Can a Blow Dryer or Hair Straightener Kill Lice?

Can a Blow Dryer or Hair Straightener Kill Lice?

If you or your child have a really itchy head, you might be wondering: does my child have lice? If your child has an itchy scalp, take a look at their hair closely. Using a fine-toothed comb and bright lighting, see if you can find any lice eggs (also known as nits). Nits are light yellow or brown in color, and are similar in size to a sesame seed. You can check out more details on what lice look like here
If you think your child might have lice, the next thing you’re thinking about is: how do I cure my child’s lice? 

One method that people have attempted to use is a blow dryer or hair straightener, thinking the heat would dry up and kill any lice. This idea is heading in the right direction, and while desiccation can be used to kill lice, it’s important to note that a regular hair dryer or straightener will not treat lice. 

How does desiccation kill lice?

Desiccation is the process of drying something out. The small packets you sometimes see in products known as desiccants rely on chemical properties to keep things dry, such as a shelf-stable product like a bottle of vitamins. 

Desiccation can also mean applying heat directly to dry something out – in this case, an active lice infestation. There is some validity to the reasoning of this method, because lice indeed cannot survive hot air directed at them for a prolonged period of time.

Drying a human head louse out thoroughly would be like putting an amphibian such as a frog in a very hot desert – it can survive out of the water, but if it doesn’t get moisture soon it will overheat and dry out.

So, using this same logic, you might be inclined to think a hair straightener or hair dryer could do the trick! 

Why do only some forms of heat kill lice?

While the rationale behind using a hair dryer or hair straightener to overheat and dry out lice makes sense, unfortunately, many complications arise in practice. In order for lice to be properly killed via desiccation, the following factors need to be controlled:

✅ Airflow
✅ Temperature
✅ Duration
✅ Direction

A hair dryer or straightener must have enough airflow, a hot enough temperature, be used for the minimum duration, and be directed properly at the head to properly kill lice. Unfortunately, hair dryers and straighteners fail on all these fronts. 

Why hair dryers don’t work to kill lice

Think about the last time you used a hair dryer to dry your own hair or your child’s hair. When the hair dryer gets hot, what do you do? You move it away from the head! Well, once you do this, you feel less heat, but unfortunately, now the hair dryer is too far! In order to have the temperature that you need to kill lice, you would need to hold that hair dryer right next to your child’s scalp, causing them pain. 

You would also need to use it in close proximity for at least 30 seconds. With that duration and proximity, it is likely to hurt your child! You would also need to be able to go through the entire scalp meticulously at hundreds of different angles – all while blasting your child with incredibly hot air. 

The end result? A painful process that attempts to kill the lice, which would result in failure.

Why hair straighteners don’t kill lice

So, hair dryers clearly don’t work, but what about using a hair straightener? You may already own one, and see an easy solution. Unfortunately, hair straighteners present some problems, too.

Using the same 4 criteria above, you would need to control airflow, temperature, duration, and direction. A hair straightener doesn’t really have airflow, which scientists at Lice Clinics of America found was an essential element to properly desiccating lice. What about the other factors? 

You could straighten a portion of hair, leaving the heat on there, but you would need to leave it there long enough to kill the lice – in the meantime, it’s likely going to destroy that hair and get very hot, which can be dangerous for a child (and even an adult, as it violates the basic safety precautions of any straightener).

Safe and effective alternative lice treatments

The good news is, there are plenty of alternative safe and effective ways to kill lice and lice eggs. 

At Lice Clinics of America, we have developed a revolutionary tool called AirAllé®, which properly uses all of these criteria to kill lice!

✅ Airflow
✅ Temperature
✅ Duration
✅ Direction

AirAllé® properly controls the airflow, creating an incredibly windy, and dry, environment! It uses just the right amount of heat to kill adult lice and nits, while not hurting the scalp of the person being treated. 

In fact, it is totally pain-free, and the ONLY heated-air lice device that has been cleared by the FDA! The direction of the air is designed to flow in a pattern to get to each and every part of the scalp thoroughly, but because of the extreme technology of the device, the duration is sufficient to kill lice, but efficient enough to fit into an after-school appointment. 

Other treatments include the OneCure™ Home Treatment Kit, the first and only at-home, heated-air solution clinically proven to kill lice, super lice, and 99.2% of eggs, all in a single treatment. OneCure uses the same non-toxic, pesticide-free technology proven in our clinics, but can be administered at home; and the CURE! Lice Remover Kit, a home treatment kit that allows you to treat head lice with a safe, non-toxic, and pesticide-free gel. 

Give Us a Call

When the right treatments are used, lice infestations can be taken care of safely and effectively without the use of any harmful chemicals or excessive heat. If you have any questions about lice treatments, please give us a call at (855) 706-5423 or contact your local lice clinic

If you have any questions, we advise you to please call us at (855) 706-5423) or contact your local lice clinic!

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Murray, Utah 84107

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