Do African Americans Get Head Lice?

Do African Americans Get Head Lice?

African Americans and Head Lice - Answers to All Your Lice Questions! 


In This Article:


Can African Americans Get Head Lice?

While you may have heard before that black people don’t get head lice, this is unfortunately not a true statement. All people, no matter their race, ethnicity, gender, or age, are susceptible to getting lice. The only demographic immune to lice are people with no hair! So, when pondering can African Americans get lice, just remember that if a person has hair, then yes, they can get lice.

There are three different types of lice that humans are vulnerable to - head lice, body lice, and pubic lice. These three kinds of lice are actually three species of lice that exclusively affect different areas of the body. Today, in this article, we are solely going to discuss head lice. 


Do Black People Get Lice?

It goes without saying, but we’ll say it anyway — African Americans can get head lice, and do get head lice. In fact, it’s one of the most searched for questions on Google: Do black people get lice? Although there are a lot of myths and misconceptions out there, luckily, there’s plenty of research and data too - all of which verifies that yes, black people and people from all other races and ethnicities do get head lice.

That being said, African Americans are significantly less prone to getting head lice due to their beautiful and wonderfully textured hair. The texture of their hair makes it more difficult for lice to adhere to the hair shaft.

Do black kids get lice? Yes. Do black parents get lice? Yes. Although the incidence of getting lice is lower than that in other demographics, it is still a genuine possibility. Here at Lice Choice, we have treated numerous African American children and adults, including mixed races. Our signature Lice Choice products are effective at getting rid of lice in African American hair— quickly and safely!


How Can Black People Get Head Lice?

How can black people get head lice? The same way as every other person. Head lice are most commonly transmitted by direct head-to-head contact with a person who is already infested with lice. This is most common among children, during sleepovers or while playing at school, participating in sports, or attending camps. Children are much more physically playful than adults, and head-to-head contact happens more frequently on the playground than nearly anywhere else.

While it is less common, lice can be transmitted through sharing clothing, towels, brushes, or combs with a person who has lice.

Lice cannot jump; they lack the hind legs to make the physical act of “jumping” possible and they cannot fly because they don’t have wings. Since lice cannot jump or fly, they are limited to crawling. Lice must crawl from one person’s head to another, or from a shared item. Since lice need the warmth of a human head to survive, and the blood is drawn from the human scalp as sustenance, it is very uncommon for a louse to leave a person's head in favor of a hat, scarf, or towel. Moreover, lice and their eggs (nits) will die if they are without a human host. Head lice can only survive up to 36 hours without feeding on a human’s scalp. Nits will perish within a week, but if they are not on a human scalp, they generally cannot reach a warm enough temperature to hatch.

Surely, lice must be drawn out easily by a brush or comb? Unfortunately, lice have claws with tiny hooks, which means they adhere to hair like glue. You’ll need to use our signature Lice Choice Nit Terminator Comb to successfully get lice out of hair. Any other regular comb or brush is quite useless against lice.


How Many Black People Get Lice?

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) reports that an estimated 6 to 12 million lice infestations occur each year in children aged 3 to 11 years old in the United States. The CDC also states that "infestation with head lice is much less common among African-Americans than among persons of other races. The head louse found most frequently in the United States may have claws that are better adapted for grasping the shape and width of some types of hair but not others.”

The most reputable sources out there attest that African Americans do get head lice, although less frequently given the particular nature of black people’s hair paired with the anatomy of head lice’s claws.

Why Do Lice Not Prefer Black Hair?

The head lice found in the United States are anatomically different from lice found in other parts of the world. There is photographic evidence presented from a research study by the National Center of Biotechnology Information.

As previously mentioned, the North American head louse has six legs (also called grasping appendages), each of which has a claw. For the sake of creating a mental image, picture something that looks like a cross between a cat claw and a lobster claw.

These tarsal claws have mutated over time to be optimized for grasping the hair shafts that they most commonly encounter. Unfortunately, lice are master mutators. In fact, in recent years, head lice have mutated from regular head lice into Super Lice. Super Lice have developed one huge, new superpower— genetic resistance to over-the-counter lice treatments. Given our unique Lice Choice formula that utilizes lice and Super Lice’s own digestive enzymes, it is impossible for lice to develop resistance to our products. Our formula uses their own DNA against them!

However, to circle back to lice claws, the North American head louse has genetically adapted to live on scalps with a particular type of hair. Lice find it harder to adhere to black hair as it is coarse, textured, and has a differently shaped hair-shaft. However, it is not impossible for lice to make their way into black hair and successfully nest there. As evidence of lice in African American hair, please refer to the photos below of what head lice in African American hair look like.

Of course, it’s important to note that race, ethnicity, and hair type are not mutually exclusive; there are plenty of black people with straight hair, and white people with coarse and curly hair. Just as there is diversity in people, there is diversity in hair type! It is entirely possible for lice to make a home in any and all hair types.


How To Treat Head Lice in African American Heads

While there are many products out there that promise to get rid of lice, they may be rendered utterly ineffective against Super Lice, as we’ve mentioned. Super Lice are a real problem and a big problem! In fact, a 2016 study published in the Journal of Medical Entomology documented that head lice in 48 states were treatment-resistant to over-the-counter lice treatment products.

Since Super Lice are on the rise in America, and chemical and pesticide products contain a laundry list of harmful ingredients (including carcinogens), you’re going to need a safe and effective lice treatment option. Lice Choice to the rescue! All our products are all-natural, non-toxic, and pesticide-free, and have proven results in the eradication of lice in black hair and in all hair types. Best of all, our products come with a 100% satisfaction guarantee policy. You’re guaranteed to love our product. We believe it 100%. And soon, you will too!

How Do Black People Get Rid of Head Lice?

To get rid of head lice in black hair, the first step is prevention. Talk to your child about not sharing items that touch people’s heads, like hats and towels. Also, ask your child to keep their clothes away from shared areas like coat closets. Lastly, talk to your child about direct head-to-head contact activities and explain the risks of contracting lice that way. Parents, the same rules apply to you!

Of course, talking about reducing possibilities for getting lice doesn’t mean you won’t get lice. So, let’s cover how to get rid of lice in African American hair.

Follow our handy step-by-step guide on how to get lice out of black hair using Lice Choice Head Lice Treatment Spray and the Lice Choice Nit Terminator Comb. Lice Choice is your best defense - and offense - to purge your heads and homes of lice!


How To Get Lice Out Of Black Hair Step-By-Step Guide:

  • Wash hair as normal. Dry hair (it can still be slightly damp but not dripping wet).
  • Do not put any hair styling products (gels, oils, etc.) in hair.
  • Spray Lice Choice Head Spray all over the head until it is completely saturated, from the scalp to the ends. If you leave any dry spots, the bugs will find them and hide out there.
  • Divide the hair into small sections by parting the hair down the middle, then divide each half into two sections, using metal clips to secure each section - or braid the hair into a few sections if possible.
  • Start from the bottom of each section and work your way to the top with the Nit Terminator Comb, using more clips as needed to ensure the hair you haven’t worked through yet is kept separate and secured. Note: each layer of hair needs to be thin enough that you can see through it or you will risk leaving nits and bugs behind.
  • Insert the Nit Terminator comb so it is right up against the scalp, then pull the comb all the way through to the end of the hair. Repeat on each section two times in a row.
  • Wipe the comb on a white paper towel after combing each small section of hair to remove nits and lice that have already been pulled out of the hair.
  • Continue to work your way around the entire head, section by section.

Important Tips About How To Successfully Treat Black Hair For Lice

  • If the hair starts to dry out, respray each section of hair with Lice Choice Spray. The hair needs to stay saturated during the entire
  • After treating and combing, leave the solution in the hair for 24 hours to get the added benefit of having a protective layer in the hair.
  • Re-treat every four days.
  • If you complete a treatment and do not see a single nit or louse on the paper towel during treatment, wait four more days and do one last treatment to be sure you didn’t miss anything.
  • When two treatments in a row have not shown any lice or nits present, you can stop lice treatment.
  • If you have purchased our magnifying goggles (which we highly recommend), wear them during the entire treatment so you don’t miss a single nit or louse! Nits and lice are tiny, so magnifying goggles can be a game-changer.

How To Get Lice Out of Afros

Luckily, the best way to get lice out of afros is by following the steps outlined above! Most afro-styled hair can be divided into sections and can, therefore, be treated following the previously outlined steps. If the Afro is so thick that it is impossible to divide the hair into small sections where you can see the scalp and work a nit comb through it, then, unfortunately, shaving might be the only option to guarantee eradication of lice.


How To Get Lice Out of Dreadlocks

We’re sorry to say that getting lice out of dreadlocks is impossible, since lice and nits burrow inside the dreadlocks, making them inaccessible to combing and removal. The only way to successfully get lice out of dreadlocks is to shave the head and start fresh. While growing the hair out again takes time, we’re sorry to report that this is the only way to remove lice from dreadlocks.

How To Get Lice Out of Hair Extensions 

Lice can crawl on synthetic hair, as it mimics natural hair. The best way to get lice out of hair extensions is to remove the hair extensions and place them in an air-tight bag or container for at least 72 hours - but 7 days is best to ensure all the lice eggs have perished.

Most lice treatments can damage extensions. We haven't done extensive testing on the effect of our Lice Choice Spray on extensions, so it's not worth the risk of possibly damaging your extensions. Thus, removing them prior to treatment is the best option. Furthermore, our Nit-Terminator comb, and other nit removal combs, cannot be pulled easily through extensions.

Final Thoughts on African Americans and Lice

Hopefully, we have thoroughly answered all your questions about lice in African American hair. If you have a question that we haven’t answered, don’t hesitate to reach out to us! Here at Lice Choice, our top priority is taking care of you and your family when lice show up in your home. We are a family, and when you choose Lice Choice, you become part of our family, too. We’re here for you every step of the way.


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