Dandruff and lice infestation are two of the most common scalp conditions in the world. Both produce characteristic itching which can lead to skin irritation and inflammation, leading to further problems. Both are also present as highly visible white specks on the scalp and hair which can negatively affect self-esteem. However, dandruff and nits are two different entities. Understanding dandruff vs nits is critical in its management because one will require a substantially different approach from the other. Here’s how to tell the difference between dandruff and nits.
Dandruff is a condition of the scalp that is affected by a kind of dermatitis brought about by excessive production of oil such as what happens in seborrheic dermatitis. The excess oils breach the skin barrier which initiates an inflammatory response. This leads to flaking of the skin and the development of dandruff. However, excessive production of oil on the skin is not the only cause of dandruff. Other causes can include dry skin, not cleaning the scalp very often, shampooing the hair too often, hypersensitivity to hair care products, or even the presence of a yeast infection.
Nits are lice eggs. As such the cause of nits is the transmission of adult lice from an individual with lice infestation to another person. The transmission can be by direct contact or it can also be transmitted indirectly such as when using the hair care tools and products of an infected person. Using the beddings or even the clothing of an infected person can also transmit the lice where they lay eggs on the hair shaft.
Dandruff appears thick and flaky. Imagine that you have dry skin that is peeling off. That’s what dandruff looks like. Most of the time they appear in localized patches and can be usually white or even slightly yellowish in color. These white specks are also easy to fall out. If you try to rub your hair, you can easily dislodge dandruff from their attachment. Sometimes you can also see these falling off when you brush or comb your hair.
These yellowish to whitish dots are about the size of a sesame seed. They are firmly attached to your hair shaft. The problem is that when you see white or yellow dots, these are empty ‘shells’. What you need to look for are nits that are caramel or grey in color as these still have the developing juvenile lice inside. Sadly, nits are very stubborn to shake off. They can only be removed by a special kind of finely-toothed comb known as nit comb or with a lice treatment Houston clinic.
Affected Age Group
This scalp condition mostly affects adults; although kids with dandruff are not unheard of.
Lice infestation diagnosed by a lice removal Dallas facility mostly affects children especially those between the ages of 3 and 12 years.
It’s quite easy to differentiate nits from dandruff. Owing to the very nature of the problem, if you brush or shake your hair and these specks don’t easily come off, you’re looking at nits. Conversely, if you see specks falling off with a mere stroke of your hair, then it’s dandruff.