Does Hair Dye Kill Lice? Alternative Remedies To Treat These Parasites

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Does hair dye kill lice? What are the alternative methods that we can use for getting rid of a head lice infestation? What are the home remedies that do work for killing head lice?

The internet is flooded with questions regarding head lice treatment. In this post, we strive to give you more information about how to treat lice infestation, is hair drying an effective method to kill lice and some other home remedies that can curb head lice.

After getting your hair treated with color, it does give you an alluring look but also leaves your scalp with powerful stuff. Can lice survive this kind of barrage? It seems like hair dyes might do this trick, but does it actually?

What Is Lice Infestation?

“Your child has head lice.”

This is a statement that causes terror into the hearts of mothers. Yes, it’s a state of panic for most of us. And then the lice spread to all family members and they are seen scratching out their wits all day long.

Lice are annoying monsters that make our heads feel itchy and leave it irritated. These small parasites feed on the blood from the scalp and lead to the infestation. They are around the size of a sesame seed and range in color from translucent white to brown. They are hard to get rid of as they have evolved and become resistant to the popular OTC lice medications available. They can survive for up to 30 days on the scalp and lay three to five white-colored eggs per day. Lice eggs are called eggs and they are trouble makers and difficult to get rid of.

Over 16.6% of Indian children are affected by lice infestation.

So it’s natural that people look out for lice treatments. We are here to save you the time to surf through hundreds of pages on the net. Read till the end and get rid of these creepy insects.

head lice
Image courtesy: Health Link BC

Does Hair Color Really Work?

There have been no studies or scientific evidence to prove that hair dye kill lice. For those who like to use well researched and proven methods, it might seem tacky that dying your hair can help you get rid of these tiny monsters. However, there is widespread anecdotal evidence that suggests the use of hair dye to eliminate head lice.

Hair dyes that contain hydrogen peroxide and ammonia are effective to kill lice. However, they don’t seem to effects nits (lice eggs).

hair-dye-kills lice
Image courtesy: Medical News Today

How Does Hair Dye Kill Lice?

Permanent hair dye contains harsh chemicals like ammonia and hydrogen peroxide. Ammonia is an alkaline corrosive compound that releases an irritating gas that may kill adult lice. Permanent dye solutions may have hydrogen peroxide which may also have similar effects. However, nits are enclosed in a hard protective shell. These chemicals are unable to penetrate this shell, not they can detach the natural glue-like substance that attaches their shells to your hair. Thus it makes the dye ineffective for nits before they hatch.

Hair dyes also contain alcohol which tends to dry the hair shafts. Lice move out of dry hair as they like to breed in a moist environment.

Want To Kill Lice Using Hair Color?

Follow These Steps:

If you want to try to kill lice using hair dye here is what you must do. Follow the procedure listed below every week until all lice and nits are eliminated from your hair.

  • A mix of various lice removal techniques will help in killing them completely. Using vinegar and hair combing techniques together can prove helpful to treat a lice infestation.
  • Mix vinegar and water in equal proportions and saturate your scalp with this mixture. Apply it all around your nape and ears and ensure each strand is soaked in the solution. Let it rest for 5 to 15 minutes. If you experience a burning sensation, wash it off immediately.
  • Rinse your hair with warm water until all the solution is washed out.
  • Using a lice comb remove nits and live lice from your hair. Clean your comb thoroughly and soak it in very hot water.
  • Now it’s time to color your hair. Make your hair dye in a well-ventilated room.
  • Apply hair color all over your scalp; make sure you soak all the strands well in the dye concentrating behind the ears and base of the neck. Let it rest for a few minutes.
  • Rinse the dye off your hair thoroughly.
  • Comb your hair with a lice comb again. This step will help in the removal of the remaining lice.
  • Blow-dry your hair to kill some more lice.

This process is effective only for 7 days until the nits hatch into new live parasites. Repeat this process for a couple of weeks till you get rid of lice.

Color-treated hair doesn’t repel lice. Thus if you come in contact with head lice again there is a fair chance you may become infected again.

hair lice removal
Image courtesy: Pediatric Hair Solutions

Is It Okay To Use Hair Dye To Treat Lice?

Though there is no scientific evidence, many people have tried and tested the use of hair dye for killing lice. It’s not a long term solution but you must consider the following points:

Refrain Using Hair Dye For Children’s Hair

Children are more commonly affected by lice than adults. But, you must avoid using hair color for kids. The harsh chemicals in hair dyes may harm your child’s hair, may cause skin irritation or lead to hair fall.

Allergic Reaction To Different Dyes

Hair dyes contain various chemicals that can cause allergic reactions or skin sensitization. We recommend a patch test before you use any hair dye.

Costly And Time-Consuming Process

Coloring hair every 7 days may be a time-consuming process. The harsh chemical might adversely affect your hair in four weeks. Thus you might have to use more expensive products to shave off your hair. You will have to do everything yourself as many salons forbid lice laden hair.

Change In Your Look

Treating your hair with dye can change your look completely. If you want to get rid of lice you’ll require permanent hair colors which will take longer to return to your natural hair color. So make sure which tint you choose before opting for this treatment.

Side Effects Of Frequent Hair Coloring

By the time you completely get rid of the tiny parasites, you might require to dye your hair 3-4 times in a month. In the end, you’re bound to kill all nits but at the cost of destroying the hair. Dyes cause skin irritation, burning, redness or hives when it comes in contact with your skin. It may also lead to dryness and hair loss.

Safety Precautions To Consider

We have seen the side effects of using hair dye. These may become severe if you use these products more than intended. Here are some safety measures you must take while handling hair dye:

  • Wear disposable gloves that come with the product to protect your hands from the adverse effects of these dyes.
  • Make sure not to touch your eyes, nose or mouth while coloring your hair to avoid burning sensation.
  • Avoid inhaling fumes expelled by chemicals in the dye. This means you must color your hair in a well-ventilated space only.
  • Don’t use dyes as lice removal treatment for children as they are more susceptible to chemical reactions affecting the airways, scalp, hair, eyes, and nose.

Other Lice Treatments

Many lice treatments may benefit you. Choose a combination of the ones that suit you best. All the home remedies for lice require manual removal with a fine-toothed lice comb.

Let’s look at some common lice removal treatments below:

  • OTC lice eliminating shampoos and kits like Medicare and Nix. Check with your doctor before you use any of these and follow package directions for safety.
  • Use coconut or olive oil. It is natural and non-toxic oil. Mix it with vinegar for best results.
  • Coat the scalp with mayonnaise to suffocate the lice. Make a mayo hair mask and apply evenly on your scalp. Leave the mask on the hair for 24 hours under a shower cap. You may consider braiding your hair or pinning it up for better results.
  • Essential oils are toxic and may help to kill lice. Lavender, peppermint, rosemary, thyme, neem, tea tree, or eucalyptus oil can be used. Dilute the essential oil with a carrier oil before use. Never ingest them.
  • Shave your hair. This is the best remedy, but don’t rush into it until you try other remedies.
mayonnaise hair mask
Image courtesy: LeafTV

Would you try to kill lice with hair dye?

Consider the facts and safety measures before you opt for this technique. Continue to watch for remaining lice and repeat the treatment as required.