Does Hair Dye Kill Head Lice?

Lice are small, parasitic insects that are shockingly easy to spread. If you have lice, it can cause skin irritation and intense itching. Once lice spreads from one person to another, they start to multiple and increase. They can pass through sharing hairbrushes, sharing hats or even being close to someone who has head lice. If your child gets lice, it is important to treat them right away or it could spread to you or other people.

When it comes to treating lice, some people have wondered if there are more options than the smelly lice shampoo. Out of all the alternative options, many people have wondered if hair dye can kill the lice. Learn more by reading on.

Does Hair Dye Kill Head Lice?

The short answer to this question is yes. In some cases, hair dye and bleach can kill juvenile lice (nymphs) and adult lice. Hair dyes are notorious for being full of chemicals. These same chemicals are toxic for the lice that try to live in your hair.

Unfortunately, hair dye will not kills lice eggs (nits). Nits have strong shells that the chemicals cannot penetrate. If you try to treat your head lice with hair dye, the lice will temporarily go away. In another 7 to 10 days, your lice will return as all of these eggs start to hatch. Hair dye might be a temporary solution, but it will only work for about a week before the lice are back and worse than ever.

Making Sure That You Get Rid of All the Lice

While hair dye can kill the lice that have already hatched, it will not kill the eggs. To make sure that you do not get lice again, you have to take other steps to get rid of the nits. Use the following steps to remove your lice problem for good.

1. Destroy the Hideouts

The first step is to kill the lice where they like to hang out. Female, adult head lice like to lay their nits around your scalp, behind your ears and at the base of your hair. They may also go a bit further down the neckline behind your head. Find these hideouts and get prepared to destroy the lice.

2. Invest in Nit Glue

Nits use a glue-like substance to attach to your scalp so that they are not shaken off. To get rid of the nits, you have to break down this glue-like substance and brush them out. You can use commercial products, or you can make a 1:1 mixture of water and vinegar. Leave it on your hair for an hour, and you should make sure that you have completely doused your scalp in the solution. You can also soak your hair in the mixture completely for a more thorough treatment.

After the solution has had time to sit, use a comb to remove the glue that the nits were using to attach to your scalp. There are specific combs that can be used for this. For added killing effects, add some Listerine to your comb tips as you run it through your hair. There are also electric combs that can be used on dry hair to get rid of lice.

3. Buy Your Favorite Hair Dye

Now, it is time to do the fun part. Go to the store and find your favorite hair dye. While some hair dyes may not be quite strong enough to kill the lice, you won’t know until you have tried it. Follow the directions on the package and cover your hair completely with the hair dye. Rinse and shampoo according to the directions on the package.

Did the Hair Dye Kill Head Lice?

Once you have finished dyeing your hair, the next step is to see if it worked. While hair dye is theoretically strong enough to kill head lice, it may not always be enough. You will also want to use a lice comb after shampooing to make sure that you have removed everything.

Keep in mind that you are not done yet. Even if you have effectively removed all of the hair lice, your combs, clothes, bedding and personal items are all infected. Now, you need to put all of these items in a washing machine. Use hot water in the washer and heat in the dryer to kill the lice. The temperature has to reach 130 degrees for the lice to be effectively killed. You may also want to go through the same process in another seven days just in case you missed any of the nits.

Additional Options

1. Combing

If your child is younger than two years old, you do not want to use over-the-counter products. Most likely, you will need to use a fine-toothed comb on wet hair to comb out the lice every three to four days for several weeks. You should also talk to your child’s doctor about more options for treating their hair lice.

2. Clean Up

Every clothing item needs to be treated or the lice will return. You need to take stuffed animals, bedding, hats and towels and put them into hot water. Hot water that is over 130 degrees and soap will help to kill the lice. You will also want to dry the items on high heat for at least 20 minutes.

3. Over-The-Counter Options

If the other options do not work, you can always use over-the-counter shampoos and lotions that will kill the lice. Two of the most popular options are Rid and Nix. You can also talk to your doctor about other options that are available with a prescription if you have particularly hard to treat head lice.


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