By Karen Sokoloff
Published April 10, 2017
Edited April 12, 2020
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?
Does Hair Dye Kill Head Lice?
We receive many phone calls from baffled moms asking us how is it possible that they have head lice when they recently had their hair dyed? The answer is: hair dye may kill head lice, but it does not have any effect on nits (lice eggs) in the hair. As long as there are still nits in the hair, you have an active infestation. (we will explain that soon).
Here is how hair dye can get you started on getting rid of lice, but you have to decide if it’s 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. In addition, hair color has hydrogen peroxide, which while not as strong as ammonia, will alter the consistency of the hair making it a bit more challenging for the lice claws to grab.
While the combination of these two chemicals may be instrumental in killing lice at home or in a salon, hair dye will do nothing to get rid your hair lice because you are still harboring a head full of nits.
Can Hair Dye Kill Nits
Nits have such a tough shell that the dye cannot penetrate it. In fact, no chemicals including prescription lice treatment, over-the-counter lice shampoo, home remedies, or chlorine will kill the nits because they cannot seep in to kill the baby louse inside. That means that you can use the strongest hair dye available and you will not eliminate the lice infestation.
Any nits that remain in the hair will hatch and mature and start to lay more eggs; you will have many future generations of lice within a month. Nits must be physically removed from the hair via combing and/or picking.
Does Bleach Hair Dye Kill Lice?
As mentioned, ammonia is hair bleach, and its purpose in the dyeing process is to strip the hair of color. It may kill or weaken bugs but it will do nothing to eliminate nits.
There is a myth related to hair dye and that is that 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 need only be able to climb up the hair to get to its food source, which is the blood in the head. There is nothing about dyed hair that prevents lice from attaching to the hair shaft to make the pilgrimage to the scalp.
Risks of Using Hair Dye
Hair dyes may cause toxicity or allergic reactions which includes 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. In addition, 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 finer 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 why use a product to kill 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 get rid of lice permanently, as it does not exterminate nits.
What Home Remedies Will Kill Lice
There are certainly remedies that are safer on 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 a lot on how well you do with combing and picking nits. Some people jump to using lice shampoos, both prescription lice treatments and over-the-counter lice treatment kits like Nix, Pronto, A-200, and Rid. These lice products come with a poor 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. 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.
In addition, we offer a popular LiceDoctors Peppermint Repellent Spray that has a peppermint oil-based formula used to naturally ward off head lice. The spray coats the hair making it more difficult for lice to adhere to the hair strands. Peppermint scent is used to naturally repel head lice.
If you are looking for an all-natural lice treatment that is 100% safe then LiceDoctors can help you. We certainly do not recommend that anyone, especially children, be exposed to hair dye or any other chemicals for the purpose of killing 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 that are filled with potentially dangerous chemicals or unproven home remedies. Your tech will come with all the lice removal tools and techniques that are 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 prices in the Louisville area, prices that are lower than lice salons, despite 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 502-805-1147 for chemical-free, fully guaranteed treatment at your convenience, 365 days and nights a year.