Head lice treatments
Head lice and their removal has become one of the hottest topics in the playground. Along with the overwhelmingly large number of products available, talk to any group of mums and you'll find that almost every one of them will have some homebrew remedy.
If you're new to the lice game, try a range of products and settle on something that you're comfortable with.
You can attack a head lice problem by:
Hitting them strong and hitting them hard
There are a number of strong chemical products on the market. These seem to appeal and revolt parents in equal numbers. While some don't like the idea of strong chemicals in such close contact with their child's skin, others find it reassuring for the very same reason - if there's chemicals involved, they must be doing a thorough job.
Going the touchy-feely route
Also available are natural products based on essential oils and pyrethrin, which smell a lot better than the chemical-based products. Because these products aren't as strong as the chemical-based ones, they usually need to be left in the hair longer to take effect.
Cooking up some homebrew
Like all good homebrew recipes, everyone has a different one that they swear by. Mostly though, they are made up of things that you could find in the kitchen or bathroom. Almost all are bulked out with thick conditioner. Popular recipes usually include: tea-tree oil, eucalyptus oil, vinegar, olive oil, orange oil, lavender oil.
Trying the white conditioner treatment
Regular combing is the key to keeping lice under control. Apply a thick, white conditioner (it makes it easier to see the nits and lice against white) and using a nit comb, section the hair and carefully comb, wiping each comb-full of conditioner, nits and lice onto a paper towel. Keep combing until you can't see any more eggs or lice in the conditioner. Repeat after seven days.
Thoroughly douse your child's hair with vinegar and leave for 15 minutes to allow the vinegar to kill the lice. Apply the white conditioner treatment.
Using hair spray/ hair gel
During an infestation of nits, spray your child's hair with hairspray, or comb through hair gel to make it more difficult for the lice to attach to their hair shafts.
Head lice removal tips from the trenches
- Apply the treatment to dry hair and then WRAP IT UP. Use a shower cap, a plastic bag or glad wrap - whatever works - because the minute the treated hair starts to dry, the treatment ceases to work.
- Be generous with the treatment. Make sure that every part of the scalp and hair is covered with the treatment.
- Leave it in for a l-o-n-g time. Most treatments recommend leaving in for 10-20 minutes and if you're using strong chemicals you should heed this advice, but if your using essential oils you can really leave it in for as long as your child will tolerate it.
- Don't rush the combing. Doing the shampoo treatment is only half the job.
- Don't try to remove every egg because you'll only send yourself blind. If you follow treatment with repeat treatments every 3-4 days for two weeks, you'll catch the eggs as they hatch.
Mary, Kidspot mum says: "One thing I have found that is absolutely sensational (after you have done the treatments and pulled out the eggs), is to run your child's hair through the hair straightener. These are so hot that they tend to get to any eggs left over and scorch the life out of them. I did this with my daughter over a period of two or three days, and we never got them back. This was after a series of five ongoing episodes - I obviously didn't get them all the first time around."
Read more about head lice:
- Head lice and schools
- Facing the head lice challenge at back to school time
- 30 real life head lice cures from Kidspot mums (what works and what doesn't)
- The cheap and cheerful conditioner trick to banish lice
- Read about the new pill to cure head lice
- Head lice facts
- Head lice treatments
- What are nits
- What are head lice