Difference Between Dandruff and Nits

Most of us know about dandruff and dread those white spots that flake off our hair falling on our garments. There are many shampoos and medicated soaps available in the market to get rid of dandruff though there are people who remain afflicted with this medical condition of the scalp all their lives. There is another similar problem that is white and difficult to differentiate with dandruff as it appears on the shafts of hair. These are called nits and are eggs of lice that are laid by female lice. These eggs become young adults in a few weeks after being laid and start sucking the blood from the scalp of the victim. This article attempts to highlight the differences between dandruff and nits to decide on the course of treatment.


If you feel like scratching your head frequently and also feel embarrassed because of white flakes falling off your scalp on to all places where you go, you could be suffering from dandruff. It is a medical condition that could be a result of dry skin or it could be because of a serious disease such as seborrheic dermatitis. Dandruff on the scalp may also be a result of psoriasis where dead cells of skin start gathering or accumulating in a fast manner on the scalp. Thankfully dandruff is not a contagious disease or condition. People with dry skin are prone to dandruff as dry scalp can lead to flaking off dead skin cells.


Nits are white eggs of lice, the parasitic insect that lives on the scalp of the victim and feeds off his blood. One can be infected with nits only if he comes in contact with another person having lice on his head. It is not necessary to have a head to head contact as in schools between children or between people having intimate physical relationship as sharing of combs and brushes or garments can also result in getting infected with lice, and thereafter nits. These days, lice can even be shared because of use of headsets to listen music. Lice are dark brown or black in color and have the ability to crawl over items of clothing such as towels and other furnishing items.

Female lice lay eggs in a sticky secretion that clings to the shafts of hair. Nits remain as a bunch in one place and do not have the ability to move from one place to another on the scalp (until they turn into fully developed lice).

What is the difference between Dandruff and Nits?

• Nits are eggs of lice laid by female lice while dandruff is a condition of the scalp.

• Nits are found on the shafts of hair and are a result of sharing of head accessories and garments. They are also caught with head to head contact.

• Dandruff can result from dry skin, psoriasis, or even dermatitis, and it easily falls off hair and scalp.

• Dandruff can be washed off from the hair through application of special shampoos and medicated soaps while nits are stuck to the hair and they do not come off easily even with brushing or washing of hair.

• Dandruff is dead skin whereas nits are alive and are waiting to hatch and developing into lice.