Tiny mites that live on the skin, and lay eggs which attach to hair. Usually seen in the pubic area, crabs can also be found in facial and chest hair, armpits and eyelashes.


Crabs show up 3 days to several weeks after exposure. They can cause intense itching. A close look should show tiny brown lice and/or white eggs attached to the hair.


Crabs are transmitted by close physical contact including sex, and sharing bedding, clothes and towels. There’s no way to prevent the initial infection. To prevent recurrences, wash all fabrics that may have come into contact with the lice in hot, soapy water, and wash everything again after 7 days. Partners and anyone else in close physical contact should also be treated.


You can cure crabs yourself with genital lice shampoos from the drugstore. About a week later, eggs may hatch, and a follow up treatment may be needed. For crabs on eyelashes or eyebrows, coat them with petroleum jelly and they should die from lack of oxygen. If you have a stubborn case that won’t go away, see a healthcare provider.

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