice, you need to check their number. Lice can check this vs dandruff on a comb test. Use a hair comb to find out.

Lice vs dandruff treatment typically contain counter-topical treatment such as pest-killing permethrin. Some shampoos available in the market are pretty helpful in killing lice.

Afterwards, you will need to comb dead lice out of your head using the fine-tooth nit comb. You can contact your doctor if this doesn’t work out for you.

Uncover the whole situation before your general practitioner, and they will immediately get you a treatment plan.

Dandruff treatment:

Shampooing the hair with an anti-dandruff shampoo is a highly recommended treatment to eliminate dandruff.

To avoid dandruff in the first place, take good care of your hair. Use hair oils and hair butters to keep your hair and scalp moisturized.

Choose right shampoo according to your hair type. If using an anti-dandruff shampoo doesn’t help, the condition may be due to other reasons, such as eczema, a yeast infection, or an autoimmune condition. Consult your dermatologist and uncover the root cause to start your treatment.


How do you get rid of lice permanently in one day?

Getting rid of lice in one day seems impossible. To get rid of the lice completely, you need to use an anti-lice shampoo and comb out their remains from your head daily. Follow this process until your reason is apparent.

How do I check my own head for lice?

Purchase a lice-nit comb that helps you take out the lice from head. By combing your head daily, you can check lice in your own head.

How do you get rid of lice fast?

To get rid of lice fast, use a pest killer formulated for a human head. Additionally, use an anti-louse shampoo daily and keep your head clean.

Why is my head itchy, but I don’t have dandruff or lice?

If you have no lice or dandruff in your head, there can be another reason for itching, such as dry skin, fungal infection, or eczema. If you face severe head itching, consult your dermatologist in no time.


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