Can you Get Lice in your Beard

If you are wondering whether head lice can infect facial hair. I did some digging to find out.

Here is what I found out.

Can you get lice in your beard? Yes, you can get lice in your facial hair. The type of lice that infects beards is known as crab lice. Can you get head lice in your beard, Head Lice thrive in thick hair and most facial hair is coarse and patchy making it hard for head lice to thrive in your beard for long. Crab lice prefer coarse hair as compared head lice.

Types of lice 

Head lice: What are head lice and why can’t they live in the beard?

Head lice are described as small insects that infest the head and live on sucking blood from the human scalp. Pediculosis capitis is an investigation of the head with head lice.

Pediculosis capitis is not a sign of unhygienic conditions. Additionally, head lice cannot transfer bacterial and viral diseases or infections.

As mentioned above, head lice thrive on the scalp where they suck blood from the scalp. Given, that scalp hair is dense and thick it makes it easier for head lice to thrive.

On the other hand, facial hair are coarse, most are not patchy making it hard for the head lice to thrive for long in the beard.

Head lice can easily be treated with over the counter medications. 

Pubic lice: eyelashes, eyebrows, beard and mustache lice

Now that we have already established that head lice cannot thrive in your facial hair for long. Which form of lice can infect your facial hair? The crab lice are the one type of lice that can thrive in other hairs in the body apart from your scalp.

Just like head lice which only thrives in the scalp, crab lice thrive in other hair types apart from the scalp hair which is coarser as compared to scalp hair.

Body lice

These types of lice are common in overpopulated areas. Body lice attach themselves to the seams of the cloths, they transfer themselves on human beings to feed.

One of the facts that make it easy for them to survive is that they can jump really high from one host to another and even last for about 3 days away from a human host. 

What causes beard lice?

Beard lice are not necessarily caused by dirt and do not mean if you have beard lice you are unhygienic.

Beard lice are contracted via contact, it can either be contacted with an infected person or with the belongings of an infected person.

How to tell if you have lice in your beard

When trying to check your beard for lice or nits follow these steps

  1. Wet your facial hair- this makes it easier to spot lice as it slows them down
  2. Using a magnifying glass under a bright light to check for lice
  3. Using your fingers separate your beard in sections to make it easy to look.

How to treat beard lice at home

The first thing that comes to your mind when you hear about treating beard lice is shaving off your beard. Well, while that is one of the ways of treating facial hair lice. It is not the only one; there are other methods that you can use to treat lice that do not involve your patiently grown mane.

There is several anti-lice shampoos that is made using permethrin or pyrethrin. These shampoos are very effective when fighting a beard, head and pubic lice.

While most of these shampoos are generally made for the head lice and may end up harming your facial hair, there are several other alternatives that will help you fight off beard lice easily.

Best alternatives to treating beard lice instead of using shampoo

Lavender oil

While continued use of lavender oil is not good for your beard growth and development, applying it for a short time to treat lice has been proven to be effective.

Mix two drops of pure lavender oil in 10 milliliters and use it to wash your beard once or twice per week for a month to get rid of lice. However, lavender oil does not kill lice nits.

Tea tree oil treatment for beard lice

Although more research is required on how effective tea tree oil is against lice. The current study shows that tea tree oil is an effective treatment against lice.

One study found published here claims that tea tree oil can kill lice in their nymph and adult stage of life. Tea tree oil was also found to considerably reduce the number of lice eggs that were able to hatch.

Another study published here shows similar results when tea tree oil was tested against three other products to treat lice. Pyrethrins and piperonyl were among the products that were tested against tea tree.

At the end of the study, tea tree oil mixed with lavender oil was found to be more effective as compared to the other products.

How to keep beard lice away

Based on this study, which tested the effectiveness of tea tree oil, lavender oil peppermint oil and DEET to prevent lice, tea tree oil on its own was found to be the most effective choice to keep lice away.

However, tea tree oil and lavender oil are anti-androgenic and not recommended for long term use on facial hair. If you are traveling to a place that you are afraid you may come into contact with someone with lice, you can carry tea tree oil and lavender and use it to make sure lice do not infect your beard. 

You should not use tea tree oil for a long time as it has been proven to cause side effects such as enlarged breasts.


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