The truth behind the myth that black people can’t get lice

Deborah A., 61, from Cleveland Heights, Ohio, explains: “Forehead is something we do in our family. Four years ago, when her 11-year-old stepdaughter Khloe* happened to tell her she thought she had head lice, Deborah accepted it. “I’ve never heard of any black people having head lice.”

Khloe, however, is of two races and it turns out she Hair type 2 susceptible to insect parasites. Rosemarie IngletonMD, a board-certified dermatologist based in New York City, explains, “Although everyone can get lice, they seem to stick to straight hair more tightly.” While there’s no substantial evidence as to why this is so, she theorizes, “It may be because lice in the United States are less adapted to grasping type 4 curly hair and cannot easily grips the hair.”

A few days after Khloe dropped the lice bomb, both Deborah and her daughter Lauren A., 28, began to feel a constant itch and burning sensation on their scalps. “I was looking in the bathroom mirror and [the lice were] kind of tangled and tangled in my hair,” Lauren said of finding lice in her nest, which were styled in a double twist.” Actually I was surprised because I have a pretty short hair. Thick, shaggy, 4C hair, styled in locs – so to catch lice makes no sense to me. “

Pediculus humanus capitisAlso known as head lice, are small, blood-sucking insects that can be found anywhere there is hair on the human body including the head, eyebrows, eyelashes, and pubic area. “The sizes and shapes of the organisms are different and the three variants prefer different parts of the body,” explains the board-certified dermatologist Joshua Zeichner, and an associate professor of dermatology and director of cosmetic & clinical research in dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. Lice live close to the human scalp, laying eggs near hair follicles.

“Lice infections are fairly common among school-age children in the United States of all socioeconomic classes,” says New York City council-certified dermatologist. Hadley KingMD, FAAD, revealed, debunking the myth that “only the poor” have and spread lice. The lice infestation has been around forever – they are dating again 25 million years ago in primates. For many years, however, there was a widespread belief in the black community that black people could not get or spread head lice. It’s not quite right, but it’s not entirely either wrong: “Pediculus humanus capitis seems to prefer straight hair. Lice infestations are not common among black Americans,” explains Dr. King.

Limited science on head lice & black hair

There are many theories as to why it seems that Blacks don’t get lice all the time. Science, however, is less developed. “[Any theories are] based on data from observational studies,” explains Dr. King. And there have been conflicting data in different studies. “ The truth behind the myth that black people can’t get lice

Charles Jones

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