Photo by Gilles San Martin. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.

How to Treat Head Lice

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Head lice are insects that live on the scalp and are very tiny creatures. They are usually brownish gray in color. Oftentimes people confuse them for dandruff. Along with lice are head lice eggs, which look like poppy seeds.

Lice live by sucking the blood of their host. Most children get them by their heads coming into contact with another child’s head or they can be contracted by sharing the hat or comb of another child that has lice. One of the first symptoms to determining whether you have head lice is the constant itching of your scalp and noticing that your scalp has sores.

Applying an effective treatment is crucial to ridding you of the problem. Waiting to do so will cause an infestation and thus make it more difficult to treat. That is why it is of utmost importance to treat lice in hair immediately.

One thing’s for sure is that once you determine you have head lice, and head lice eggs, you want them gone. In this article we will discuss how to treat head lice and what you can do to ensure that they won’t come back again.

Over the Counter Treatments and Natural Products

Most over the counter treatments for head lice contain extracts of chrysanthemums or synthetic versions of this component. Sometimes this treatment may not be the best treatment for head lice since studies have shown that lice may have become resistant to these treatments. Some over the counter remedies may not be suitable for young children. Therefore, it’s best to speak to your doctor about how to treat head lice.

RID lice treatment carries a variety of products to kill lice and lice eggs. This treatment contains piperonyl butoxide and pyrethrum extract. According to the CDC, pyrethrins along with piperonyl butoxide are found in most over the counter treatments. This includes RID lice treatment. Pyrethrins are extracts from the chrysanthemum flower and they are effective at treating live lice. From shampoos to at home treatment kits, their product is ranked #1 among other store bought brands.

Clear Lice is an at home treatment that contains natural botanicals, plant extracts, enzymes, salts, proteins, and essential oils. These ingredients help to dissolve the lice and their eggs. Another benefit of this product is that lice cannot find a way to become immune to it.

Prescription Medications

Malathion lotion is an effective treatment for combating lice and their eggs because it treats both problems simultaneously. According to the CDC website, malathion lotion helps to kill live lice and some lice eggs. While this treatment has been shown to be effective, it does have a tendency to cause skin irritation, so it’s best to first do a small test on the skin before applying it to the scalp.

Spinosad 0.9% topical suspension is a derivative of soil bacteria. This treatment is successful at killing live lice as well as unhatched eggs, therefore more than one treatment is not likely needed.

Home Remedies for Lice

There are a variety of treatments for head lice and their eggs. Many people use mayonnaise as a way to treat lice in hair. Mayonnaise is thought to smother the lice and the eggs. Mayonnaise also contains oil, vinegar and lemon juice, all of which help to treat lice and their eggs in different ways. Oil is effective for treating adult head lice.

Vinegar and lemon juice are effective treatments for treating head lice eggs. Vinegar is also believed to dissolve the cohesiveness of the nits, which keep them stuck to the hair.

A few important tips to remember is that even though mayo contains vinegar, the amount in it is not strong enough to work effectively for treating lice, you’d have to use it in the correct proportions for killing lice eggs. Also, when using mayonnaise, make sure you buy the regular mayo and not the low-fat kind because the lower fat version doesn’t contain enough oil in it.

A fine toothed comb is another way to treat head lice. This remedy helps to pull out lice and nits from the hair shaft and scalp. This can be somewhat time-consuming, therefore, you might consider washing and conditioning the hair with medicated shampoo and conditioner first.

You might decide that you need to use more than one treatment to help you rid yourself of lice and a potential infestation. And that’s entirely up to you and what fits your lifestyle. Now that you know that there are a variety of treatments available you can make a more informed decision before forgoing treatment. Whether it’s home remedies for lice that you’re interested in trying or over the counter remedies for head lice, you have many choices when it comes to getting rid of the problem.


Main photo by Gilles San Martin. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.