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Which Hair Types Are More Likely To Get Head Lice?

Updated on April 12, 2017

Girl with braids - LiceDoctors

Here's the short answer: all types. Lice do not care what color or thickness your hair is, whether it has been dyed, or whether it is straight or curly. Lice only want to find a strand of hair to which they can attach so they can climb up to the scalp in order to get their food i.e. your blood. A parent in Baton Rouge, who is African American, called us to tell us that she was pretty sure that had seen a louse crawl out of her daughter's hair. She was very perplexed as she had been told that lice do not like African-American hair. In fact, this is not at all true. Hair that has been coated with hairspray, gel or hair mousse is less attractive to lice than clean hair. The reason for that is that the louse cannot adhere as easily to the strand of hair if it has a protective coating. If it can possibly claw onto the hair, it doesn't care what size, shape, or color the hair is. The reason that the incidence of head lice is relatively low among the African American population is because of the tendency to use styling gel, which acts as a repellent. In addition, hair that is styled in corn rows or braids is less accessible to the bugs. 

There are some other misconceptions about lice and hair types. Some folks think that if you have a buzz cut, you are immune to lice. Lice can affix to a buzz cut. As long as there is any hair on the head, the lice can attach to it and stay there near the warm scalp to eat their three meals a day. The longer the hair, the easier it is for the lice to find the hair and use it as a ladder to climb up to the scalp. If you were buzzed with a number one blade and there is absolutely no visible hair then you will not get lice. We have been asked about dyed hair and wigs. If someone's hair is dyed, that is irrelevant to lice. They will grab hold of dyed hair just as easily as they will hold onto hair that is not colored. If you apply hair dye to hair that is already infested with lice, it will likely kill the live lice, but will not penetrate the eggs in order to kill the baby bugs inside. With respect to wigs, lice can not live on a wig that covers the scalp; they can however climb onto the wig and if there are tiny holes on the wig, they will climb through to the scalp. Also sometimes the wigs are only partial coverings, which again will allow the lice to feed on the scalp. The bottom line is If you have hair on your head, you are a candidate for head lice. The mission of lice is to get to the scalp to get their food. If you are one of the millions of people who have head lice each year, give LiceDoctors a call in the Baton Rouge area at 225-407-9603 and we will make a house call to your home and eliminate your head lice problem today.

Woman with wig - LiceDoctors