6 Popular Difference between lice and dandruff

Lice and dandruff

Lice and dandruff are the most common conditions on the scalp. The difference between lice and dandruff is almost unnoticed. Although both have similar characteristics, they are different.


Difference Between Lice and Dandruff

Hair gets easily damaged with lice or dandruff. Therefore it is crucial to note the difference between lice and dandruff and take the necessary measures to avoid both.

It is good to know the causes, symptoms, and treatments for dandruff and lice. You can help yourself or any others when they are tired of these conditions.

Be aware of the difference between lice and dandruff to treat rightly. If you leave such a condition untreated for a long time, it can result in severe problems.

Let’s have a closer look at the characteristics of lice and dandruff.


Different types of lice affect different parts of the body. Head lice are small insects that feed on blood. They suck it from the scalp and cause itchiness.

They are wingless. Lice eggs are called nits. Head lice are contagious. They are parasitic insects.

Difference between lice and dandruff
Head lice

Head lice are directly transferred from the infected person. This is not an issue that occurs due to poor hygiene. This is a very common issue among children.

When you come in close contact with someone having head lice, it is directly spread. A head-to-head contact transfers the lice. These head lice can only feed on human blood. They can only survive in human hair.

They grow up to 3mm in length. You can find lice with a comb. You can get head lice by sharing bedding or clothes that you wear on your head. They cannot live in any other places except the human head.

Head lice cause an itchy scalp and make you uncomfortable. This is a symptom. The bite is visible around the neck among long-haired people.

When you see live lice you can detect the condition. You might feel something crawling over your scalp. If you feel any of these symptoms, check your hair with someone’s help to find the lice.

Difference between lice and dandruff
Looking for lice

Lice combs will help to find nits and lice. The nits or eggs are usually dark-colored. While the lice are light-colored.

The difference between lice and dandruff is easily identifiable. The nits will not come out easily. It tends to stick in your scalp.

Many head lice treatments are available. You have to use such treatments twice to get rid of lice. The initial treatment removes adult lice. The second stage removes the newly hatched nits.

This way all the lice and nits are completely removed from the scalp. Prevent future head lice infestation by avoiding head-to-head contact with people who have head lice.

Do not share personal hygiene products with anyone. Check out lice using a fine-tooth comb.

Read more about head lice infestation.


This is a chronic condition. It affects the scalp. Dandruff is a common condition that is seen in people all around the globe.

The real cause behind dandruff is unclear and a full curing treatment is also not known. Many factors contribute to the formation of dandruff. Seborrheic dermatitis is a more severe form of dandruff that causes inflammation of the skin.


Dandruff causes itchiness on your scalp. White flakes are visible when dandruff is present. Flaky skin is the result of dandruff. This condition gets worse during winter. Dandruff is not contagious.

It is not associated with hygiene. Skin cells replace themselves. Mostly these cells are not so visible. In people with dandruff, these cells are replaced rapidly and that results in the accumulation of dead cells.

Dandruff can occur due to mainly three factors. It may be due to secretions of the skin oil, skin microorganisms, or allergy sensitivity.

Some other causes for dandruff are oily skin, dry skin, effects of hair care products, or other skin conditions like psoriasis.

There are many products to treat dandruff. Mild dandruff is treated using anti-dandruff shampoos. Medicated shampoos are also good for limiting dandruff.

Usually, men have severe dandruff problems. Older adults are less prone to dandruff. Other illnesses like Parkinson’s disease make you more vulnerable to dandruff.

Find more about dandruff.

Contrast Between Lice and Dandruff

The difference between lice and dandruff is many. You can get easily confused with head lice and dandruff as they have similarities too.

1. Based On the Impact

The first difference between lice and dandruff is their impact. Lice are a temporary infestation. Dandruff is a chronic condition.

Itchy scalp
Itchy scalp

Both lice and dandruff cause itchiness on your scalp. But dandruff also sheds skin flakes that can even fall on your clothes.

2. Based On the Effects

Lice is an insect while dandruff is just a skin condition. Another difference between lice and dandruff is that lice are contagious but dandruff isn’t. If any of your classmates or family member have lice, you are probably going to get affected by it as close contact can occur.

3. Based On Location

There are locational differences as well. Lice lay eggs and stick them to your hair. Dandruff is on the scalp and not on the hair. The flaky cells may spread to the hair but dandruff is mainly on the scalp.

4. Based On Intensity

Dandruff causes more itchiness than lice. Lice also give a crawling sensation which is absent in dandruff. Lice can cause bacterial infections.

5. Based On Size

Lice are small. Dandruff flakes are in different sizes. The flakes can occur in different ways. It is necessary to understand the difference between lice and dandruff to get the proper treatment.

6. Based On Treatment and Prevention

Dandruff treatments and lice treatments are different. Head lice are removed using medicated shampoos or home treatments. Special shampoos are designed for treating dandruff.

Lice are preventable to an extent. You can treat lice. You cannot prevent dandruff. You can only reduce it. Even though there is a lot of differences between lice and dandruff, they can make you uncomfortable and embarrassed.


There are many differences between lice and dandruff. They are not associated with cleanliness. When you are affected with lice or dandruff, identify the issue and find the right solution.

Don’t confuse lice with dandruff. Evaluate the condition using the differences. Get the right treatment at the right time. Avoid all the discomfort caused by lice and dandruff.

Understand the difference between lice and dandruff and provide the needed treatments.

Discover more information about hair care.





Any information found on the site does not constitute legal or medical advice. Should you face health issues, please visit your doctor to get yourself diagnosed. Icy Health offers expert opinions and advice for informational purposes only. This is not a substitute for professional medical advice.


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