Let’s face it: some parents don’t want to expose their children to moderately hazardous lice medications and treatments. After all, you’re putting a specially formulated insecticide on your child’s head.For the parents who would like to try other options, there are a host of natural lice treatments. I’ve heard mixed reviews about the results, though. Because of this, commercial products may be necessary to take care of infestations.
Natural lice removal techniques
If you’d like to attempt some safe home remedies, you can try to:
- Massage your child’s head and hair with olive oil. Leave the oil on for one to twelve hours (depending on the severity of infestation), then shampoo twice to remove. Comb out nits and lice with a fine toothed comb.
- Because of its antiparasitic properties, cinnamon is known to fight head lice. If you’re in the mood to experiment, sprinkle some cinnamon in the olive oil hair treatment.
- Massage infested hair, roots and scalp with real mayonnaise. Make sure the hair is very greasy, then cover hair with a shower cap. Leave the mayonnaise on for two hours, then shampoo hair. Rinse with white vinegar, then rinse again with water. Comb any remaining lice or nits out of hair with a fine toothed comb.
- Lice can’t stand to be around tea tree oil. To treat an infestation, apply two to three drops of tea tree oil to the scalp. (Be careful to avoid getting tea tree oil in eyes.) If you’d like, dilute the tea tree oil with olive oil. Leave the oil on for thirty minutes, then carefully comb with a fine toothed comb to remove lice and nits. To use tea tree oil as a lice deterrent, add a couple drops of tea tree oil to shampoo. It’s very important that pregnant women and children younger than five years old do NOT use tea tree oil.
- Flat iron lice-infested hair.
- Wet hair with water and use a fine toothed comb and tweezers to remove lice and nits from hair. Repeat the process every day until the lice are gone. While this is time-consuming, it’s free and doesn’t involve any medications or homemade remedies. (Removing lice and nits by hand is the only way to treat a lice infestation in children younger than 3 years old.)
Other pesticide-free solutions
If you’d like to try a pesticide-free treatment, ask your doctor about a prescription for Ulesfia, a lotion made of benzyl alcohol.Or, check out Happyheads Natural Lice Treatments. Formulated by a mother who was concerned about the chemicals in typical anti-lice medications, Happyheads offers lice removal kits and nontoxic lice shampoos. LiceLogic is another fantastic – and safe – brand.
Once lice are removed from hair, it’s important to remove all lice and their eggs from your home to prevent a reinfestation. Be sure to:
- Soak all combs, brushes, barrettes, hair bands and hair ties in rubbing alcohol for one hour. (Or, if they’re replaceable items, just throw them away.)
- In very, very hot water, wash all bed linens, pillows, stuffed animals and clothing that have been recently used by anyone in your home who is infested. Then, dry at your dryer’s hottest setting for at least a half an hour.
- Store plush toys, clothing or linens that can’t be washed and dried in an airtight bag for at least two weeks.
- Vacuum all carpets, mattresses and upholstered furniture in your home, as well as the interior of your car.
- Examine the scalps of everyone in your house every two to three days.
To prevent lice infestation, try these simple tips:
- Avoid head-to-head contact with other children – whether it’s at school, on playgrounds or during playdates.
- Do not share hats, scarves, brushes, combs, ribbons, hair ties, barrettes, helmets, or pillows with others.
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