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Do Flat Irons Kill Lice?

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Scratch your head here, scratch your head there. Ugh, itchy scalp. What’s that about? Upon closer inspection, you see these tiny white dots near your scalp. Eeek! You have the dreaded lice!

It can be embarrassing to have lice on your hair. People may avoid getting next to you because they don’t want them too. Your instincts tell you to get rid of those lice by killing them. High temperatures kill lice so you might be asking yourself “do flat irons kill lice?”

Well, the short answer is yes. Flat irons kill lice because of their high temperatures. However, that doesn’t mean that you can simply use a flat iron to get rid of head lice. You see, killing lice and getting rid of them are entirely different. We’ll explain that further below.


Why Do Flat Irons Kill Lice?

Lice are parasites that feed on human blood. They live in the scalp. They are wingless but are usually spread through close contact. Usually, once a child in school has them, they would easily spread throughout the class. That is one of the most common reasons why adults can also have them. 

Head lice can cause itchiness of the scalp due to the reaction of the body to the saliva of the lice. When the lice feed, they take a bite of the scalp and their saliva gets in contact with the opening. Depending on how the body responds, the itchiness can be felt immediately or after quite some time. 

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Killing lice is possible through the use of over-the-counter treatments. However, not all lice or lice egss could be killed by that. Some have already developed immunity against the treatments readily available in the market.

However, that doesn’t mean that the head lice are indestructible. Some try hair bleaching to kill lice. Another tactic that could kill them is heat. 

The reason why flat irons (like our favorite, the BaByliss Pro Flat Iron (we reviewed it here) are capable of killing lice is that they can reach very high temperatures. They can reach up to 450° F to effectively straighten even the curliest of hair.

That very high temperature can certainly kill any lice that get caught between the iron while you are using it. Additionally, the very high temperature can also kill the head lice eggs that are deposited on the hair. 

But that doesn’t mean the flat iron will solve your problem completely.


Why Can’t You Get Rid Of Lice With Flat Irons?

Sultra The Bombshell Flat Iron

We’ve discussed that flat irons like the Sultra The Bombshell shown above (reviewed here) can kill lice because of their high heat. However, they are not an effective tool to get rid of head lice.

Here are the reasons why:

1. Head Lice Are Usually On The Scalp Rather Than The Hair

When you try to find head lice, you’ll usually see them near the scalp or directly at the scalp. They do not usually live on the lower ends of the hair. The reason for this is because your scalp is the area where they can feed on your blood. 

With flat irons, you usually start towards the scalp then go downwards. However, we don’t use flat irons close enough to the head or scalp because of the risk of burning them.

The high temperature can be fatal to the head lice but it can also cause burns on your scalp.

If you use flat irons to get rid of head lice, you’ll risk getting severely burned. 

2. Head Lice Are Very Quick

It can be difficult to find lice because they move very quickly. They can move from one hair strand to another at high speeds.

That is why it is very challenging for you to catch them, even as you curl your hair with a flat iron. Even if they are on the hair strands and not the scalp, it will be is impossible to use the flat iron on all the strands of your hair at the same time. 

Just think about it this way, while using a flat iron on a specific area, the lice are moving to another area.

Once you’ve also moved to another area, they’ll just go back to the other areas of your hair that have already cooled off. 

3. Head Lice Lay Their Eggs Near The Scalp

Okay, so head lice are quick and you can’t catch them with flat irons but head lice eggs don’t move. You can catch them, right?

Well, yes, head lice eggs don’t move and stick to the hair strands. However, head lice lay them on the hair strands next to the scalp. This is to give them easier access to their food, which is your blood on the scalp. 

Ick.

Again, it would be difficult to use a flat iron on those areas of the hair because they are very close to the scalp. There is a risk of burning your scalp even if you just plan to use the flat iron to kill the head lice eggs. 

You might be able to find a few eggs on the lower ends of the hair or further away from the scalp. But these eggs aren’t newly laid. These might have already hatched so you won’t be killing anything by using a flat iron on them.

Remember that your hair also grows so these eggs might have been next to the scalp at some point then your hair grew so they also moved further from the scalp. 

Also, if using a flat iron on head lice eggs will stick them to it. It can be more difficult to remove the lice eggs from your hair even if it is already dead if you use flat irons.

Even if it is dead, you still wouldn’t want them to be on your hair for aesthetic reasons. They definitely don’t look good. 


Conclusion

Flat irons are fully capable of killing head lice. With the heat that they produce, they can really burn the head lice to death. They can even burn the head lice eggs and make them stick more into the head strands. 

However, using a flat iron is not an effective way to get rid of head lice. It is impossible to use flat iron to kill them because they mostly live near the scalp. That would mean you could have burns and blisters if you use the flat iron too near the scalp.

Stick to a traditional treatment, and keep using the flat iron for those beach waves!

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