Nits: All you have to know!
Nits are the eggs of lice and are one of the first signs in case of infestation. It is very important to know this stage of the life cycle of the louse to be able to eliminate lice effectively!
Why is it so difficult to get nits out of your hair?
Louse females use a natural substance, to stick the nits to the hair strands, and in this way keep the nits in a safe place as they develop. This glue-like substance is as strong as reinforced cement, even if the hair is rubbed or washed well, the nits do not come out or fall off.
Nits and their colors
Nits are light brown in color, however if you have had lice at home, you may have noticed that this is not always the case. The color of the nits can help us identify whether they are alive or empty. The types of colors we can find are as follows, although they may vary slightly depending on different factors:
Brown nits: the nits are alive and developing and have a louse inside. Being still very small, it is semi-transparent, but "visible" enough to give color to the egg.
Whitish brown nits: there are some nits that do not reach the end of development, in these cases, the louse dies inside the egg without being born. In general, as we cannot be sure whether the louse is alive or not, they are considered normal nits during treatment.
White nits: after the louse hatches the shell is empty. The insect that gives it that characteristic brownish color is not inside, so it remains with the tone of the egg itself (which is white). In this case, if we know how to differentiate, we must inform that they are not a source of infestation, as they are already empty and no parasites can reproduce and later they can leave them.
Why do they pop when we crush the nits?
Nits are very resistant eggs. They are not only attached to the hair by an incredibly solid "glue", but the shell itself is prepared to withstand high pressures and withstand the elements. This structure, together with the shape it has (small and oval), allows it to withstand any change in the environment.
When we press a nit (it is necessary to do it with the help of something hard, since with the fingertip it may not be enough), with the pressure it ends up giving up spontaneously, it is at that moment that the shell suddenly breaks, emitting a ' click'.
The place chosen to place the nits: the hotter the better
The female louse places up to 10 nits per day, taking care to place them in a warm and constant temperature environment that allows their development.
Nits are placed on the hair strands 1 millimeter from the scalp, where they can incubate. As the hair grows, they move away, however their development ends before moving away enough to cool, that is, the lice are born when the nits are more or less 4 mm from the head.
Strong as a tank, small as the diameter of a needle
Both the nits and the "glue" that attaches them to the hair strands are very resistant, but sometimes we don't know how much.
Sometimes in despair, some parents, hoping to finish off the nits, do some unsuccessful treatments such as vinegar and heat.
Nits resist hair straighteners, more likely to end up burning the hair than eliminating the lice eggs!
Vinegar is used with the hope that it is able to dissolve the chitin of which the "glue" that adheres the nit to the hair is composed. Although it is an acid that influences this type of material, the truth is that it does not do it quickly enough to be effective. It would be necessary to keep the affected person's hair in vinegar for more than one consecutive day, in order to be able to dissolve part of this natural compound.
Not all nits end up turning into lice ...
About 10% of nits do not end up in lice. In such cases, the egg remains attached to the hair, but the louse never hatches.