Does Hair Dye Kill Lice?

Any parent of children that have reached nursery or school age will know the frustration of dealing with head lice. Among all the treatments available, some people think about dying their hair. But does hair dye kill lice?

What many people are unaware of is that head lice can quite happily live on adult heads too. The reason head lice is more common in children is that as they play their heads frequently touch, allowing for the passage between carriers. For this reason the transmission of head lice from child to parent is easy too, as there is usually plenty of close contact.



An interesting discovery is that hair dye can be effective against head lice infestations. Whilst we are not suggesting you dye your child’s hair, if you regularly dye your hair as an adult, you may wish to use this approach instead of the traditional lotion and comb approach. Can hair dye kill lice? Yes, it can, but we should add that hair dye is not a clinically proven treatment; it is simply a home remedy which appears to be effective in many cases.

For example, neutral henna is a great natural hair dye, although you should be careful to use high quality products to avoid unwanted discoloration associated with cheaper brands. The quality neutral henna products will not only kill and remove head lice, but also can be very effective for dandruff treatment and is even believed to strengthen hair.



Permanent hair dye can also kill off the head lice lurking near your scalp, although there are a lot of reports that the dye only succeeded in removing most lice from the head, and some survived. This may be a good initial course of action for particularly bad outbreaks, where the head has a very large number of head lice and eggs living there. Also, bear in mind that some permanent hair dye products contain derivatives of aspirin, so it’s crucial these are not used on children’s hair. Aspirin can cause extreme and dangerous side effects in children, so stick to medically approved remedies if the sufferer is not an adult.

When treating any scalp that is infested with head lice and eggs, pay particular attention to any remaining eggs after treatment. Get a nit comb, which is a special type of comb, made up of metal teeth with very small gaps between. The idea is that the comb can separate the lice and nits from the hair. Make sure to comb all live adults and all live eggs out.

It is very common for sufferers to believe they have successfully eradicated lice, because they can see no remaining live lice. As you might imagine, in a matter of hours or days, any remaining eggs will begin to hatch and the lice will return, quickly gaining in number and meaning you will have to start treatment all over again.

Will hair dye kill lice? Yes, it will in some cases, but you should keep in mind that not all dyes will work, and some people may find more success than others. As with all home remedies, you should seek professional assistance from your healthcare provider if problems persist, or appear to get worse.


{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Megan December 23, 2012

very good story

WorriedSis November 1, 2013

Thank you very helpful

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