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A common question we hear from customers is whether or not African Americans can get head lice. While lice are less common in this population, Black Americans can still get lice. Lice do not discriminate and can affect anyone with hair – babies, kids, teens and adults. They have nothing to do with your ethnicity, where you live or how often you shower. Lice are contagious and only need ¼” of hair to lay eggs on. 

Why Do Black Americans Get Lice Less Often? 

While Black Americans do get head lice, it’s far less often than other ethnicities. This is believed to be the case because African American hair is shaped differently, and lice have a harder time grasping their hooks into this type of hair shaft. But this isn’t the only reason. 

Many African American boys shave their heads, immediately remedying the problem. The girls often straighten their hair and use a lot of oil, which prevents and kills off lice, too. In general, lice prefer straight, clean hair with no product because it’s easier to crawl up. 

Head Lice Do Not Discriminate – Black Americans Can Get Them, Too 

It’s important to know that Black Americans can get head lice just like anyone else, even though the incidence is lower. Nevertheless, being aware of this encourages all families to watch for head lice and know how to treat them if a louse or eggs are found. 

For example, if a letter is sent home from your child’s school or daycare stating a lice problem, you’ll want to check your child for lice, regardless of their ethnicity. Here are the steps to take: 

  • Part the hair into sections. It’s easiest to do this after your child’s bath when their hair is wet. 
  • Comb through the hair using a fine-toothed comb like this one from My Hair Helpers. It features steel teeth that can get through thick, coarse hair. 
  • Wipe the comb onto a paper towel and look for lice and nits. Lice and nits are generally difficult to comb out, while dirt or dandruff is not. 

Best Treatments for Head Lice in Black Americans 

If your child does have lice or nits, they will benefit from the same treatments as everyone else. We do not recommend over-the-counter products, as lice have grown increasingly resistant to the ingredients. Plus, they often contain toxic chemicals that are not good for a young child’s health.

Instead, choose an all-natural, non-toxic product like the ones from My Hair Helpers. Our products contain no harsh ingredients and are safe for all ages. But, don’t underestimate their efficacy, as our products are guaranteed to work on all hair types or your money back. 

If you live locally in Southern California, we have a salon and mobile service that will do the work for you. We have treated Black children in the past, and while they’re not the main group to get head lice, it does happen. 

Additionally, we recommend taking a few extra precautions to protect your child going forward. Keep the hair tied back, use a lice repellent spray to detract lice and teach your child not to share belongings like hats, scarves, brushes and hair accessories. 

Final Words of Advice 

If you were raised to think that Black children cannot get head lice, now you know this isn’t the case. It is possible to get lice, so you’ll want to take the proper steps to protect your child if there is an outbreak in their school or daycare. For more information on treating lice, visit the Resources Page on My Hair Helpers.