Head louse is a problem that affects millions of children and adults in the U.S alone, every year. When extrapolated to the rest of the world, it becomes even more serious. Getting rid of these pesky pests is not that easy. If anything pesticides can be toxic and medications sold over-the-counter may not be effective. It is easy for one to end up frustrated, not knowing what to do.
The reason it is not easy to settle on a single best lice treatment is the growing resistance of the pests to remedies being sold over-the-counter. But that doesn’t mean that natural treatments are any better, given that they are less understood. The following are examples of the best lice treatment:
Combing and Nit-picking
Together with the other lice treatments, this is perhaps one of the procedures that you must do. The combing is done from one section to another using a special comb. An example of a comb that can remove nits and lice is the Nit Free Terminator Comb.
You no longer have to spend long hours trying to extract nits and lice from your kid’s hair by hand. With a fine-toothed comb, you will find the process of removing lice and nits much quicker, neater, and cleaner. Once you are done combing your hair, you can then pick out the stray lice using a magnification light.
Combing and nit-picking are so central to lice treatment that it must be combined with the other treatment methods. But you have to ensure that you pick every single one of the nits to effectively get rid of lice.
Pyrethrum or Pyrethrins
Pyrethrum is the active ingredient in a number of commercially available lice treatments. It is sourced from chrysanthemum flowers, which contain pyrethrins, a form of natural insecticides. Pyrethrins work by attacking the lice’s nervous system but may not work when the bugs become resistant to it.
It should be used on dry hair. After applying it, you should always wait for a minimum of 10 minutes before adding water and squeezing to form a lather. Then simply rinse it off. After 7 to 10 days, apply the pyrethrins again to ensure that any remaining live lice are killed. Be careful that it does not cause unwanted allergic reactions.
It turns out that olive oil isn’t just useful as food. Olive oil also has the ability to get rid of lice. It is the best lice treatment, especially when it comes to suffocating the bugs by plugging their breathing holes.
You will have to apply it overnight, given that lice may survive without the need for breathing for long hours. Don’t forget to comb your hair to get rid of the nits. That should be easy, given that olive oil helps loosen the nits from the hair.
Permethrin Lotion 1 Percent
There are a number of over-the-counter products which contain permethrin as the active ingredient. It is similar to pyrethrins, only that it is synthetic. Just like pyrethrins, permethrin attacks live lice. The only concern about it is that lice may become resistant after being used for a while. For some individuals, permethrin is also a possible cause of allergic reactions.
You can apply the lotion in damp, freshly shampooed hair. But that’s before conditioning the hair. After close to 10 minutes, rinse the hair and comb out all the nits. If you are not able to kill all the lice, make another application, at least s7 days afterward.
Hot air methods of killing lice are proven to have the ability to kill nits although they may not eliminate live lice. According to the results of a research study, it was established that a bonnet dryer can kill up to 89 percent of all the nits. It, however, was only able to kill 10 percent of the lice.
After washing your hair, rinse it and then use a hairdryer. This simple process ensures that you are able to get rid of a majority of the lice in your hair. Avoid using a hairdryer soon after using one of the chemical lice treatments. Your hair may catch fire due to the flammable ingredients contained in some of them.
This is an active ingredient contained in prescription lotions such as Natroba. It is a natural insecticide that’s made from bacteria that occur naturally in soil. Spinosad was approved for use by patients of age 4 and above after undergoing successful clinical trials.
In the first trial, 84.6 percent of patients were able to get rid of lice in just 14 days compared to 86.7 percent of the subjects in the second. This is much better than permethrin, which has been established to be effective up to 44.9 percent.
You apply it on the scalp and then work it into the dry hair from roots up to the ends. Let it stand for at least 10 minutes before rinsing it off.Once your hair is adequately clean, follow it up by combing the hair to remove any nits.
Perhaps the best lice treatment is to immerse your hair in a bathtub full of water. The only issue about this treatment is that it is not 100 percent foolproof. After all, lice are known to have the ability to survive after being immersed in water for a long time. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, lice may not die even after being immersed in chlorinated pool water.
Ivermectin lotion is made from soil bacteria. It works by paralyzing and killing lice as well as nits. You can use it to get rid of lice in children of age 6 months and above. Several clinical trials done on this lice treatment showed that it has the ability to completely fight lice from three-quarters of the bugs after the first application.
Users have to wait for two weeks to know if the treatment was actually effective. There is completely no need for combing the hair.
This is perhaps the best lice treatment, given that it has minimal side-effects. You only need to apply it to dry scalp and hair followed by a rinse after 10 minutes.
Petroleum Jelly or Hair Styling Gel
Applying petroleum jelly or hair styling gel is a proven head lice treatment. It works just like olive oil by suffocating lice. The jelly clogs the lice’s breathing holes, thus killing them off.
In one study, petroleum was established to be more effective than other home lice treatments. You need to be cautious when applying Vaseline, given that it may not be as effective and is hard to remove.
But how do you use this type of treatment?
Coat the scalp and hair and cover it overnight using a shower cap. As soon as you wake up the following morning, you can wash it off before combing it for any remaining nits. After a week, it is important to repeat the treatment.
Benzyl Alcohol Lotion (5 Percent)
This is a prescription lotion that has been on the market since 2009. It targets the breathing organs of lice, thus causing suffocation. As such, you cannot use it to get rid of nits.
You will need to use benzyl alcohol lotion twice to make it work effectively. In a clinical trial done on this treatment, it was established that it has the ability to completely get rid of lice by up to 76.2 percent a fortnight after a second treatment. It is a common prescription lotion for patients at the age of at least 6 months. Some of its side-effects include skin and eye irritation.
You can apply it by saturating the scalp and hair with the lotion. After a 10-minute wait, rinse out the lotion in a sink. You may want to shampoo your hair soon after that. Remove the lifeless lice and nits using a comp.
You may love your mayonnaise as part of a macaroni salad. However, it is also useful when it comes to treating head lice. It works by suffocating the lice. Given the tendency of lice to resist suffocation for long hours, this treatment may not work as expected. In fact, people who have used it have reported varied results.
The kind of mayonnaise that works well is that which is full of fat. Apply it liberally into your scalp and hair overnight and wear a shower cap. When you wake up in the morning, wash your hair using a shampoo and comp it and remove the nits. Do it again after one week to get rid of the lice that may have hatched from the nits that remained after the treatment.
Shrink-Wrapping the Hair
Don’t get confused. This treatment does not make use of any plastic wrap. Rather, a non-toxic product is applied to dry hair, after which it is combed and dried.You will have to repeat this 3 times, once every other week.
Some experts call it a lice-killing protocol. It is perhaps the best lice treatment, given that it is recommended by some doctors.In a study, this treatment has the ability to cure lice once the treatment is over. Another study found this treatment effective after a follow up 6 months later.
Dishwashing soap may not have the ability to kill lice, but it will help to remove petroleum jelly, hair styling gel, mayonnaise, salad oil after you have used it to suffocate lice. Without it, you would be forced to contend with greasy hair.
The dishwashing liquid cuts through the grease and disentangles it from the hair. Some dishwashing soaps can also loosen the adhesive substance that holds nits onto the hair shaft.
The reason vinegar is used is that it has the ability to dissolve the sticky substance used by a female louse to attach the eggs to the hair shafts. Vinegar contains acetic acid, which is good when it comes to preparing hair before nit combing.
That is especially after you have just completed a treatment to kill the bugs. This is a home lice treatment remedy and may not be clinically proven to work. The best option is white vinegar either in its concrete or diluted form.
Although they mainly live in hair, lice may get onto other items or surfaces that come into contact with the heads of the infected individuals. It is important to wash towels, scarves, caps, and beddings in hot water. Dry these items using a hot setting.
Soak your brushes and combs in boiling, soapy water. As for the car seats, upholstered furniture, pillows, and floors, have all these vacuumed. Keep non-washable items such as stuffed animals in a bag and seal it off for 2 weeks.
If you have never done it, nit-picking may prove to be very challenging. It is the fear of toxic remedies that has led to the flourishing of professionals that specialize in head lice treatment.
In the US, the National Association of Lice has been bringing together professionals in this field, since it was launched in 2012. You can ask your friends and family for recommendations.
This is perhaps the best lice treatment, given that it aims to prevent infestation by the bugs in the first instance. Start by thoroughly washing your head, although this may not guarantee the results you are looking for.
Avoiding head-to-head contact is the best policy. If you have long hair, turn it into braids or a ponytail. Avoid sharing pillows, scarves, hats, barrettes, brushes, and combs. You may want to spruce up your grooming products by adding drops of a choice essential oil to kick the lice out of your hair.
This vacuum cleaner look-alike is used to blast hot air onto the scalp and roots of the hair. Its work is to dry out the lice and nits up to 80 percent and 98 percent, respectively. The treatment is quick and safe, given that it doesn’t take more than 30 minutes.
Mainly a prescription insecticide, Malathion is used to kill lice and some nits. It is recommended for kids of age 6 months and above. Due to its flammable nature, it may cause second-degree burns and a stinging feeling on the scalp.
Apply it to dry hair and allow it to stay for between 8 to 12 hours. Avoid blow drying or exposing hair into which the lotion has been applied to a source of heat. After shampooing the hair, rinse it in a sink. If you notice any remaining bugs, repeat the treatment in 7 to 9 days.
This is perhaps the best lice treatment, given that it kills lice and nits. However, it can lead to serious side-effects if misused. This human carcinogen can cause seizures and even death. It is dangerous, even when used according to the doctor’s directions.
Don’t use it to treat lice in the elderly, children or individuals with a weight of fewer than 110 pounds. A doctor will prescribe it only if you have failed or can’t tolerate the other treatments.
Getting rid of lice is a war that should be approached from different fronts. Just one treatment is not enough to get rid of lice. Some of the chemical remedies may not be effective, especially where the bugs have grown resistant to the treatment.
Even so, some treatments only target the lice and not the nits and vice versa. Take time, even months so as to be sure that you have eradicated lice forever.