Can a hair straightener really kill nits?

Can a hair straightener really kill nits or is it just a myth? Have you or your child discovered that you have a head lice infestation? Maybe you are wondering if your daily beauty tool could kill those pesky invaders. Like many, you might want to know whether lice survive a hair straightener.

Straighteners have previously been suggested when trying to get rid of head lice, however, do hair straighteners actually kill nits or just cause a bigger issue?

Before you reach for the hot iron, is this really the best way to remove the nits from the hair?

Can a hair straightener kill lice?

Do hair straighteners kill nits? The simple answer is yes, a hair straightener kills lice. But, only if the straightener comes into direct contact with the louse. The heat from the hair straightener has the ability to kill adult lice by burning them.

When dealing with head lice, although a straightener has the potential to kill them, they can still crawl away to another strand of hair as you straighten.

Heat from straighteners and hair dryers can cause the lice to become dehydrated. It can kill head lice but not all of them. It is not the most effective way to treat head lice as you are not guaranteed to get rid of them all.

straightening hair

Can a hair straightener kill eggs?

A hair straightener kills lice eggs, but only if it is hot enough and you catch the egg with your straightener. It is not an effective way to get rid of eggs.

In most cases, a hair straightener is not left on the egg for a long enough period of time to kill them. The heat from straighteners might also not necessarily be hot enough to penetrate the eggs either.

Head lice usually lay their eggs close to the scalp which means getting them with your straightener can be a tricky way to kill lice and nits.

Attempting to kill eggs is difficult, if you miss even just a couple with your straightener they will continue their life cycle and carry on breeding in your hair.

Can head lice survive the heat?

It is true that eggs and lice cannot survive heat above 45 degrees. However, if you are using a hair straightener on a cooler temperature then the chances are the lice will survive the heat.

Whatever hot tool you are using, there will always be a chance that the lice will survive the heat. It is not always guaranteed to kill them.

Lice are used to hotter temperatures. They lay their eggs at the root of your hair and on the scalp where it is warmer for them.

What is the best way to kill lice and eggs?

The best way to kill lice and eggs is with a head lice treatment. Using a treatment that has been specifically designed to kill head lice alongside a nit comb is the ideal combination you need.

Using a nit comb will help you identify if you have gotten rid of all of the lice in the hair. It allows you to thoroughly check through for any living lice remaining.

If you prefer to use a more natural way to kill lice then essential oils such as tea tree oil have been used as home remedies for years, however, they are a much less effective way to remove lice.

Do lice like straight hair?

It has been a myth for years that head lice like straight hair. It was believed that straight hair gives the louse an opportunity to navigate more easily. However, this is not the case.

The hair type, whether that be straight, curly, wavy or coarse does not influence the louse's preference. All lice need is a strand of hair to attach themselves to. Lice can live in all types of hair.

Why we don’t recommend a hair straightener to kill head lice

When you use a hair straightener on your hair, you are putting it at risk of damage. We don’t recommend using a straightener to kill lice. It can cause unwanted heat damage and breakage to your hair. They are not worth the risk or damage caused to your hair.

Using a hair straightener to kill lice can also put you and your child at risk of getting burnt. Not only is it damaging and puts you at risk of getting burnt, but there are safer, more effective ways to get rid of head lice.

So do hair straighteners kill nits? Although a hair straightener does have the ability to be able to kill some head lice, you certainly won’t be able to reach the ones at the top of your roots or on your scalp without causing damage and burns to yourself or your child which is something that should be avoided at all cost.

Instead of choosing your straighteners to get rid of lice, opt for a professional treatment. Although it can be frustrating and sometimes embarrassing to have lice, there are ways to relieve head lice symptoms remove those itchy invaders.

Using products that have been designed to kill and remove lice is your best option. Be safe when removing lice and minimise damaging your hair.

Olivia Malone - Medical Content Writer
James O'Loan - CEO & Superintendent Pharmacist
James O'Loan , CEO & Superintendent Pharmacist on 19 September 2023
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