Though they are two very itchy conditions that can completely take over your scalp, it’s important that you know the difference between head lice and dandruff – and boy is there a world of difference between the two!
The last thing that you are going to want to do is make the mistake of believing that head lice is a dandruff issue or vice versa. Not only will you end up using products designed to destroy the opposite condition (with absolutely no results to speak of, leading to incredible frustration for no reason), but you’ll also waste precious time that might allow both of these conditions to become worse and worse over time.
You definitely want to get a jump on both of these issues as quickly as you can. If left unchecked, head lice and dandruff can become a real headache.
Thankfully, with the information in this quick guide, you shouldn’t have to worry too terribly much about dealing with either of these problems. We are going to break down both of the problems so that you know exactly what you’re getting into, exactly what you’re dealing with, and exactly what you have to do to get rid of both of them.
So what do you set about us getting started right away?
What are head lice and dandruff, anyway?
Before we get right to the nitty-gritty of destroying head lice or dandruff (making sure that neither of them comes back later down the line), it’s important that you understand exactly what you’re up against.
Head lice and dandruff are very different, because dandruff is a fungal and bacterial issue that is caused by a number of biochemical issues happening inside of your body, whereas head lice are nasty little parasitic critters that are looking to crunch on the skin of your scalp and survive (in ridiculous colonies) built right into your hair.
Not exactly the most pleasant of pictures, is it?
Head lice are almost microscopic in nature, and are so small that it’s really pretty easy to confuse them for flakes of dandruff if you aren’t paying close attention.
About the size of a sesame seed (or even smaller if they are young and especially smaller if they are still in their egg stage), these little critters are going to squirrel around on your head and munch on your scalp – and that’s what causes the itchiness.
Lice, as mentioned above, are parasitic insects and are passed from one person to the next (or from an animal, for that matter), literally jumping from one host to another until they can establish a new colony.
On top of that, lice can fester inside of clothing, bedclothes, towels, and other personal effects (including hair grooming supplies), just waiting for the chance to be “dropped off” on your scalp so that they can create an infestation.
Dandruff, on the other hand, is a bacterial and fungal issue (technically alive, but we won’t get into that) that causes skin on your scalp to slough off in tiny little greasy snowflakes that end up on your head or shoulders.
The cause of dandruff is an inflammatory and skin sensitivity issue. When your shampoo builds up on your scalp (or too much oil builds up from your hair), a number of autoimmune systems kick into play and a handful of biochemical hormones are released.
If these aren’t modulated proper (or if your hair is and cleaned regularly), you’re going to be looking at a bacterial situation that can quickly spread all throughout your scalp – and then you’re dealing with a real problem on your hands.
Thankfully, dandruff cannot be passed from one person to the next!
How to know if you’re dealing with lice or dandruff?
It’s not all that easy to know whether or not you’re dealing with lice or dandruff at first blush, if only because they are going to feel the same – at least in the early stages.
You’re going to be dealing with an itchy scalp, tiny little white chunks of scalp that manifest on your hair or your shoulders, and little bits of white spots in your hair that just don’t seem to ever stop being produced.
However, upon closer inspection, you should be able to easily determine whether or not you’re dealing with lice or dealing with dandruff. After all, lice are going to actively try and move about on top of your head – especially when you plan to kill them – whereas dandruff is just going to kind of “sit there like a lump”.
Treating both of these issues
It’s pretty easy to get rid of head lice as well as dandruff, but you need to know exactly what you’re doing.
For one thing, you are going to have to get your hands a proper diagnosis from a medical professional for either of these two problems. If you have lice, you’re going to need to set up a bit of a “self-imposed quarantine” so that you don’t risk re-infestation or passing the problem along to someone that you care about.
From there, it’s just a matter of taking advantage of the anti-lice shampoo that your doctor has recommended, and drowning them out of your life forever.
If you have dandruff, that same medical professional will be able to get you a recommendation for a powerful and potent shampoo so that you can destroy your dandruff at the root with absolutely zero headache or hassle.
There are also a handful of all-natural solutions you could try (if that’s a direction you want to go in) – with vinegar being the most often recommended – but there’s no reason to avoid modern medicine in this case, simply because the side effects are so minimal.