Lice are a bad news for your hair. Most people immediately avoid you once they hear you have lice in your hair, for fear of getting it too. Unlike other hair conditions, lice are considered very serious because of the general belief that it very difficult and stressful to totally remove it from one’s hair. Due to this, many resort to cutting off their hair completely. In this article, I share 15 simple and effective ways to get rid of lice so you can finally have a clean and healthy hair.
Once you discover lice in your hair, do not freak out. Killing the more visible adult lice may not end your problem, the tiny eggs (nits) that may be glued to your hair shaft can survive some treatments. Alternatively, a treatment may destroy the nits while having little or no effect on the adult lice. Therefore, it is best to calm down and put together effective treatment(s) that will kill off both nits and adult lice.
You can effectively get rid of head lice using these simple ways:
1. Get a hair sweep with louse buster: In a study carried out in 2006, this mini-machine was found to destroy 90% nits and 80% live lice. Louse buster is like a vacuum cleaner but with an extra feature of a brush nozzle. This nozzle should be focused on your hair as the heat coming from it dries out the lice and nits attached to your hair and scalp. Make sure to get a certified operator for this treatment. You only need to spend 30 minutes tops for this procedure.
2. Nit picking: Though picking out all the nits in your hair may require lots of efforts from lots of people, it is one of the safest and most effective ways to get rid of head lice. Due to the risk of side effects from the use of chemicals against lice, you may opt for a non-chemical treatment. Hire a reliable de-lousing service to help you with this.
3. Try the shrink-wrap procedure: Contrary to what springs to mind at the mention of this procedure, shrink-wrap does not involve wrapping your head with plastic. Apply a mild (non-toxic) cleanser to your hair, comb it out thoroughly without hurting yourself then blow dry your hair. Do this once a week for 3 weeks. This procedure was approved in 2004 as the procedures were laid out in the journal Paediatrics. About 96% total success was reported after a 3 week trial and 94% of the participants remained live free after 6months.
4. Benzyl alcohol (5%) lotion treatment: You should know that this treatment though effective against lice, does not kill nits. It is a prescription lotion that shuts off the breathing channel of lice, causing its death. An average of 75% of participants of two trials who used this treatment were free of head lice after 14 days of second treatment. Use this lotion liberally on your dry hair (make sure it fills your hair) and rinse off after 10 minutes. Shampoo your hair, wash off and comb if out with a nit comb.
5. Use your hair dryer: Comparative study shows that using hot air on lice infested hair is more effective against nits than lice. The study revealed that a blow dryer with direct heat killed 98% of nits and only 55% of lice. Wash your hair before using your hair dryer to channel heat onto it. Using heat on wet hair increases the possibility of killing the nits. Never use hot air dryer on your hair after applying chemical to it.
6. Pyrethrum active agent: Made from chrysanthemum flowers, this substance is also sold over the counter. It eliminates lice by destroying its nervous system. Though generally effective, most lice have developed resistance to it. However, you will never know if the head lice you have is resistant to pyrethrum until you try it. Bear in mind that you may react to this, so watch out for side effects as you use it. Apply the product containing pyrethrum to your hair. Add water after 10mins. Rub your hair together to form lather, make sure pyrethrum and water get to your scalp and hair root. Rinse off and comb out dead lice. Repeat after one week to wash off any dead lice.
7. Permethrin(1%) lotion treatment: Permethrin which is the synthetic form of pyrethrum have the same effect on lice. Use permethrin on your hair after applying enough shampoo (do not use conditioner). Rinse off after 10mins and comb out the nits. Repeat this the following week to kill off any remaining lice.
8. Try Ivermectin based lotion: Made from soil bacteria, this lotion is very effective against lice and can be used on both adults and children above 6months. Ivermectin(0.5%) lotion was approved for use against lice in 2012. It renders lice paralysed causing the death of both the young and adult, with very few cases of side effects (skin and eye irritation). Put lotion all over your dry hair and wash off after 10minutes.
9. Malathion (0.5%) lotion: Commonly used as an effective insecticide, malathion destroys more live lice than nits. The CDC does not recommend this for children below 6years. Be very careful when using this product. Avoid using heat or hot air on hair containing this product. It is very flammable and may sting or cause second degree burns. Make sure your hair is dry before applying this lotion. Wash off in a sink after 8-12 hours then air dry your hair. You can repeat the process after a week to kill off any remaining lice.
10. Tea tree oil (1%) and nerolidol(2%) mixture: You may be familiar with the use of tea tree oil against hair lice but recent research has shown that products with tea tree oil(1%) and nerolidol(2%) are 100% effective against lice at any stage. You can also get these substances and carefully mix them in the stated ratio. Apply to your hair before bed, make sure to cover your pillow with a clean towel. Comb out your hair in the morning to remove all dead lice. You can repeat this procedure for 3 days.
11. Oil extract of neem seed: This treatment though effective against lice tackles nits specially by preventing the embryos from accessing oxygen, therefore suffocating them. Add neem seed extract to your regular shampoo and wash your hair with it (make sure you scrub your scalp thoroughly). Rinse off the shampoo and carefully comb hair out part by part.
12. Eucalyptus oil treatment: Known as a powerful fumigant, this oil kills live lice resistant to chemical. Mix eucalyptus oil with olive oil and apply to your hair and scalp. Cover your hair with a shower cap and leave overnight. Comb hair out in the morning to remove dead lice then rinse hair as usual.
13. Dimeticone lotion treatment: This silicone-based insecticide kills lice by blocking its breathing and excretory tubes. Apply lotion to hair and scalp, leave for 8hours. Wash off with shampoo and comb hair out. Repeat after one week to kill off remaining lice.
14. Wash your hair with 1% lindane based shampoo: Lindane though very effective against lice, may be carcinogenic if used excessively. It is only recommended for people who have tried all treatments against lice without positive results. Nevertheless if you still want to use this neurotoxin, make sure that its concentration is not more than 1%. Never use on children.
15. Combined treatment: Total eradication of head lice may require a combination of two or three treatments. Some lice may be resistant to a single treatment but when you combine more of them, you will achieve more success. As you try these treatments you will discover which one works best for you. Remember to also sterilize every object you use for your hair to avoid re-infestation.
This video will teach you more on the various procedures used to treat head lice.