Can African Americans Get Head Lice?

photo of three dark skinned women hugging with heads close together

Occasionally we are asked if African Americans can get a lice infestation in their hair. See our answer below:

It is possible, although unlikely, that an African American person will find lice or nits in their Hair

Over the years we have received calls from African American families telling us that they think that they have lice but they had thought that African American hair is resistant to head lice.

No hair is immune to head lice. There is a myth that African American hair, because it is coarse, is immune to head lice. Lice do not care whether hair is smooth or coarse, thin or thick. Lice attach to a strand of hair as a means to get up to the scalp to access their food supply: human blood. 


The truth is, though, that African American families do have a lower incidence of head lice than other groups; why is that? The reason for this is the traditional usage of sheens and oils in grooming regimens.

Many African Americans use these hair styling products as part of their daily regimens. When hair is covered with these products, it becomes more difficult for lice to adhere to it. The products cover the hair with a protective layer. While oils and sheens help to repel head lice, they are not absolute barriers. LiceDoctors has treated many African Americans who either do not use these styling products or who use them but somehow the lice managed to grab the hair anyway.


The only solution for people with dreadlocks, who get head lice head, is to cut off the dreads. Lice dig inside the dreadlocks where they then lay many eggs; these eggs will then hatch and the bugs will mature and lay additional generations of lice. While we realize that most people do not want to cut off their dreadlocks, our experience is that this is the only way to eradicate your case.

After you cut the dreadlocks, LiceDoctors will come to your home in the Alexandria area and treat the hair to eliminate any vestiges of lice or eggs. your hair. To learn more about in-home professional lice removal, call 703-662-4519 . An experienced lice professional will be at your home whenever you need us, day or night.