Difference Between Lice and Dandruff

Lice vs Dandruff

One can simply say that the difference between lice and dandruff is that one is a parasite while the other is a scalp condition. Before going to the details about each, consider this. If your son or daughter has caught lice in his or her head from an infected student at school, you know how problematical it can be for the kid. Lice cause a lot of itchiness and are resistant to combing. Another scalp condition that causes a lot of embarrassment for a lot of people around the world is dandruff. When these white flakes show up on the neck or the dress of the person, people seem to avoid such a person. These two scalp conditions have similar symptoms. This article will clearly explain the differences so that the affected individual can take correct treatment.

What are Lice?

Lice are a common scalp condition. Lice are a parasitic infestation. The eggs of lice are known as nits. These nits appear as white particles. It is actually lice, which, though not very common, that can be pretty problematical for those who suffer from it. Lice are small parasites that suck blood and make your head their home. They hatch eggs that turn into live lice after a few days. It is when they are in the form of nits that they appear just like dandruff. The most problematic aspect of lice for others around the lice infected individual is that it being contagious. That means one can pass on lice to another person through sharing of personal products or through contact of heads, which is pretty common in schools. Since lice are living things, they can move on their own. The best way to find out whether you have lice is combing your hair. Nits are resistant to combing and stick to your hair. The most important thing to remember in getting rid of lice is that you have to keep your hair and scalp clean all the time. Lice can be cured with medicated shampoos that require cleaning of hair 2-3 times.

Difference Between Lice and Dandruff

What is Dandruff?

Dandruff is a common scalp condition. Dandruff is more commonly perceived as dry skin and its flaking. When it comes to the appearance, dandruff appears as white particles on the hair. Dandruff is embarrassing when it falls on your clothes frequently. It is actually a result of oily skin combining with yeast infection. When you comb your hair, dandruff comes off causing embarrassment. Though it is not harmful, getting rid of dandruff permanently is often very difficult. One positive aspect of dandruff is that it is not contagious. That is a good news for ones who do not have dandruff because they can be around a person with dandruff without having the fear of getting dandruff themselves. Dandruff, as it is just dry skin, is stationery and even if you shed some of your dandruff on another person’s head, it is highly unlikely that he will develop dandruff. The best way to find out whether you have dandruff is combing your hair. Dandruff comes along with the comb. Once you are sure about having either of two conditions, treatment becomes easy as without knowing whether you have dandruff or lice makes treatment difficult. First and foremost, keeping hair and scalp clean all the time is a must if you think of getting rid of dandruff. Dandruff is harder to get rid of and requires regular cleaning with anti-dandruff shampoos.

 Lice vs Dandruff

What is the difference between Lice and Dandruff?

• While dandruff is a condition of the scalp, lice are a parasitic infestation.

• Both dandruff and nits (egg of lice) are white in color causing confusion.

• Combing causes dandruff (white flakes) to come off while lice eggs are resistant to combing and stick to hair.

• Dandruff can sometimes be itchy while lice can cause severe itching at times as it is a blood sucking insect.

• Both require different treatments as you require medicated shampoo to kill lice whereas removal of dandruff requires regular cleaning of hair with anti-dandruff shampoo.

• Dandruff is not contagious. Lice are contagious.

If you suffer from either lice or dandruff and have failed in your attempts to get rid of them, it is prudent to get a prescription from your physician. Make sure you keep your hair and scalp clean at all times. That way, you can prevent having to go through these bad experiences.


Images Courtesy:

  1. Male human head louse by Gilles San Martin (CC BY-SA 2.0)
  2. Dandruff by Hmochoa95 (CC BY-SA 3.0)