Can Dyeing Your Hair Kill Head Lice?

In short, hair dye may wash away lice, but does nothing for the nits or eggs that are attached to your hair. So even if you wash away every single live louse on your head, in seven to ten days, all those eggs will hatch and you'll have even more lice to deal with.

What Are Lice?

Lice are tiny insects (parasites) that live off of human blood. They can be found on the head, body and pubic hair and survive by laying eggs, which incubate in 7 to 10 days then hatch into lice. One louse can lay as many as 90 eggs, so it's easy to see why lice infestations are so common.

Lice may be hard to see on the head, but the nits, or eggs, usually look similar to dandruff that cannot easily be brushed out of the hair. Head lice spread quickly. Most often, head lice spread through elementary schools and day care facilities, or anywhere young children are in close quarters. However, anyone can get head lice and spread it to others.

Treatment of Head Lice

Typically people treat head lice with an over the counter pediculicide, or pesticide. Prescription treatments are available for especially stubborn lice. Many adults seek alternative natural products to deal with head lice for a number of reasons.

  1. Lice products, both over the counter and prescription, may potentially cause brain and nervous system damage, especially when used incorrectly.
  2. In the way bacteria becomes resistant to antibiotics, lice can become resistant to over the counter products.

A fine toothed lice comb can be found at any pharmacy. You may need to comb through the infested person's hair a couple of different times.

Lice in your Home

If someone in your house has head lice it is important to notify anyone who has been in contact with the infested person (schools and day cares especially). Next, wash all clothing, bedding, towels, hats, scarves and anything that may have been in contact with that person in very hot water. Anything that cannot be washed, like comforters and pillows, should be put in airtight plastic bags for at least 4 days.

Vacuum the cars out. Soak all combs and brushes used in the house in very hot water or rubbing alcohol. Remember, head lice cannot jump or fly; they simply move very quickly and can spread from one person to another fairly easily. Also remember that having lice does not mean you are dirty or have poor hygiene. Lice are equal opportunity parasites; they don't care who you are so long as they can feed off your blood.


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