“Not again, I have been infested by lice!”. “Please help me, I just found lice on my child’s head”. “I mean, this is unprecedented. I’ve never had lice before”. “What can I do to these ever-occurring and stubborn lice in my scalp?” “How can I treat these lice naturally?”
If any of these statements or words related to it is what you have been chanting for some time now, not to worry. This post has been specifically and carefully drafted for you from good researches made on 10 proven tips that can be used to treat head lice naturally.
This parasite (louse) is very common and can be found on human especially elementary school children. They live on the human scalp and feed on nothing else but the host’s (victim) blood.
Table of Contents
- What are Lice and Head Lice?
- What Are The Causes of Head Lice?
- What Are The Signs and Symptoms of Lice?
- Medical Approach for Treating Lice
- Prescription medications
- How to Get Rid of Lice Naturally?
According to Wikipedia, human beings are the only hosts of these wingless parasites while other species of lice are found on other mammals.
Let us go through at a quick review of these parasites and finally know the solution to apply in other to get rid of them entirely.
What are Lice and Head Lice?
Lice (the plural of the word louse) are tiny and wingless animals that live and feed (generally depends on blood) on human beings. The area in the body they are found determines the exact type of lice they are.
Head Lice are little wingless insects that live on human hair and survive by feeding on the blood gotten from the scalp. They are grey-white in colour and their nits (eggs) look like dandruff. Infestation occurs when they exist in a relatively large number and reproduce on an individual.
The lice found on the body are known as body lice while those found in the pubic region are called pubic lice.
What Are The Causes of Head Lice?
Head lice and other types of lice are usually gotten and easily spread from one individual to another. It is not caused by poor hygiene as some people think.
Sharing of personal items like combs, scarves, brushes, helmets, caps, headphones, pillows and clothing can spread head lice and other types of lice too. Pubic lice can also be spread through sexual contact.
You can only get lice from a human; pets do not get infested by head lice and therefore cannot spread lice.
What Are The Signs and Symptoms of Lice?
The common signs and symptoms you can get if you are infested by lice include:
- Lice on the scalp which are visible but usually hard to spot because they hide quickly and sharply.
- Nits (lice eggs) attached to hair shafts, very tiny and always camouflage.
- Frequent itching on the scalp, ears, and necks. Although these symptoms may not occur in the first few weeks you get infested by lice. This itching is usually severe if you are infested by pubic lice and body lice.
- A crawling sensation is felt once in a while due to the movement of these lice.
- Little red bumps may be sighted on your head, shoulders, neck or pubic region as a result of scratching.
Medical Approach for Treating Lice
Over-the-counter (OTC) products/medications and Prescription medications are the two approaches you can undergo for the medical treatment of lice.
The medical procedure your physician is likely to initially suggest is the use of OTC (over-the-counter) products.
You can also easily go to your pharmacy or any drug store to get any of these OTC products once you are very certain you are infested by lice. These medications are capable of killing lice and their nits.
These over-the-counter (OTC) medications are:
- Pyrethrins: They are capable of killing lice effectively and safely when you use them according to instructions. It is approved by the FDA for use on children aged 2 and above. Pyrethrins are good but they are incapable of killing unhatched nits (lice eggs). This is why it is usually recommended to treat your lice infestation again after 9 days to kill newly hatched lice. Do not use this product if you or your child is allergic to ragweed or chrysanthemums. According to Mayoclinic, pyrethrin is combined with another chemical to enhance its toxicity. You may get side effects like itching and redness.
- Permethrin: It is capable of killing lice and nits for several weeks after you have used it and rinsed it off. Permethrin is a synthetic pyrethrin. Side effects may be redness and itching of the scalp.
These medications are only available by prescription. Often times, your doctor will recommend its use when OTC did not work or when it has not been used according to instructions. These medications include:
- Benzyl alcohol (Ulesfia lotion): It deprives head lice of the oxygen they need for survival, eventually leading to their death. It is left for 10 minutes after application on the hair of the head and washed off. Despite the fact that it is very good for the treatment of lice, it has side effects like itching, irritation, redness of the scalp and show severe side effects on little children. So, it is not approved and should not be used for infants (below 6 months of age).
- Malathion lotion (Ovide): It is used for treating head lice. It can be used by children aged 6 and older. When you apply this lotion, leave it to dry for 8 to 12 hours and rinse off thereafter. You can undergo a second treatment if you still notice lice. Make sure you do not use a hair dryer and an electric heater or go near any flame because malathion is a flammable product. It contains a high percentage of alcohol.
- Lindane shampoo: The use of this shampoo is usually the last treatment to be considered when the use of other medications has failed to treat lice effectively because of its toxicity and serious side effects. If should be totally avoided by infants, HIV-positive individuals, pregnant women, breast-feeding women, individuals with a history of seizure, individuals that weigh less than 110 pounds and elderly.
How to Get Rid of Lice Naturally?
We recommend the natural home remedies for lice treatment because they are not only effective and give good outcomes, but they do not have side effects like medical treatments do.
This is a good reason why you should treat lice naturally with these cheap but 10 efficient natural approaches and agents.
1. Try Wet-combing
Wet combing is a natural way you can remove lice with comb from your hair and scalp without eliminating them through the use of any chemical.
It is a safe and natural treatment of head lice and it can be done on any individual of any age. You do not need or require any chemical products or medications before you can carry out this treatment.
You only have to wet and lubricate your hair and use a unique fine-toothed nit comb to thoroughly comb your hair and scalp. You can buy a fine-toothed nit comb at any large retail shop or grocery store.
The only issue with this type of natural treatment is that it consumes time a lot and may not be as effective as other natural treatment.
- The first step is to wet your hair with water or wash it with your shampoo and finally rinse it.
- Apply conditioner to your hair for lubrication.
- Ensure your hair is properly untangled. You can use your regular comb to do this.
- You can section your hair for organized combing if you desire.
- Comb your hair thoroughly from the roots of your hair, making sure it reaches your scalp, to the tips of your hair.
- Always check your comb for lice and eggs. If you see any, rinse your comb with hot water and wipe it with a tissue before you proceed with combing.
- Separate the sections you have combed very well from the sections that you are about to.
- Take your time to apply this procedure well and repeat the routine 3 to 4 times a day. Do this for three or four days a week until you notice your scalp and hair is free of lice.
2. Abstain from Flammable Products
Whether you have lice or not, always avoid flammable products.
When you are trying to find a remedy for your lice, make sure you never use any flammable chemical like gasoline and kerosene. There are high chances of catching fire if your hair is exposed to flames.
So, abstain from them.
3. Avoid Sharing Personal Items
It is imperative that you take this instruction serious because contrary to the general belief that head lice are as a result of poor hygiene, it is actually transmitted and spread from one person to another through close contact.
Even if some people may prefer medical treatment, this is a treatment measure you have to apply because lice can get back to your body through personal items they live in.
Generally, the best thing is to have and use your items like a comb, brush, scarf, cap, hat, and clothing alone without sharing them.
This is a good way of preventing and reducing the spread and transmission of lice; especially the head lice.
Let any individual who wants to use any of these items know you are under lice treatment and they should avoid the use of these personal items.
Always place your hats, caps, hair ribbons, scarves and fabrics in separate places because head lice are capable of clinging on them and could spread from them to other individuals.
Soaking your brushes and combs in hot water for a few minutes is also a good habit especially when you have head lice. Wash your clothing and other fabrics in hot soapy water and heat-dry them.
4. How to Treat Lice With Tea Tree Oil
Just as tea tree oil is good for naturally treating dandruff; it is also an effective remedy for the treatment of head lice. The interesting part is that the use of tea tree oil for the treatment of head lice has no side effects.
It has an insecticidal property that makes it kill lice and their eggs effectively, although an unyielding conclusion of how it happens is still under scientific research.
It possesses natural antibacterial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties.
Tea tree oil dissolves the strongly attached louse eggs in the hair shaft which makes them easy to remove from your hair.
- It is important that you dilute the tea tree oil before use. Mix one tablespoon of pure tea tree oil, one ounce of shampoo and three tablespoons of coconut oil together.
- Apply the mixture to your scalp and hair thoroughly.
- Use your shower cap to cover your head or wrap it with your towel.
- Leave it for 30 minutes to an hour.
- Wash your hair very well with warm water or shampoo it.
- Comb your hair thoroughly for the removal of dead lice.
- Repeat this procedure regularly for good results.
PS: Ensure that you always dilute or mix tea tree oil. Do not apply tea tree oil to your head alone.
Another effective way of using tea tree oil is by mixing a half tablespoon of lavender oil with a tablespoon of tea tree oil. Apply the mixture to your scalp, rinse it with warm water and comb your hair well.
This treatment has been proven to effectively kill lice and nits. It also repels head lice from your hair.
5. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is another good essential oil you can consider if you want an effective treatment of head lice. It has antimicrobial and antifungal properties.
It is said to suffocate lice. It has a lubricating nature which prevents the free movement and growth of lice.
Apart from the fact that it helps to fight lice and prevent lice, it also supports efficient hair growth, fights dandruff, acts as a good moisturizer and a natural deep conditioner.
Coconut oil also prevents future infestation of lice because of its strong repelling nature.
- Apply coconut oil on your hair and scalp. Massage thoroughly.
- Cover your head with your shower cap or your towel.
- Leave it for two to three hours or overnight.
- After that, remove the suffocated lice and nits from your hair by combing it.
- Lastly, shampoo your hair well.
- This should be repeated at least five times a week for best results.
Due to the fact that coconut oil does not dissolve glued lice eggs that stick to your head, it is advisable that you initially apply apple cider vinegar to your hair, rinse it, allow your hair dry and finally apply the coconut oil method for effective and suitable results.
6. Petroleum Jelly
It does not matter if you have plant allergy or not, petroleum jelly is a good and safe household product you can use for treating head lice infestations.
Petroleum jelly, which is also known as Vaseline, kills head lice because of its suffocating nature.
This smothering agent does not contain any chemical that kills lice but instead, suffocates them. It deprives the nits in your hair and scalp of the air they require for survival.
- Apply and massage petroleum jelly to your hair in the night. Ensure it reaches your scalp too.
- Wrap your head well with a towel or wear your shower cap firmly and leave it overnight.
- In the morning, apply baby oil to your hair in other to remove the petroleum jelly because of its sticky nature on the hair.
- Shampoo and wash your hair thoroughly.
- Comb your hair to remove all the dead lice and lice eggs.
- Repeat the procedure for 4 to 6 nights in a row for several weeks.
You can also use butter to treat head lice the exact way petroleum jelly is used because it is also a smothering agent.
Just like some individuals do not personally like the strong scent of garlic, so does lice.
The heavy fragrance of garlic suffocates lice and eventually kills them.
- Get garlic and lime juice.
- Grind the garlic cloves into a paste and mix it with the lime juice.
- Apply the mixture to your hair and scalp.
- Leave it for 20 to 30 minutes.
- Rinse your hair and scalp well using hot water.
- Comb your hair thoroughly to remove dead lice on your head.
- Do this regularly for good results.
8. How to Use Olive Oil For Head Lice
Another very effective suffocating agent that works well for the treatment of lice is olive oil.
Aside from the fact that you get rid of lice, its antifungal properties also help to treat and fight against other hair and scalp problems like dandruff, itchy scalp, hair loss, etc.
Olive oil heals brittle hair, moisturizes the hair during winter, and makes your hair healthy and soft because it contains antioxidants.
- Apply the olive oil to your hair thoroughly and massage well.
- Cover your hair with a shower cap and leave it overnight.
- Comb your hair well the next morning.
- Wash your hair and scalp with a good shampoo.
- Repeat daily until you get a satisfying result.
This is another effective smothering agent that gets rid of head lice infestations.
It suffocates the nits and lice on your head, depriving them of sufficient air.
- Apply mayonnaise all over your scalp and hair well at night.
- Cover your hair with your towel or shower cap.
- Leave it overnight.
- Comb and wash your hair thoroughly with shampoo for removal of lice.
- Repeat this remedy daily.
10. Use Neem oil
Neem oil has proven to be one of the most effective home remedies for the treatment of lice.
This vegetable oil has a strong odor that kills lice effectively. It is capable of disrupting the growth and production of lice on your hair. Neem oil has good soothing and healing properties too when applied.
- Rub your entire hair and scalp with neem oil.
- Leave it for 10 to 20 minutes or overnight (wear your shower cap or tie with a towel).
- Wash and rinse your hair the next morning.
- Do this daily for two weeks to get best results.
Don’t forget to leave your comments below if you have any questions, observations and if you find this article helpful.