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When Hair DYE doesn’t say DIE to Head Lice


Updated on June 25, 2020

By Karen Keavey.

Hair dye is a style statement but it won’t solve your head lice problems. This blog will help you understand why.

Yup, it’s all the rage: pink, orange, blue, green or just covering up those grays. Dying your hair is super cool these days (or for those slightly older moms, just preferred wink), but if you use hair dye, does it kill the bugs and stop the cycle of lice?

Unfortunately, and ultimately, no. While dye might off a few of the critters, know that coloring your hair does nothing to stop the life cycle of bug birth and death. To stop the life cycle, the dye would need to penetrate the shell o f the nits, which it does not do.

Hair Dye Will NOT Seep Through the Hard Shell that Protects the Baby Louse

The total eradication of lice necessitates eliminating not only the baby and adult bugs but their eggs (nits). This means that there needs to be something in the dye that can penetrate the shell of the nit before it hatches. You need to target the neurological system of the baby louse (nymph) growing inside the egg in order to kill that bug But, because the dye cannot penetrate the shell, (ammonia, the active ingredient in hair dye, does not do so) the growing and hatching of the nymph continues.

Lice Continue to Evolve and Become Even More Resistant to Chemicals


In this picture, you can see some bugs particularly on the left side of the photo. You can see that the bugs and nits are covered with hair dye. The bugs would still be viable if left in the hair, meaning that the hair dye did not kill them. Both the baby and adult lice continue to develop immunities to chemicals of all sorts, including those in hair dye. Lice mutate over time, like all creatures, as a form of adaptation and as a survival mechanism. Consider that lice have survived for hundreds of thousands of years. They are not about to let something like hair dye be an existential threat!

So, while coloring your hair might kill “some” of the adults or nymphs (baby lice) on your head, it will not kill all or even most. Regardless, the impenetrable nits continue to incubate and hatch, so the cycle continues, and more bugs are born, lay eggs, etc.

To Stop the Life Cycle, Nits Must Be Removed

There is a natural glue-like substance that adheres the nits to the hair strands. waukesha-new-berlin-lice-treatment-nits-eggs-hairSince nothing penetrates the shell of the nit, for any kind of chemical to be effective against lice, it would need to be able to detach the nit from the strand or dissolve the substance. If that were the case, the nit would fall off the hair and would no longer be viable. Hair dye can not do this. In fact, no chemical can. Just one more reason why you can’t get these creatures out of your head. Literally.

One of the Most Severe Cases We Have Treated was a Hair Dresser

This poor women had thousands upon thousands of bugs and nits in her hair. Since she had easy access to hair dye and the know-how, she had dyed her hair every couple of weeks over the course of the past year, which is how long we estimate that she had been brewing this case. When we treated her, her hair was blue. She had not realized that she had lice, and since some people have no itching or other symptoms, she was unaware of her situation. Her case continued to worsen over the months despite the fact that she had dyed it several times. She finally realized that she had lice, when she was looking in the mirror and saw a louse crawl off her scalp. We have seen many cases of dyed hair over the years and we can unequivocally state that hair dye does not kill lice.


So, go crazy; go orange, blue, purple, grey or blonde. But don’t expect lice to go away by dying your hair. For a guaranteed, safe way to put your lice problems behind you, call LiceDoctors at 262-923-8340 in Waukesha and New Berlin and all nearby towns and cities. LiceDoctors services are reimbursable by some insurance plans and are covered by FSAs and HSAs. In addition, LiceDoctors has the lowest pricing in the Milwaukee area. Call for chemical-free, fully guaranteed treatment at your convenience, 365 days and nights a year.