The Best Lice Comb for All Hair Types
So you’re dealing with head lice. That moment you get a call from the school nurse to say your child is infested, you feel slightly ill. Ugh. No one likes dealing with those nasties!
Your next concern is treating the creepy little crawlies as safely and effectively as possible. You need to be at work and your kid needs to be at school – no miniscule blood-sucker is standing in your way!
If you’re worried about the idea of over-the counter chemical treatments for head lice, this is a rightful concern. Studies have shown that head lice are increasingly resistant to common over-the-counter remedies. This includes the pyrethrin treatments that have been prevalently used for the last thirty years.
“Super lice” is the term for the new breed of treatment-resistant lice. Specifically, they remain unmoved by insecticide treatments. A 2014 study in the UK found that wet-combing hair was just as effective as permethrin treatments, due to this resistance.
Another concern with those insecticide treatments is the impact of the chemicals on your child. Permethrins are a known neurotoxin, and reactions can include a range of symptoms. Consider this:
“In 2008, the Center for Public Integrity analyzed 90,000 adverse reaction reports and found that health problems linked to pyrethroids had increased 300 times in 10 years.” (source)
This is definitely good cause to look for a safe, non-chemical treatment for head lice.
Lice combs are a simple, yet effective treatment, which don’t involve the use of nasty chemicals. Which is the best lice comb to use?
Regular steel lice combs
Lice combs have been used for years as a part of treatment regimens for infestations. The regular, old-fashioned steel lice comb is simply a very fine-toothed comb which gets run through hair to capture the nits (lice eggs). Usually, this is after using a shampoo or other treatment to kill the live lice.
For best results, combers should rinse the comb after each swipe through the hair. This ensures that you’re not putting eggs back in! Another important point is to keep combing for 8 – 10 days, as long as you see no new lice or eggs. This is the period it takes for a new egg to hatch.
These sorts of combs are still often used, although expert advice is to use metal rather than plastic versions. This is because the tines of metal combs tend to be narrower and more rigid, meaning they trap the eggs more efficiently.
A benefit of these combs is that they’re cheap and easy to use. They also may avoid chemical treatments. A distinct disadvantage is that they tend to be difficult to use in long, thick or curly hair. The combs can get stuck and it is challenging to do a thorough job with those hair types.
Moving on to more high-tech combs for lice treatment, there are a few different choices for vacuum combs out there on the market. These can also be a chemical-free treatment solution.
Vacuum combs work exactly as the name implies – by sucking up the live lice and nasty nits. Usually they have a collection chamber or bag in which the live catchment is captured. Yes, the lice are still alive, so if you’re squeamish, this may not be for you!
An advantage of vacuum combs is that the user doesn’t have to use shampoos first, as the device is applied directly to the hair. A disadvantage, however, is that the combs don’t kill the lice and they are reportedly difficult, or even painful, to use in very thick hair. They are noisy and may irritate children or anyone else who is sensitive to sound.
Electric lice combs
Electric lice combs are another chemical-free option. This option, however, stuns or kills the lice by using the comb. As the operator runs the comb through the hair, it removes the lice as well as the nits.
There is clinical evidence to prove the effectiveness of electric lice combs. While they don’t kill the eggs, users can successfully treat hair over the 8-10-day incubation period for the nits. They can eliminate lice without chemicals or mess.
Lice combs do emit a small, electrical noise but aren’t nearly as noisy as vacuum combs. Parents with sound-sensitive children may find this option less-scary to them. A disadvantage is that they’re not silent! Young children may be bothered by the buzzing sound.
As far as the operation of the comb, it is simple and safe. The operator and the infested person are protected from electric shock by rubber guards on the comb. The comb is suitable for use in all hair types, although those with thicker hair will need to be careful about sectioning it.
You’ll find that an electric lice comb such as the RobiComb®, is the best-selling lice comb on the market.
No matter what sort of comb you choose, you need to be prepared that you’ll need to use them over several days. While some combs are more effective than others, none of them kill the nit eggs. This means that there is a possibility of eggs being missed and hatching.
Lice combs are a safe, chemical-free option to treat an infestation. With a little persistence, you’ll have your child back to school in no time!
- LiceGuard Webmaster