How to Treat Head Lice in Dreadlocks – Ultimate Guide

Lice are tiny insects that can live on your scalp and cause itching and an intense desire to cut off all your hair. They’re known for getting into dreadlocks and can be difficult to get rid of.

How To Prevent Lice In Dreads

Avoiding lice is important to keep your locks healthy and clean if you have dreadlocks. This post will give tips on keeping lice out of your dreads and keeping your hair healthy and free from frizz.

How To Prevent Lice In Dreads

Don’t Share Combs or Brushes

When you’re out with friends, don’t share combs or brushes. Lice are spread from person to person through direct contact with hair, so if you share a comb or brush with someone who has lice, there’s a good chance you’ll get them too. Wash your hands thoroughly after touching hair or combs that belong to other people and make sure you always use separate brushes and combs when styling your own hair.

Use Lice Shampoo

A common misconception is that lice-killing shampoos will kill off the lice eggs (nits). While these products do work well at killing adult lice, they do not kill nits.

To kill both adults and nits, it is necessary to use a combination of treatments such as sprays, creams, ointments, and lotions, along with shampoos and conditioners containing pyrethrin or neem oil.

The shampoo can still be used even if you cannot use the lice comb. It will destroy the live lice when you wash your hair with special shampoo. You must repeat the process every three days because you will be left with the nits and unhatched eggs.

This will guarantee that you get rid of newly hatched lice before they can develop and lay their own eggs. Till you are securely outside the danger zone, keep doing it.

Olive and Tea Tree Oil for Head Lice in Dreadlocks

Here is a simple homemade dish that you can try whenever you like. Put olive and tea tree oil on your scalp and dreads. Due to the tea tree’s potency and potential for injury, the ratio should be a few spoons of olive oil to a few drops of tea tree oil. Keep it running all night.

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Wash your dreads the following morning. After that, soak them in a vinegar and water solution and blow-dry them. People who have used this method say you must continue using it for two weeks to ensure complete lice removal. It will also make your dreads feel a little greasy.

Apple Cider Vinegar and Coconut Oil

This theory is based on the notion that the eggs and nits are attached to your hair strands to prevent them from falling off. You require a special comb because of this. The nits will be much easier to remove if you use apple cider vinegar instead because it will help break down and unglue them from your hair.

When you shampoo your hair, the coconut oil will help the live adult head lice in your dreadlocks fall out of your hair by smothering them.

Straightening Irons

Others have used straightening irons to kill lice instantly, as well as their eggs and nits. Technically, the intense heat should kill the insects, though not enough people have tested it to be sure it works.

Don’t pull on the straightening iron like someone with conventional hair would if you try this method. Simply apply it to your dreads and wait a few seconds for the heat to kill the lice.

You should always remember that cleaning your scalp and dreads is insufficient. Your clothes, pillows, and bed linens are all favorites of lice. Therefore, spray them with a chemical solution before washing them in your washing machine at a very high temperature.

If you have lice, avoid hand washing your clothing and mattress. The high temperature of the water, not the ingredients themselves, will get them off of pillowcases and other items.

Do I Have to Cut My Dreadlocks If I Have Lice?

Having lice doesn’t necessarily mean you have to cut your dreadlocks. While it can be more challenging to treat lice in dreadlocks compared to loose hair, there are effective methods to address the issue without resorting to cutting your dreads. Here’s what you can do:

  1. Consult a Professional: If you suspect you have lice in your dreadlocks, it’s important to seek professional advice from a healthcare provider or a specialist in treating lice. They can guide you on the best course of action based on the severity of the infestation.
  2. Specialized Treatment: There are lice treatment products available that are specifically designed for dreadlocks. These products help to suffocate and remove the lice while minimizing damage to your locks. Follow the instructions carefully and be patient, as treating lice in dreads might take longer than with loose hair.
  3. Manual Removal: Carefully combing through your dreads with a fine-toothed comb or using a specialized lice comb can help remove adult lice and nits. This process might need to be repeated several times to ensure thorough removal.
  4. Washing and Soaking: Soaking your dreads in a mixture of water and lice treatment solution can help suffocate the lice. Be cautious with excessive moisture to prevent mold or mildew growth, and ensure thorough drying afterward.
  5. Isolation and Separation: If the infestation is contained to certain sections of your dreads, consider isolating and treating those sections separately to avoid spreading the infestation.
  6. Patience and Persistence: Treating lice in dreadlocks requires patience and persistence. It might take several treatments and thorough combing to completely eliminate the infestation.
  7. Prevention: After successfully treating the infestation, focus on preventive measures to avoid future occurrences. Regularly inspect and maintain your dreadlocks, and practice good hygiene.
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Cutting your dreadlocks should be a last resort. If the infestation is severe and you’re considering cutting your dreads, consult a professional first. They can provide guidance on the most appropriate action based on your specific situation. Remember that with the right approach and dedication, you can effectively treat lice in your dreadlocks and maintain your cherished hairstyle.

Are Lice Common In Dreads?

Yes, dreadlocks are a breeding ground for lice because of the tight nature of the hair follicles, making it difficult for them to move around freely.

If there are any nits on your head when you start growing your locks, then there is always the chance that they will be trapped inside your dreadlocks at some point during their growth cycle.

However, most cases of lice in dreadlocks are caused by someone else picking up the bugs from somewhere else and then transferring them onto your head without realizing what they have done!

What Are The Signs Of Lice In Dreads?

Detecting lice in dreadlocks can be challenging due to the nature of the hairstyle. However, there are some signs and symptoms to watch out for that might indicate the presence of lice in your dreads:

  1. Itching: Intense and persistent itching on the scalp is one of the most common signs of a lice infestation, regardless of whether you have dreads or not.
  2. Crawling Sensation: Some people with lice in their dreads might feel a crawling sensation on their scalp due to the movement of the lice.
  3. Small Bumps or Sores: Irritation from lice bites can lead to the development of small red bumps or sores on the scalp.
  4. Visible Lice or Nits: While lice might be challenging to spot in dreads, you might occasionally see adult lice or their eggs (nits) attached to individual hair strands.
  5. Increased Shedding: If you notice an unusual amount of hair shedding from your dreads, it could be a result of lice infestation and the irritation it causes.
  6. Inflammation and Redness: Infestation can lead to inflammation of the scalp, causing redness and discomfort.
  7. Dirty Appearance: Lice infestations can lead to an accumulation of dirt, oils, and debris due to excessive scratching and movement. This might make your dreads appear dirtier than usual.
  8. Restlessness and Sleep Disturbances: Lice activity can be more noticeable during the night, leading to restlessness and sleep disturbances.
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If you suspect a lice infestation, it’s important to take action promptly. Consult a healthcare professional or a specialist in hair care, especially if you have dreads, as removing lice from this type of hairstyle can be more challenging.


If you dread the idea of lice, it is best to be diligent about prevention. This does not mean that you need to employ harsh chemicals in your dreads, nor does it mean you have to check your children’s heads for bugs each night.

As long as you are scrupulously clean and aware of your surroundings (and a few other precautions), there is little chance of lice infestation.

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