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There are some common myths and misconceptions about head lice, and one of the most prevalent is that lice prefer dirty hair. In reality, lice don’t care whether their host’s hair is clean or dirty. Showering or bathing each day does not keep lice away. These tiny pests simply want a place where they can stay warm, drink blood and reproduce. 

As a matter of fact, lice often prefer clean hair to dirty hair because it’s soft, smooth and sleek. This allows them to climb up the strands of hair and onto the scalp where they can live out their life cycle. Still, people continue to believe the myth that lice prefer dirty hair, so let’s explore why this is the case. 

What Causes Head Lice to Happen? 

Washing your hair with shampoo and water is an important part of personal hygiene. But it has no effect on head lice. So, if your child’s friend gets head lice, this has no bearing on how often they’re washing.

Head lice seek out hair because they can crawl up the strands and get to the scalp. Here, they feed on blood while receiving warmth and protection. This is why anyone who has hair on their head is at risk for getting head lice. Simply showering or bathing is not going to protect you from lice. Not to mention, lice will survive shampoo and water because they can hold their breath for 8 hours!  

The most common way to get head lice is through direct contact. Knowing that lice make their living feeding off human blood, they’ll stay on the scalp or crawl onto another host. And because kids aren’t very good with their personal space, they tend to be the ones who get head lice the most. This is why lice prevention spray is important.

Do Head Lice Prefer Certain Hair Over Others? 

Lice do have a preference for some types of hair over others, only because it makes their lives easier. For example, lice like long hair because they can easily crawl onto a strand and make their way to the top of the head. Also, it appears that lice prefer people with thick, wavy hair, probably because it’s stronger and easier to climb up. And if you’ve had lice before, you’re also more likely to get it again because lice leave behind a scent that attracts new lice. 

Why Do People Think Head Lice are Dirty? 

Obviously, no one likes the idea of having bugs crawling on their head, so lice have a stigma right from the start. Also, head lice are sometimes confused for body lice, which do relate to being dirty. Body lice are tiny insects that live in your clothing and bedding and travel to your skin to drink blood. 

Body lice are typically found in dirty, unhygienic and crowded conditions. They are also known for spreading serious diseases such as typhus, trench fever and louse-borne relapsing fever. However, this is NOT the case with head lice. They do not transmit any diseases and are not a public health concern. 

If your child does come home with head lice, My Hair Helpers will help you take care of them! We have a full line of head lice prevention and treatment products that are safe to use on kids and adults of all ages! Shop for our lice treatments on our website or on Amazon where you can take advantage of family friendly pricing!