Looking for a home remedies for head lice? These nasty little critters are becoming more and more common, so there’s no need to feel bad about having them in the family. Just be sure to get rid of them as fast as you can!
Of course, you can buy chemical treatments from the drugstore, but there are two possible problems with these. The first is that the lice may become immune to them, so they are not as effective as they once were.
The second is that you just might not want to put poisonous chemicals on your family’s scalp, to be absorbed into their young bodies. For these reasons, many people are turning to natural head lice remedies instead.
In fact, it’s not necessary to use any products at all. You can simply shampoo, comb out the nits (lice eggs) and search and destroy any live lice with tweezers. This is probably the most natural and time tested solution to head lice and it is one that is recommended by the National Pediculosis Association (yes, there’s an association for louse infestations!)
Combing and tweezing has two disadvantages over other methods, however. The first is that it takes time and requires a lot of patience from both parent and child. It’s not a lot of fun doing this to a squirming, complaining or crying kid. The second problem is that you may not get all of the lice the first time around, so they have a chance to spread to other family members or other kids in school.
A popular home remedy for head lice is to use a greasy substance like mayonnaise to suffocate the lice. You will need a jar of regular mayonnaise (not low fat) at room temperature – not straight from the refrigerator. Apply it in handfuls all over the hair, making sure to cover all areas. Leave for two hours with a shower cap over the head to stop it from dripping, then wash out with a couple of applications of regular shampoo. Repeat after 7 days.
If you prefer, you can use vaseline instead of mayonnaise. It may be less messy and it can be left on overnight. (You can’t do that with mayonnaise because of the risk of salmonella developing in the unchilled mayonnaise, and being eaten by the child.) But vaseline is harder to remove from the hair. You may need to use several applications of dishwashing liquid instead of shampoo and leave it on for a while each time before rinsing.
You will still need to deal with the eggs. You can begin by rinsing clean, wet hair with vinegar to loosen the eggs, then comb them out with a nit comb. When the hair is dry, check it carefully for remaining eggs. If there are just a few, the easiest way to get rid of them is to cut off the individual hairs that they are stuck to. Keep checking every day – any missed eggs will grow and become easier to see.
You may hear other parents talking about using dog shampoo on kids with head lice. This is just stupid. You wouldn’t feed your kids on dog food, so why wash them with dog shampoo? It contains the same kind of insecticidal chemicals as kids’ anti lice shampoos, but it also has other chemicals that are not safe for kids. So you might as well just use a child’s head lice product from the drugstore that will at least be FDA tested for use on children.
Another thing that you may hear about as a purported home remedy for head lice is kerosene. Please, do not use this highly flammable fuel on your hair or on your kids’ hair. It’s toxic, it will be absorbed through the scalp and could poison you.
Also, there is a risk that somebody with kerosene on their hair will go near a fire or a cigarette, catch on fire and have severe head and facial burns, probably scarring themselves for life. So please, never use kerosene as a home remedy for head lice or anything else.