The Better Natural Way to Treat Lice
Whether your children are heading off to summer camp or getting excited for a new year of school, it’s only natural to be feeling the stress. As your kids make new friends, some of those friends may be sharing more than hugs. Up to 12 million children contract head lice each year. Because many schools, camps and daycares require students to be free of lice and nits, that adds up to a lot of missed school and work for families. While there are chemical treatment options for head lice, there are also some natural lice treatments that can help get your kids back with their friends fast.
The good news is that as annoying as lice can be, they’re not normally a health problem. Head lice don’t spread diseases, although some people can be sensitive to their bites. Any time children are sharing brushes, combs, hair ties, clips, hats or taking selfies with their heads together, lice can jump from one head to another. Since an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, it’s a good idea to remind your children about head lice prevention before they run off with their new friends.
Natural Lice Treatment Options
Once you or your child has been infested with head lice, finding the right natural lice treatment options can be overwhelming. The market is filled with a wide range of options, from the not-so-natural chemical treatments, to more natural alternatives, like enzyme-based lice treatments, oil-based lice treatments, home remedies and the electric lice comb.
Some types of head lice are developing a resistance to chemical treatments, so many parents are opting for natural lice treatment options.
Natural Lice Treatment with Enzymes
There are some products on the market that treat head lice with specific enzymes. These enzymes break down the shell (exoskeleton) of the louse, causing it to die from dehydration. Natural lice treatment with enzyme shampoo is non-toxic, but the shampoo can be pricey. Because the enzymes only work on mature lice, it will require multiple treatments to end the infestation. Many of the natural lice treatments with enzyme shampoo require the shampoo to soak into the head for a long period of time (sometimes overnight), which may be difficult with younger children.
Natural Lice Treatment with Silicon Oil
Silicon oil is one of the latest natural lice treatments available. Unlike chemicals (which poison lice) or enzymes (which dissolve their shells), silicon oil works by suffocating the head lice. It doesn’t contain harsh chemicals, but like enzyme treatments, it’s not very effective on nits and nymphs (immature lice), so usage needs to be repeated regularly. Because the mechanism of action is suffocation, you’ll need a thick coating of oil on the hair, and it will need to sit on the hair and scalp overnight. The process will need to be repeated for about two weeks.
Home Remedies for Natural Lice Treatment
Some home remedies for natural lice treatment may be effective, others probably aren’t and some are downright dangerous. First, the dangerous: DO NOT use gasoline or any type of industrial solvent or flammable material to treat head lice. It is commonly advised as a home remedy for head lice, but gasoline is far from a natural lice treatment and is extremely dangerous.
Tea tree oil may be somewhat effective for natural lice treatment, although it’s probably not any more effective than coconut oil, olive oil, vegetable oil or mayonnaise. All of these substances may be effective in the same way that silicon oil is; they aim to suffocate the louse. Like silicon oil, they are messy, inconvenient and require multiple applications; however, they are a cheap option that might work for some people.
Natural Lice Treatment with the Electric Lice Comb
An electric lice comb is a natural lice treatment that’s easy to use, non-toxic and safe. It works by electrocuting lice as you run the comb through the hair. Since you can use the same electric lice comb for multiple family members, it’s a cost-effective option for families with multiple children who may be sharing the infestation at home.
The electric lice comb should only be used on clean, dry and tangle-free hair. Once the hair is thoroughly brushed, section the hair into one-inch sections and secure the sections with clips. Refer to your manufacturer’s instructions for details on how to use your specific model.
Once the electric lice comb is on, comb through each section carefully, starting at the ears and the nape of the neck. Work your way carefully through the hair. When the teeth of the comb encounter a louse, it will shock the insect, stunning it or killing it.
An electric lice comb like the RobiComb® requires no mess and no waiting period. Depending on the thickness of the hair, it can be finished in as little as 20 minutes, and it can be reused as often as necessary. While it can remove adult lice and nymphs, it may not get the tiniest of nits, so it’s important to repeat the combing process each day for about 10 to 14 days. Because this natural lice treatment is safe and hassle-free, some families will use it as a preventative measure when there’s an active outbreak in school or daycare.
Whether your kids come home scratching their heads, or you’ve gotten that frightening phone call from the school nurse, you don’t need to panic. There are natural lice treatment options designed to suit your family’s specific needs.
- LiceGuard Webmaster