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Can Bald People Really Get Lice?

Can Bald People Really Get Lice?
Created on 
December 30, 2020
Updated on 
November 24, 2022

Can bald people get lice? Our lice experts know the answer! This is a common inquiry that is made by clients calling with a head lice infestation and looking for lice treatment. You likely will not be surprised to learn that the answer is bald people cannot get head lice. Head lice need to grab onto hair to get up to the scalp...no hair then no head lice. However, there are two caveats here: if there is any hair on the head at all, the person is a potential victim and there are other kinds of lice that bald people can get. Read this article to find out what types of lice bald people can get and what to do next.

Can Bald People Get Head Lice?  

Can a bald person get head lice? If so, can bald men get lice, or will just bald women? Regarding head lice specifically – if you bald men or women you can add not getting lice as a benefit that comes with having no hair. Consider this:  head lice are parasites that live on, reproduce, and feed off of the human head. Most often, head lice are transmitted when one or more head lice bugs grab onto a strand of a neighboring person's hair and “Tarzans”, or swings, itself from the head it previously occupied to a new host's hair. Once it arrives there, the bug will crawl all the way up to the scalp using the strand of hair as a rope, gripping and grabbing with its claws, where it will feed off of the blood in the scalp. A pregnant louse will lay her eggs (nits) on the strands of hair within one-quarter of an inch of the scalp where they will stay warm and cozy until they are ready to hatch. Once the nits hatch, those baby lice bugs (nymphs) will immediately feed on the blood of the scalp until they are old enough to reproduce and lay eggs of their own. So basically the answer to do bald people get lice is "no"; no hair, no hair lice.

How Much Hair Do Lice Need to Live on a Head?

Head lice need about a 1/4 of an inch of hair from the hair follicle to cling onto so they can live on the human head. Once they are near the scalp, the lice will have the benefit of optimal environmental temperature as well as access to your blood which is their food. It is there that the lice lay their eggs and spend their time hanging out. You will find baby bugs (nymphs), adult lice, and nits on the top of the hair follicle very close to the heads of human. The whole life cycle of hair lice takes place here from extremely small nit to adult lice.

Can Lice Feed on a Bald Head?

But can head lice live on a bald head? Consider that in the absence of hair the live bugs lack the resources they need to get to the head in the first place so you will likely not find lice on a bald head. On the off chance that a live bug actually makes its way to a bald person's scalp, it may start feeding, but the environment there will not only be uncomfortable for the lice, but it will also not be conducive to long-term survival. Without hair, the bugs will also be unable to camouflage themselves, and will therefore be easier to see and vulnerable to being caught and squished. The scalp will also be colder providing an unfriendly, unwelcome, and unpleasant environment for the bug to survive in.

Basically, the louse will have nothing to cling to so it will soon fall off the hair. Once that happens, the louse will die within a day as lice cannot live long without feeding on human blood. So we can definitively answer “can lice live on a bald head” with a confident and joyful no! However, being bald does not provide a free pass from lice – it will only prevent a person from getting head lice. Other species of lice can infest hair on the other parts of a person's body.

lice on bald head

Other Kinds of Lice That People Can Get

When asking can bald guys get lice or can a bald person get lice, it is important to differentiate among the different types of lice that a person can get. The form of head lice that infests the human head is Pediculosis Capitis – this form of head lice is not found on other parts of the body, which is why bald people cannot get lice. However, bald persons can get other forms of lice that infest other parts of the human body. These are pediculus humanus and pthirus pubis, or more commonly referred to as body lice and pubic lice (more commonly referred to as crabs).

Body Lice

You might get surprised to learn that lice can also be found in eyebrows and eyelashes or beard and chest hair. These species of lice are mostly transmitted among people who have poor hygiene and live in close quarters. They can be carried on clothes that a child or adult is wearing. If you get head lice you will see that the adult lice spend their time only on the scalp near the skin, not on clothes, beard, chest hair, or other body parts.

Pubic Lice

Pubic lice are commonly found in the pubic area of the body. They may also be transmitted from the pubic region to your beard. Pubic lice are usually transmitted through sexual contact with a person who has these lice. Lice found in beards or eyebrows may be body lice or pubic lice. Like head lice, pubic lice may be transmitted from person to person through various forms of contact.

Does Shaving Your Head Bald Get Rid of Lice?

This is a common question that we are asked. Some folks think that if they get head lice that shaving their heads will get rid of the lice. Unfortunately, this is not always the solution. If you choose to shave the scalp you must get rid of every sign of hair on the head. If you are not absolutely bald, then you have not eliminated the infestation. This will happen a lot with lice cases and then the next morning, people find that the infestation is still there.

We have treated clients who buzzed their heads having assumed that a buzz cut will get rid of the lice. This kind of shave is not enough to ensure that all of the lice will die. These parasites live at the base of the hair shaft so a buzz cut does not provide the benefits of shaving closely enough that you are completely bald. The lice lay their nits on the extremely small amount of hair that is there and that is enough to ensure that lice won't die.

Consider also that, especially for girls, a head lice treatment that involves shaving the head is extreme and may be emotionally very upsetting. Another common question is will cutting hair short help to eliminate lice? While it won't clear up the infestation, it will make the treatment process easier.

will lice go away if i shave my head

Call Experts to Get Rid of Lice

Can you get lice if you're bald? If you are balding or have some remnants of hair, then yes. If you are completely bald, then no. If you are not a bald man or woman and have found that you or someone in your family has contracted a case of head lice, call LiceDoctors at 800-224-2537 – we can help get rid of lice! Don't waste time on shampoos that are no longer effective or, worse, risk traumatizing a child, especially a daughter, by shaving the head which may not even work to get rid of the head lice. Technicians who come to your home are experts and are experienced at getting rid of the head lice infestation quickly and efficiently. If everyone is treated at the same time, you will get the LiceDoctors thirty-day guarantee  -  in the highly unlikely event that the head lice are not gone in thirty days your technician will return to your home and treat you again free of charge. Do not worry – if you are bald you are exempt and will not need to book an appointment for a head lice treatment.

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