Having an itchy scalp is not something that anyone would like to have and it is something that alarms us all when it does occur, especially if we are not familiar as to what may cause it. Nits and dandruff are quite common things we encounter when it comes to hair care. And a lot of people nowadays don’t really know the difference. And seeing how both cause our scalp to itch we might stop and wonder whether it is one or the other. Remember back in the days, we all dreaded that school notice about head lice. And if you are a parent now, I am sure that this little note can cause a lot of panic. Lice outbreaks in school or summer camps are not uncommon and many parents have had their fair share of that problem. Many people who have never dealt with head lice usually don’t know what they look like, or their eggs for that matter. The eggs of the lice are what is known as nits. Even though they share some similarities to dandruff, they are two completely different conditions that require completely different treatments. We hope this text will solve the dilemma for you and help you find the solution if you are suffering from either of them.
In order to be able to distinguish between the two of them, let us give you some information on the two conditions separately.
Dandruff is in fact a quite common condition and we can freely say that up to 50% of the population are affected by dandruff or have been during a certain period of their life. Dandruff is a type of skin eczema, otherwise known by the name seborrhea dermatitis, and it is manifested through increased or excessive production of dead skin cells which causes the scalp to become itchy and they fall out in the form of flakes. As a condition, dandruff is not contagious, this means that it cannot be passed on from one person to another. Dandruff usually appears with those people who struggle with scalp that is too dry or too oily as excess of both can lead to itchiness and result in scaly skin. It is also fairly visible as the white or yellowish skin flakes can be seen on the hair, which can cause a lot of frustration with people who suffer from it. It can also be accompanied by red and irritated scalp. Some studies suggest that dandruff as a condition can run in families, although that doesn’t have to be the case.
While dandruff is a self-contained condition and cannot be passed on, lice are parasites which are highly contagious and spread like wild fire. They look like tiny white bugs and cause itchiness of the scalp and this is why many people cannot tell if it Is dandruff or lice until there has been and infestation of the entire scalp. If lice are not treated timely, they can cause an infestation and create many unpleasant itching sensations as they move around in the scalp and lay their eggs. They not only infest their host, but can also quickly crawl from one person to another and create a whole infestation there as well. They can spread through head-to-head contact, through clothes, combs, hats or similar shared items. Kids are mostly prone to lice infestations, and statistics have shown that each year in the USA alone 6-12 million children between 3 and 11 years old are suffering from lice infestations. When the lice lay their eggs, or nits, they are tiny and white, and look a lot like dandruff and this is the reason why the two of them are oftentimes confused.
So how to actually tell the difference between nits and dandruff?
One of the most certain ways to determine the difference and set them apart, is the fact that the dandruff or the skin flakes fall off the hair easily, they can simply be brushed off. When it comes to nits, they don’t come off the hair that easily. In order for the eggs to hatch on their host, the nits are secured usually to the shaft of the hair with a bonding agent that serves like glue. When it comes to nits, it would take a special type of tools or lice combs to remove them. If the white flakes come out easily when brushing or flicking the hair, then you are dealing with dandruff.
Another way of determining is a close inspection of the scalp, and if you notice movement of lice, then definitely it is an infestation and the problem is not simply dead skin flakes.
Location is also another signal. While dandruff can be found all over the hair, in the first stages of an infestation the lice would prefer to lay eggs around the ears and neck area. However, as the infestation becomes more severe, the nits can be found all over the hair as well.
How to treat them?
Lice infestations are highly contagious, so if you spot this happening, we strongly suggest you consult a professional immediately in order to get the proper pest medication and treatment plan.
When it comes to dandruff, it may not be as scary as a lice infestation, but if left untreated, it can cause more severe issues other than a cosmetic problem. Proper hair and scalp care is essential when it comes to treating dandruff. If you are suffering from this condition, we suggest trying out Dandrene Anti Dandruff Shampoo and Conditioner. The Dandrene Shampoo formula includes hydrolysed lupine protein and pomegranate peel extract with zinc pyrithione. It helps exfoliate and cleanse the skin, while at the same time providing shiny and easily manageable hair. The shampoo suits all hair types and is also safe to use for coloured hair. The Dandrene-Anti Dandruff Conditioner complements the shampoo and controls skin flaking, while at the same time helping reduce scaling and irritation caused by dandruff. It not only treats, but also prevents dandruff from occurring again. For optimal results, these products should be used combined and at least 2 times a week.