Can Black People Have Lice? [Facts About African American Hair]

Do blacks suffer from lice infestation? Here is separating the myth from the fact.

Lice problems tend to be more common among other races than African-Americans or blacks.

Do Black People Get Lice?

What could be the possible explanation for such? Understanding the reasons is one way to gain insight into lice behavior and the pattern of infestation.

You’re able to have a fair idea of what the attraction is to hosts of a certain race and why blacks aren’t so vulnerable to lice infestations. Is this condition treatable?


You’ll be learning more about this and other aspects of lice infestation.

About Lice Infestation

Lice are parasitic insects that feed on blood and are about the size of a sesame seed. Whenever they infest a host, they lay their eggs or nits which appear yellow or white and are attached to the base of hair shafts.

Asides from blood, lice are attracted to moisture and warmth all of which are found on the scalp.

There are three main kinds of lice, head, body, and pubic lice. The names reveal where these lice infest the most.

Out of these three, we’re more interested in the head louse. This is the most notorious and most difficult to deal with.

With body color ranging from tan to yellowish, louse draw blood from underneath the scalp. Because they move by crawling, direct head-to-head contact with a host seems to be the easiest way of spreading lice.

This is why children tend to be the most affected as a lot of head contact is established when they play.

You’ll also need to be careful using shared items with someone having a lice problem. This is especially true for items like helmets, scarves, mufflers, combs, pillows, and more.

Can African Americans Get Lice? Yes!

Although lice problems are most common with people from other races, blacks aren’t immune to it.

In other words, there are fewer cases of lice problems with blacks. So, why are lice issues less common with blacks than persons from other races?

Why don’t black people get lice often? There’s a reason for that.

  • It All Boils Down To the Hair Shape

To understand the disparity in the vulnerability of white people to lice compared to blacks, you’ll need to consider the hair shape. The hair of black people tends to be different in shape.

Here, we’re speaking of the hair shaft. Such shafts tend to be thicker and more difficult for lice to grasp.

This feature is what tends to make blacks less susceptible to lice problems than other races like Hispanics, Caucasians, or Asians. Remember we said a louse moves by crawling right?

Well, the hair shafts provide the structures necessary for the movement and attachment of nits.

  • The Hair Shape of Blacks Is Unsuitable for Lice Presence

Although there are cases of black people dealing with or having lice problems, such cases tend to be fewer compared to those of other races.

To better understand, you’ll need to look at how lice move on the human scalp.

To crawl and attach their nits to human hair, lice will need to grasp hair shafts. This is made possible by grasping hooks that are well suited for such actions.

It’s easier for lice to move over straight, fine hair than over curly and thicker hair.

The latter is more common with blacks. In other words, blacks tend to have curly and thicker hair which makes it more difficult for lice to move.

Here, it’s clear that blacks tend to be the least favorite hosts for lice compared to other races.

Nobody is Spared, But Some Persons Have More Lice Issues

Nobody is spared from lice infestation. However, some persons are more vulnerable than others based on the reasons given above.

This is an eye-opener for persons who have wondered why there are more lice issues with Hispanics, Caucasians, or Asians as compared to blacks.

What Accounts for the Fewer Cases of Lice Infestation in Blacks?

Although there’s less preference in terms of lice infestation for black hosts, it still occurs because lice can still survive under such conditions.

This can be attributed to adaptation. Lice will still survive on the scalps of the black host even though the hair shape isn’t ideal for them to move and lay eggs easily.

Lice Problems Have Nothing to Do With Hygiene

There are claims in some quarters that the lack of hygiene is one of the causal factors for lice problems. Such claims are unfounded and erroneous. People having the strictest hygiene practices still deal with lice problems.

So, where do such problems arise from?

Do you have kids within the age bracket of 3 to 11? These could be the source. Lice issues are most common with preschool and elementary school-aged children as they tend to play a lot and make direct head-to-head contact.

Also, such kids are likely to share hats, caps, or other personal possessions.

With such activity, it’s easy to see why they’re the hardest hit. Lice problems gotten this way tend to spread fast to family members.

Treatment is necessary to curtail the spread.

Effective Lice Prevention Strategies

Irrespective of race, it’s important to take necessary precautions to ward off lice problems. This is because nobody is spared. Thankfully, preventive measures such as the use of essential oils aren’t so difficult to implement.

They include vacuuming furniture and floors, avoiding head-to-head contact, and not sharing personal items like clothing, towels, and brushes.

You’ll need to avoid lying on beds, pillows, couches, or stuffed animals used by an infected person. Also, any items used by lice-infested persons such as bed linens and clothing will need to be machine washed.

Avoid the use of fogs or fumigant sprays on the head as they aren’t necessary.

Urgent Treatment is Necessary

Apart from implementing the preventive strategies provided earlier, you’ll need to carry out urgent treatment.

This requires visiting a lice clinic for treatment and also using recommended products such as lice shampoos among others.

It’s important to only follow medical advice for treating lice issues. Adopting the right measures clears the problem in little time.

This saves you from unnecessarily lengthening the treatment duration as is common with ineffective methods of treatment.

Black people do experience lice problems too, although such occurrences are less frequent than persons from other races.