Can Lice Make Your Hair Fall Out? Understanding the Impact

Written by Our Editorial Team
Last updated

Head lice infestations are uncomfortable enough, but many wonder if their feeding and nesting can also contribute to excess shedding or hair thinning over time.

Can lice make your hair fall out?

While lice themselves do not feed on hair or scalp tissues directly leading to permanent loss, severe or long-term infestations may in rare cases trigger temporary increased shedding.

Itchy Scalp Response

Lice stimulate an inflammatory immune response through biting to feed on scalp blood. Chronic scratching induced by itching can physically damage follicles over weeks/months.

Trichophagy Myth

"Hair-eating" is a myth - lice survival depends on blood-feeding, not consuming hair. However, their waste products and glues used in nest-building can disturb the scalp surface.

Telogen Effluvium Link

Prolonged irritation signals resting hairs to prematurely shed in a temporary telogen effluvium that resolves once lice are fully eliminated.

Dandruff Complications

Lice activate seborrheic dermatitis dandruff flares that exacerbate itch/scratch cycles. Treating underlying causes curbs excess loss risks.

Prevention is Key

With diligent combing, washing and sprays, shedding potential is low. ButNeglecting treatment enables infestations capable of sparking diffuse scalp issues and mild temporary shedding.

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