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Doctor insights on: What Is Difference Between Nits Dandruff

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My son looks like he has dandruff but the dandruff won't wash off. Are they nits?

My son looks like he has dandruff but the dandruff won't wash off.  Are they nits?

Possibly: Dandruff is flakes of skin, so should wash off. If it does not, it certainly can be nits, as these are the egg casings of head lice and are glued to the hair shaft. If his head itches, or other signs of irritation, it should be checked out. Headlice are very infectious! ...Read more

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Dandruff (Definition)

Dandruff is when dead skin cells from the scalp shed. As skin cells die a small amount of flaking is normal. Some people experience an unusually large amount of flaking either chronically or as a ...Read more


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What could cause scalp sores if there is no head lice or dandruff?

What could cause scalp sores if there is no head lice or dandruff?

Fungal Infections: One of the most common causes for scalp sores are ring worm on scalp otherwise called Tinea capitus. Bacterial infections can also cause sores on the scalp ...Read more

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I have problem with head lice and dandruff. Is there any medicine for lice nits?

I have problem with head lice and dandruff. Is there any medicine for lice nits?

Vinegar may help: Vinegar has been cited as a natural rx for head lice when applied to dry hair ; massaged through it daily for a week. It does loosen the nits (egg casings) which should be combed out to prevent re-infection. Pickling vinegar or apple cider vinegar may work a bit faster than regular ; you can always fall back on the otc products if this fails. ...Read more

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We have treated my hair so many times for lice. The bugs look like lice but what else could it be? I can't tell if I have nits or dandruff

We have treated my hair so many times for lice. The bugs look like lice but what else could it be? I can't tell if I have nits or dandruff

Dandruff flakes off: Dandruff flakes off easily while nits are essentially "glued" to the hair shaft and are difficult to remove. Very important to treat entire household with a lice shampoo (Nix, Rid, etc) and to launder all bedding incl pillows, mattress covers, sheets, etc. in very hot water (120 degrees). Use "nit comb" to remove all nits from hair, be diligent, repeat until nits gone. ...Read more

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What is the difference between dandruff and dry skin?

What is the difference between dandruff and dry skin?

They can look alike: They can look the same on the scalp, however there can be subtle differences. Dry skin would tend to be over the entire scalp and can worsen with use of a medicated shampoo. Gentle shampoos and less frequent washing are better for dry scalp. Dandruff is usually from psoriasis or seborrheic dermatitis on the scalp, often with thicker, larger scales, redness, itching. Medicated shampoos often help. ...Read more

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How can I know the difference between lice and dandruff?

Nits vs dandruff: Nits are louse eggs. Nits can be white, yellow, tan to gray depending on if the nit has hatched, if it is dead or what stage of development it is in. After hatching the shell may be wrinkled and yellow or white. Nits adhere to hairs, unlike dandruff. ...Read more

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Whats the difference between scalp psoriasis and dandruff?

Whats the difference between scalp psoriasis and dandruff?

See below.: They are quite different diseases, but the cause of both remains unknown. Typical dandruff is known as seborrheic dermatitis. Both diseases can both cause scaly scalp, but psoriasis tends to be more inflammatory, maybe some larger scale and more discrete lesions. Sometimes easy to tell apart by looking at the rest of the skin. ...Read more

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How can you feel the difference between white piedra and dandruff on the scalp and what foods can I eat to stop my hair from coming out daily?

How can you feel the difference between white piedra and dandruff on the scalp and what foods can I eat to stop my hair from coming out daily?

Dandruff Vrs Piedra: White piedra is a superficial cosmetic fungal infection of the hair shaft caused by Trichosporon beigelii. Dandruff, however, affects the scalp and not the hair shaft and is caused by malassezia. ...Read more

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How can I tell the difference between dandruff and seborrheic dermatitis? Is there any harm in using sd shampoo if it's only dandruff?

How can I tell the difference between dandruff and seborrheic dermatitis? Is there any harm in using sd shampoo if it's only dandruff?

Pretty much the same: Dandruff (seborrhea) is common. Shampoos with zinc, salicylic acid, selenium, or coal tar are sold in many stores. Nizoral shampoo (contains anti-fungal) is also available. Doctors may also recommend cortisone or kenalog (triamcinolone) sprays. Prevent dryness (don't wash hair too often). A primary doctor or dermatologist can look for psoriasis, eczema, or fungal infections if unusual or worrisome scalp symptoms. ...Read more

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What is the difference between dandruff ahd seborrheic dermatitis? I have large flakes in certain areas of my scalp, especially around the edges.

Same: dandruff refersto the flaking part of seborrhea ( Oily scalp condition) and seborrheic drmatitis is seborrhea with skin ( scalp) inflammation. Easily treated with most oTC dandruff meds. ...Read more

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How do I tell the difference between DHT crystals and hardened sebum. Rapid hair thin/loss in two months. Shrugged off as dandruff/telogen effluvium.

How do I tell the difference between DHT crystals and hardened sebum. Rapid hair thin/loss in two months. Shrugged off as dandruff/telogen effluvium.

You can't ??: DHT (dihydrotestosterone) seems to play a significant role in the development of androgenic alopecia, but it would be very difficult to identify it, or to separate it from sebum, a surface skin layer of dead skin cells & debris. DHT is probably mixed in with the sebum. Oral medications such as finasteride can inhibit DHT/only approved for males. Topicals/shampoos benefit unsubstantiated. ...Read more

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What is the difference between a nit, a nymph and an adult louse?

What is the difference between a nit, a nymph and an adult louse?

Life cycle: The nits are the eggs of the louse. The eggs hatch in 8 days releasing nymphs that require 8 days to mature to lice. ...Read more

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When dealing with dandruff, what is a best solution for an OTC medicated shampoo, one with Salicylic Acid or Coal Tar? What are notable differences?

When dealing with dandruff, what is a best solution for an OTC medicated shampoo, one with Salicylic Acid or Coal Tar? What are notable differences?

Varies: different people find different things work on regular dandruff. (You didn't mention selenium... one of the milder ones). OTC Salicylate AND/or COAL TAR are pretty harsh. generally we go with milder and work up. If there is eczema (red itching rash) elsewhere, an anti-inflammatory is a better direction to go. ...Read more

Dr. Heidi Fowler
212 doctors shared insights

Head Lice (Definition)

Also known as pediculus humanus capitis, these are tiny parasites that feed on the scalp. Head lice is very contagious and the most common method of transmission ...Read more