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Does Hair Dye Really Kill Head Lice?

Does Hair Dye Really Kill Head Lice?
Updated on 
January 26, 2021

Hair dye may kill some bugs, but it does not affect the nits (eggs). Conversely, having dyed hair will not prevent you from getting a case of head lice. Why use a potentially harmful lice treatment when there are alternatives?

We receive many phone calls from baffled parents, caregivers, and teenage girls asking us, does dying your hair kill lice? Some people wonder, since they just found their lice infestation, will hair dye kill lice if they dye it right away? After discovering their child has lice, others want to know will hair dye kill head lice and eggs on children? If hair dye is not something they will use on their children, they ask if adults color their hair or can hair dye kill lice and treat their kids?

Do Lice Like Dyed Hair?

Do Lice Like Dyed Hair?

There is a myth related to hair dye: people with bleached or dyed hair cannot get lice. Lice gravitate as much to dyed hair as to hair that has not been colored. The bug only needs to climb up the hair to get to its food source, the head’s blood. Nothing about dyed hair prevents lice from attaching to the hair shaft to make the pilgrimage to the scalp.

When it comes to hair dye and lice, especially if you deal with multiple bouts of lice, despite regular appointments with your cosmetologist to keep your hair color looking sharp, you may conversely conclude that lice may be drawn to your colored hair. This is not true; the fact is that lice are not drawn to hair that has been dyed; however, they are not repelled by it either.

If your hair is not yet dyed, you may be wondering, will dying my hair kill lice, or will hair color kill lice? If you wonder if dying your hair kills lice, the answer is that it may kill some lice, but it will not kill all, and it will definitely not affect the nits (eggs).

Does Hair Dye Kill Head Lice and Nits?

Does Hair Dye Kill Lice and Nits

If you have just found head lice and are thinking about taking advantage of the opportunity to get that hair color you have been wanting, thinking, "if I dye my hair will it kill lice,” or if you’re going to experiment to find out does dye kill lice, you may want to think again.

If you want to know "will dying my hair kills lice,” you should be wondering if more does hair dye kill head lice explicitly only if it is a permanent color? Perhaps you are considering a temporary wash-out color and asking whether hair color kills lice if it is temporary and doesn’t contain peroxide. The answer to those questions: it is possible that hair dye, specifically permanent color, may kill head lice, but only the bugs.

When contemplating whether coloring your hair kills lice, hair dye can get you started on getting rid of lice, but you have to decide if it is worth it.

Permanent hair dye has ammonia as a key ingredient. Ammonia is used to make hair lighter, and it is an alkaline substance. Head lice cannot withstand an environment in the head that is this alkaline, so eventually, they will die.

Also, hair color has hydrogen peroxide, altering the hair’s consistency while not as strong as ammonia, making it a bit more challenging for the lice claws to grab. But try not to get too excited. While hair color may affect some live bugs, the question you should be asking - does hair dye kill lice eggs -  because as long as there are still nits (lice eggs) in the hair, you will have an active infestation that will not go away on its own (we will explain that soon).

While the combination of these two chemicals may be instrumental in killing lice at home or in a salon, in answering the question "does hair dye gets rid of lice" the answer is a solid no. Hair dye will do nothing to get rid of lice because, without removing lice eggs from the hair, you will still be harboring a head full of nits (which will eventually hatch!).

Hair Dyes Don’t Kill Lice Eggs?

Hair Dyes Don't Kill Lice Eggs

When figuring out a treatment option for getting rid of a head lice case for good, it is always very important to address the nits in the hair.

As previously discussed, hair color may kill the bugs, but with a full-blown infestation, can lice survive hair dye? Yes, they can. You may be successful at getting rid of some of the bugs with hair dye, or you may even use hair dye to get rid of all of them. However, the lice eggs will remain viable and stuck to the hair. Nits have such a tough exterior shell that the dye cannot penetrate.

No chemicals, including prescription lice treatment, over-the-counter lice shampoo, home remedies, or chlorine, will kill the nits because they cannot seep through the hard shell to kill the baby louse growing inside it. Any lice eggs (nits) that remain in the infested person’s hair will hatch and mature and start to lay even more eggs; you will have many future generations of lice within a month. Nits must be physically removed from the hair via combing and handpicking. So does hair dye kill lice? Not for good...as long as nits remain, you have an active infestation.

That means that you can use the strongest hair dye available and, outside of destroying your hair, so you have to shave your head bald (which will get rid of lice), you will not eliminate the lice infestation.

Will Lice Treatment Ruin Hair Color?

Will Lice Treatment Ruin Hair Color?

If you wonder whether lice treatment ruins hair color, we can assure you that your technician will use the all-natural treatment protocol when you call LiceDoctors. We can not speak for other professional treatments.

Specific remedies are safer for children than hair dye. There are at-home lice treatments like mayonnaise, Cetaphil, and conditioner that families try. You may have some success with these treatments, but that depends on how well you do with combing and picking nits.

Some people jump to using lice shampoos, prescription lice treatments, and over-the-counter lice treatment kits like Nix, Pronto, A-200, and Rid. These lice products come with a low-quality plastic comb that fails to get rid of nits, and occasionally, they cause an allergic reaction, itching, or a rash.

Some people try natural oils like tea tree oil and anise oil, but keep in mind that there has to be enough oil to suffocate the lice, and you must remove all nits. The safety of these oils for lice treatment is unknown.

LiceDoctors offers a professional quality comb with laser technology welding that makes the comb highly sturdy and long-lasting. Its micro-grooved teeth are gentle on the scalp to help remove the nits and lice. We also offer a popular LiceDoctors Peppermint Repellent Spray with a peppermint oil-based formula used to ward off head lice naturally. The spray coats the hair making it more difficult for lice to adhere to the hair strands. Peppermint scent is used to repel head lice naturally. LiceDoctors Head Lice Shampoo and LiceDoctors Conditioner are both sulfate-free and ideal for washing out oils used in treating lice.

What Brand Of Hair Dye Kills Lice?

There is no particular brand we would recommend to get rid of head lice by dying your hair. As mentioned previously, this is not a method that will fully treat a case of head lice to the point of total eradication.

However, if you would like to color your hair to get a start on killing head lice, or you just want to color your hair and, as a bonus, you may kill off some of the bugs, read the ingredients on whatever brand you prefer. You will want to look for products with ammonia and hydrogen peroxide on the ingredients list if you ever want to have a chance at killing some of the live bugs that may be present in your hair during a lice infestation.

Remember, however, as stated previously (and we cannot stress this enough), no matter what product you use to color your hair when you have head lice, it will not do anything to the lice eggs. So if you simply color or bleach your hair but do nothing to address the nits in the hair, your lice infestation will come back, and you can only apply a certain amount of hair color to your hair over some time before you damage it beyond repair.

Warnings: Risk of Using Hair Dye

Hair dyes may cause toxicity or allergic reactions, which include difficulty with breathing. Hair dye may be fatal if inadvertently ingested. There are up to 25 different chemicals in a hair dye. Skin reactions are common, and these include redness, rashes, and burning. There have been studies conducted suggesting a possible link between hair dye and cancer.  Also, the FDA has reports that show effects of hair dyes on the eyes that include blindness.

Source: Poison.org

Children are particularly susceptible to adverse reactions to hair dye. Their hair is more delicate and may be damaged from dyes, but far worse is that a child may have an allergy to the hair dyes. The bottom line here is it is not possible that you will see hair dye kill lice and nits, so why use a product to eradicate lice that contains chemicals that may be harmful to humans when there are non-chemical, safer alternatives? This is especially true since hair dye will not permanently eliminate lice, as it does not exterminate nits.

How to Use Hair Dye to Kill Lice?

Adults dyeing their hair anyway can modify the dye job to kill lice. If you feel burning, rinse immediately!

  1. Ask your stylist’s advice for a darker permanent dye that won’t irritate the scalp. 10 volume is the gentlest permanent developer. Higher volume/lighter colors will turn out uneven.
  2. A skin test is important, as the dye may be in contact with your scalp.
  3. Do 50/50 vinegar/warm water on the scalp for 15 minutes, rinse.
  4. Follow all product instructions, except applying to the roots immediately after mixing, when the dye is most active.

In summary:

Does dying hair kill lice? Permanent dye applied at the roots kills some lice.

Does hair color kill lice? Not if the color is temporary.

Does hair dye kill nits? No.

Hire LiceDoctors

If you are looking for an all-natural lice treatment that is 100% safe, LiceDoctors can help you. We certainly do not recommend that anyone, especially children, is exposed to hair dye or any other chemicals to eradicate a case of head lice.

LiceDoctors mobile lice treatment service will come to your home at your request. Your technician will perform lice removal at home with a safe, natural treatment protocol that works every time. There are no worries about lice removal kits filled with potentially dangerous chemicals or unproven home remedies. Your tech will come with all the lice removal tools and techniques necessary to ensure that you are lice-free.

If you find that you have head lice, leave it to the professionals. Call LiceDoctors for same-day treatment at your convenience, day or night. LiceDoctors services are reimbursable by some insurance plans and are covered by FSAs and HSAs.

In addition, LiceDoctors has the lowest-priced professional lice treatment available and the convenience and personalized service of a house call. You want the best head lice treatment for all hair, including your child’s hair and yours, whether or not it is color-treated, bleached, or natural! Call 800-224-2537 for chemical-free, fully guaranteed treatment at your convenience, 365 days and nights a year.

Still Need Help to Get Rid of Lice?

When parents ask us, “can dying hair kill lice?” they forget the nits. If the nits aren’t entirely removed, they will hatch, and the infestation will recur within weeks.

Even if you believe the bugs are all dead after dyeing your hair, now is the best time to call LiceDoctors to have the nits professionally removed, so the lice don’t come back, guaranteed!

We provide a friendly in-home lice removal service

Book your appointment today

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