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Can a flat iron kill lice and their eggs? The answer is yes, yet, not all of them. So that will still leave you with a bunch of problems, itchy scalps and embarrassment.
Folks who say that a flat iron, even the most powerful of heated straighteners, is what kills nits in hair…
...simply don’t understand that it MAY KILL SOME, it won’t finish the job though.
And since there are so many incorrect ideas about killing head lice like using, saunas, hair dye, vinegar and certain cleaning products, I will get you the info you need to avoid wasting your time and get rid of lice for good!
If you’re wondering can a flat iron kill lice, here’s your answer. Yes, technically-speaking a flat iron hair straightener can kill lice and eggs.
Here’s the catch… The straightener will only kill the lice that it has direct contact with. And it’s nearly impossible to have direct contact with all of them because they move around.
Truth is… Most people researching flat ironing to get rid of head lice have tried a gang of different lice treatments that have failed and they’re simply frustrated.
Can you relate?
This frustration and embarrassment is because of an increasing phenomenon, the newest strain of lice called “super lice”.
Super lice and regular head lice look pretty much like the same bug, except those stubborn little super lice critters are immune to traditional lice killing treatments and very difficult to eliminate.
I can understand why folks are wondering if a straightening iron can kill lice. It seems like a quick and logical solution because hair straighteners possess enough heat to kill almost any insect when it comes in direct contact for sustained periods of time.
And people with high-powered, profession straightening irons may be even more confident. Don’t get too excited.
Because it’s not really a question about can a flat iron kill lice, of course it can. Lice will not survive sustained and direct contact with a blazing hot flat iron. The real question is will every single insect and lice egg come into sustan=ined contact? That is highly doubtful
Lice are as mobile as all outdoors, and when they dodge that direct hit of heat by your flat iron straightener they will not be affected by it. So even if you flat iron often, some women do silk presses every two weeks, you still won’t kill them all.
If your goal is to fry a few bugs in your hair, then a flat iron is capable of doing that.
Lice and lice eggs die in temperatures higher than 130° F (per CDC). Most professional flat irons like Babyliss Pro, GHD flat irons and Bio Ionic One Pass get up to 400° F and higher, so if you happen to squeeze some lice with a super-hot flat iron, you can sizzle a few.
If that’s all you want, have at it! If you want total destruction, you’ll need a better lice-killing solution. Here’s another reason why….
Answer is yes, on a limited scale. A flat iron hair straightener kills some lice eggs but is not the best lice egg killing solution available. Not even close.
While killing all of the live adult bugs with a hair straightener is iffy due to their mobility, It’s clear why you might begin to wonder about killing the lice eggs since they are stationary in hair and wonder can a flat iron kill lice eggs with a hair straightener.
Conclusive studies have not been conducted on this method of lice treatment, but common sense says you’ll miss a bunch of them. Even with contact you might not kill them if your flat iron isn’t scorchingly hot.
High enough direct heat is needed to kill lice eggs and heat from cheap or old straighteners may not penetrate the lice eggshell. Many lice eggshells will stay on the strands of hair until they are removed by handpicking or combing.
This could turn into a very embarrassing situation if you are planning on getting your haircut because you could be turned away if a nit, dead or alive, is found in your hair.
Because there’s a big difference! Killing lice with your flat iron today, does NOT mean getting rid of all lice problems on a permanent basis.
If you focus all of your energy on killing lice bugs with a flat iron, you will NEVER get rid of lice for good!
When you have lice you have 2 problems, lice bugs, and lice eggs. Often people focus all of their attention on lice bugs, but neglect the much bigger problem- LICE EGGS!
Those little critter eggs are full of future pests lice, just waiting to hatch and start this whole lice life cycle all over again! That’s why you keep getting lice back!
There’s no lice 100% effective DIY treatment or home remedy out there that kills ALL lice eggs, you’ll likely need the techniques and treatment that hair lice professionals use.
Many medical professionals have lice-killing solutions that are guaranteed to get rid of lice in ONE DAY, without any re-treatments, because it kills all of the lice bugs and lice eggs at the same time.
If you plan on using a home remedy or drug store lice treatment it’s possible that you can get rid of lice, but you should plan on using these treatments for atleast 3 weeks and on multiple occasions.
There are some dangers that come with using a hot iron or blow dryer to kill lice and their eggs, the main danger includes getting your hair burnt or scalp damaged.
It’s well-known that head lice cannot survive consistently extreme hot or cold temperatures. Hair dryers can kill SOME lice but the dryer has to be on high heat for close to 30 minutes and that could be very uncomfortable and even damaging to your hair and scalp.
Sidenote: Some put their combs, brushes and other hair accessories in nylon and freeze for close to 30 hours in order to kill lice and their eggs.This may cause hygiene concerns for some.
Lastly, overexposing your hair to extremely hot flat iron heat for long bouts of time can cause permanent damage to your hair. Yes, hot irons kill lice and eggs to an extent, but it comes with its ugly consequences as well.
“Can a flat iron kill lice?” isn’t the only question we see online, here are some frequently asked questions about destroying hair lice and their eggs that we want to give you the answers to.
Answer: Yes, a hot home blow dryer will kill up to 96% of lice eggs with proper technique. To effectively kill lice, the blow dryer must be repeatedly used at high heat (every 1 to 7 days since eggs hatch in 7 to 10 days) until the natural life cycle of the lice is finished (about 4 weeks).
The problem is the EXTREME discomfort and pain that this can cause to the person with head lice, this is not a good solution to use on young children.
Answer: No, hairspray is not an effective lice killer or lice prevention method. Don’t expect dead lice from application of hair gels, hairsprays, oils or other non-medicated hair products including dandruff shampoo.
None of these kill lice or prevent eggs from hatching or sticking to the hair. Hairspray is a styler not a lice killer. Substances like mayonnaise might kill lice but do not kill nits or detach them from hair.
Answer: No. Vinegar receives a weak lice killer “honorable mention,” because it can aid in the removal of nits, but it doesn't kill adult lice.
The acidic composition of vinegar works to break down the glue-like substance that adheres the nits to the hair shaft. But vinegar doesn’t not kill grown lice.
Some parents turn to word-of-mouth DIY home remedies for killing head lice, such as tea tree oil, mayonnaise, neem oil, argan oil under flat iron heat, blow dryer heat, saline spray, vinegar and many other treatments.
These “lice killing hacks” are messy, time consuming and not supported by scientific evidence as true lice killers. If you tried an OTC head lice treatment that didn’t work and you are certain that your child didn’t get reinfested, seek professional help.
It’s possible that you are dealing with “super lice”, in other words, head lice that are highly resistant to the active ingredients in your over-the-counter lice killer treatment products. If even a few of these remain after trying to burn them with a flat iron, they will reproduce and come back to give you the same problems.
To kill lice once-and-for-all you should consult with your pediatrician or contact a pediatric dermatologist for a prescription-strength head lice treatment to kill those little buggers.
So... Can a flat iron kill lice? Yeah, alot of them but not all. And they’ll be back like THE TERMINATOR. It’s best to talk to a professional for a more powerful lice-killing solution.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Melissa Lee
Melissa Lee is a Contributing Editor to NHP and a former owner of the BlackhairOMG website. She formed 4C Trichology Growth Services, LLC., a US based hair care consultation service. She has also contributed as a writer and consultant for various hair and beauty websites. Melissa can be followed on Twitter here.