Lice Eggs on Black Hair

Lice have a hard time sticking to curly hair. Because of this, black people and other people with this type of hair may be less likely to get head lice.

Lice are tiny bugs that live in people’s hair. They aren’t dangerous to your health, but they can make you itch and make you have trouble sleeping. Head lice are also contagious and can spread quickly between people who live or go to school together.

Some people are less likely to get head lice than others people. This article talks about how head lice affect people with curly hair who are African Americans.

Do African Americans get head lice?

Lice can still live on the heads of African Americans. But according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), African Americans get head lice much less often than other people. This may be because most head lice in the United States have claws that make it easier for them to hold onto uncoiling hair.

The number of African Americans who have it

A 2018 article in the British Journal of Family Medicine says that African Americans are less likely than other people to get head lice. Researchers think this is because of how most head lice’s claws are shaped and how wide and round the hair shaft is in coiled hair.

In oily hair, the hair shaft has an oval cross-section, but in most other hair types, the hair shaft is round. Lice find it easier to hold on to hair shafts that are round.

The researchers also say that using hair oils could also be a factor. For example, petroleum jelly makes hair smoother and less brittle, which makes it harder for head lice to stick to. Research has shown that African American women are more likely than other women to use more hair products and to start using them at a younger age.

People of Caucasian, Hispanic, and Asian American descent seem to get head lice more often than people of African American descent. For instance, less than 0.5 percent of African American schoolchildren get head lice, while about 10 percent of schoolchildren of other races do.

According to reliable research from 2012, some head lice have learned to live in curly hair. Head lice were found in Senegal, Burundi, Rwanda, and Ethiopia, which are all in Africa.

Curly hair can be a sign of head lice.

Head lice can be seen and felt in the following ways:

  • There are black or grey insects that are about 2–3 millimeters long (mm).
  • Trusted Source: long with six clawed legs; an itchy or tickling feeling in the hair; feeling or seeing movement in the hair, like crawling but not hopping or flying; trouble sleeping because head lice are most active at night; sores on the head from scratching, which could lead to an infection.

People can also look for signs that there are eggs on the head. On dark hair, the empty egg shells may be easier to spot than the lice, which are usually white. Usually, the eggs are within 4 mm of the scalp and are about 0.8 mm by 0.3 mm.

How to Determine If You Have Lice

Lice can be looked for in the following places:

  • the neckline at the back of the head and the scalp and crown of the head around and behind the ears

How to Get Rid of Lice If You Have Curly Hair

No matter what kind of hair you have, the steps to get rid of head lice are mostly the same.

Before treatment, people with hair extensions, wigs, or hairpieces will need to take them off. Then, they can find a place with good lighting and get rid of head lice by:

  • wetting the hair and dividing it into sections, then applying a lice treatment or home remedy, such as coconut oil.
  • Moving a louse comb through the hair in sections to get rid of head lice and their eggs Trusted Source
    rinsing out any extra product from the hair with a shower head or running tap, checking for head lice on everyone else in the house to stop it from spreading,

After 8–12 hours, the hair should be checked again, and it shouldn’t be washed again for at least 2 days. It is important to keep going through the hair with the comb once a day to get rid of any dead lice.

If home remedies don’t work, people may need to see a doctor or nurse.

The American Academy of Dermatology Association recommends the following hair care tips for African Americans:

  • Once a week or every other week, use conditioner when you wash your hair. Twice a month, use a hot oil treatment to coat the ends of your hair and use a heat-protecting product on wet hair before styling it.
  • Using a ceramic or iron comb to press hair will help make sure that braids, cornrows, and weaves are not too tight.


Head lice are less common in African Americans than in other people. This is probably because head lice have a hard time getting a hold of curly hair. African Americans can still get head lice, though, so they should keep looking for the problem.

Head lice can happen to anyone, no matter what kind of hair they have. Head lice can spread from one person to another, so it’s important to check everyone in the house. If treatments for head lice don’t work, a person should talk to a doctor.


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