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Head Scratcher: Why Does My Head Still Itch After Lice Treatment?

Scratching the question you’ve been asking and tips on being itch-free

Head Scratcher: Why Does My Head Still Itch After Lice Treatment?

Scratching the question you’ve been asking and tips on being itch-free

We get it --- finding out you or your child has been exposed to lice is a stressful time. Once you find professional, knowledgeable lice treatment, you’ll experience a great amount of relief for you and your family. However, sometimes a bit of an itch may linger after treatment, causing great concern and anxiety surrounding the subject. Not to worry, though --- this itch is completely normal. Here, we’ll break it down on possible causes for you post-lice itch and some treatments that may cause relief.

Minimizing Your Itch with the Proper Treatment

Choosing the correct treatment prevents itching from the root cause

girl scratching her hair

Much like proper skincare and haircare in general, it’s important to use products and treatments that are safe and effective for human skin. There’s a variety of lice treatments on the market, but the problem is that many of these lice treatments contain harsh chemicals or irritants to the scalp, which can be a cause of the itch in the first place.

Many medicated shampoos contain chemicals called pyrethrins, which both occurs in nature and can be man-made. Pyrethrins shut down a louse’s nervous system, which then kills the lice infestation. Not only is this a chemical - which can cause skin irritation itself - but many chemical treatments contain piperonyl butoxide, which the EPA classifies as a possible cancer-causing agent in humans. These chemicals are deemed to be in small enough quantities for children to use, but this could be vital knowledge in understanding the type of treatment you administer to yourself or your child.

That’s why the best treatment is a comb and nitpicking treatment by a professional. By using a specially-designed comb and best-practice lice removal techniques, a professional can safely and effectively remove lice from hair without harmful chemicals that irritate the scalp and cause itching.

Why You’re Still Itchy After Lice Treatment

If your itch still lingers after treatment, here could be a few reasons why.

woman shrugging

It’s extremely normal for an itch to linger after lice treatment. Here’s a quick breakdown of why your itch could continue after treatment:

  • Ineffective Treatment

When not treated properly or in severe cases, you may not get rid of all the lice in the first go. The cycle of treatment for live lasts about two weeks - which is the amount of time it takes and remaining nits (louse eggs) to hatch and be sure treatment was effective. If your lice return, so does your itch in many cases.

  • Scalp irritation from treatment

As previously mentioned, using treatments with harsh chemicals - or even sodium chloride - can dry the scalp and remove natural oils necessary for a healthy, moisturized scalp and healthy hair.

  • Louse bites

Another source of itching could be louse bites causing irritation to the scalp. Although louse bites are harmless, they cause irritation and itching must like most bug bites do. However, excessive scratching could worsen the bites and cause bacterial infections, which may cause additional pain and itching.

How to Fix Your Itch

I still itch after lice treatment...so now what?

woman drying her hair


A great first step after treatment is following up with a lice check to see if you have fully killed the lice infestation. If not, another round of treatment is recommended. If a professional was not contacted the first time, it may be worth considering professional treatment to avoid further discomfort and stress caused by lice.

For itching caused by a dry scalp, try a deep conditioning treatment. Deep conditioning treatments can be found at drug stores, large retailers like Target, and at specialty beauty stores like Ulta and Sephora. These treatments restore moisture and oils essential for proper hair and scalp health to a dry scalp, causing relief (and really soft and pretty hair).

If your itch is caused by louse bites, it may be best to contact a doctor. It’s possible that your child could be having a minor allergic reaction to the bites themself, or infection could have occurred from scratching existing bites. In these cases, your doctor will be able to assess whether your child needs antihistamines to treat an allergic reaction or antibacterial medicines for an infection. Additionally, if your child is not responding to treatments and the lice persist, contacting a doctor is never a bad idea.
When it comes to lice, we understand that discomfort, treatment, and prevention can be a huge undertaking. While working through this stress, it’s important to ensure you are finding effective and safe treatment for you or your child. That’s why contacting a professional lice removal service is always your best bet. Their timely and expert service ensure that your children stay happy, healthy, and return to a normal life in no time.

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