Top 10 Natural Remedies For Head Lice

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Top 10 Natural Remedies For Head Lice
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Head lice are wingless parasites that reside on human scalp and hair shafts. This type of parasite can survive for 30 days feeding off on blood sucked from the infested individual. Head lice are common in school-aged girls and women and are easily transmitted. Boys are not exempted from head lice but they are less frequented mainly because their hair is shorter in length. Contrary to popular belief, having lice hanging around your hair is not an indication that you have poor hygiene practices. Head lice causes itchiness and red bumps on the scalp, but they are not vectors of any disease; hence their existence is considered more of a cosmetic problem rather than a medical one. [1] How does a person come in contact with head lice? When he or she comes in close contact with someone infested with head lice, sharing personal items like combs and borrowing clothes from that person. As soon as you realize your hair is infested with head lice, make it your immediate goal to eradicate the problem, or else head lice will crawl and transfer to everyone’s hair before you know it.

10 Ways for Treating Head Lice at Home

Survival rate of head lice is not long once they fall from someone’s head and do not feed. However, the problem lies in wiping them out as they are not so easy to get rid of. There are pesticide and insecticide-based shampoos and other hair treatments, but the ingredients might be too harsh for a delicate human scalp, especially in children’s. Good thing there are alternative treatments that are being used nowadays without using chemicals. They are all natural, safe home remedies that are proven effective in making head lice leave.

1. Nit Combs: – Nit combs are very effective in separating head lice from human hair. Since this type of comb is very fine-toothed, nit combs work through the hair in small sections. This manner is a successful method of weaving out the lice from the hair. If you feel you are infested with head lice, comb your dry hair with nit comb at least 3 times a day. If you feel that the head lice infestation is stronger than you initially thought, you can use nit combs on a daily basis. Make sure you thoroughly clean your nit comb every after use. Methods of cleaning include soaking used nit combs in vinegar at least 30 minutes or place in a boiling water for 10 minutes.

2. Tea Tree Oil: – Tea tree oils have anti-insecticidal properties; [2] therefore a bottle of tea tree oil at home is your key to defending you or your kid’s hairs from head lice. While you cannot spray tea tree oil directly over the scalp (might lead to unwanted reaction), you can spray a few mists of the essential oil all over the nit comb, then comb it thoroughly in your hair. If you are treating a kid’s hair, mix a few drops of tea tree oil into a regular shampoo. Apply the mixture as a normal shampoo massaging the hair for at least 30 minutes.

3. Neem Oil: – Neem tree is an evergreen common in India. It is said that the oil coming from neem trees is an effective repellent against head lice. A study conducted 2 years ago has proved the anti-insecticidal attributes of the said oil. The proponents of the study applied neem oil-based shampoo to 12 children infested with head lice. After the first application, they found out that all of the head lice were gone. [3] Like tree oil, neem oil cannot be applied directly over the human scalp. It needs to be mixed with a carrier oil (olive oil coconut oil or jojoba oil) or with a shampoo.

4. Vinegar: – The acidity of the vinegar prevents the ability of the eggs to adhere to the hair, thus dissolving the mucilage that allows the eggs to stick to the hair shaft. 4 Vinegar also brings back the pH balance of the hair, making the scalp an unfavorable environment for head lice to thrive. Wash your hair with full strength vinegar, and leave it on for a few minutes then nit comb hair. Shampoo hair to remove the smell, or you can douse your hair again with vinegar for another round of treatment.

5. Mayonnaise: – Mayonnaise is paired with sandwiches, macaroni, and… head lice? The sticky texture of mayonnaise, when applied on hair, cuts down the respiration process among head lice. These wingless insects breathe by opening and closing their sides. [5] So when hair is drenched with mayonnaise, head lice literally cannot breathe properly. Apply a generous amount of mayonnaise all over your hair, put on a shower cap and leave it overnight. Wash with shampoo the morning after.

6. Hair Gel or Petroleum Jelly: – If there are products that work best in suffocating head lice, hair styling gel and petroleum jelly top the list. The goo prevents head lice from breathing properly, thus squishing their lifelines. If you find petroleum jelly too hard to remove, you can use any hairstyling gel as a replacement. Apply liberal amounts of petroleum jelly or hair gel all over your hair, cover with a shower cap then go to sleep. Wash and nit comb your hair the following morning.

7. Olive Or Coconut Oil: – It has been established that olive oil works like magic in eradicating head lice. [6] Perhaps one of the best suffocating agents available at home, olive oil also does a great job in keeping your hair moisturized and healthy. Coconut oil also has benefits with regard to nits and liberal use before using nit combs makes the eggs fall out of the hair much more readily. Saturate your entire hair with olive oil and cover with a shower cap. Leave it on overnight, at least 8-10 hours. Make sure the pillows are protected with a towel as the some may drip and stain your beddings. Before washing, comb your hair using a high quality nit comb. Do this every other day for the nest 3 weeks, or until head lice are completely eradicated.

8. Hairdryer: – Eradicating nits can be achieved via the hot-air method, but not so much effective in killing head lice. [7] Blow dry hair upside down as this will give the appliance a better shot in aiming for the scalp.

9. Wash Items Belonging to the Infected Person: – To prevent re-infection, wash the belongings (pillows, beddings, scarf, etc.) that have been in close contact with the affected family member with hot water and let air dry. While washing, you can mix some of the home remedies mentioned earlier like tea tree oil, neem oil, vinegar and olive oil in the washing water. Make sure to rinse all items with hot water and let air dry. Furnishings such as armchairs sat on by infected person also should be thoroughly vacuumed.

10. Prevention is Always Better than Cure: – Avoid head to head contact as much as possible. If you and your kids have long hair, tie them up in a ponytail or a braid. Head lice like to invade a dirty place so wash your hair frequently with a shampoo, and condition hair at least twice a week to keep it healthy and shiny.

References:

[1] “Head louse.” Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Head_louse

[2] Hicks, Marie. “Kill Head Lice with Tea Tree Oil.” Yahoo! Voices. http://voices.yahoo.com/kill-head-lice-tea-tree-oil-5937604.html?cat=25

[3] Wong, Kathy. “Neem Oil.” Alternative Medicine. About.com. http://altmedicine.about.com/od/herbsupplementguide/a/Neem-Oil.htm

[4] “20 Ways to Kill Head Lice- Vinegar.” Health. http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20641598_16,00.html

[5] Dachis, Adam. “Kill Lice with Mayonnaise.” Lifehacker. http://lifehacker.com/5958579/kill-lice-with-mayonnaise

[6] “Treating yourself and your children for head lice using an olive oil protocol.” http://www.aaps.k12.mi.us/eberwhite.parents/files/oliveoiltreatment.pdf

[7] “20 Ways to Kill Head Lice- Hair dryers.” Health. http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20641598_7,00.html

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