Medications & Home Remedies for Head Lice

Head lice are one of the most common infestations in human history. This is a condition mainly common in children between 3 and 11 years old. Research shows that lice can happen in 6 – 12 million school kids on a yearly basis. Fortunately, nowadays, there are many lice treatments and precautions you can take to get rid of or keep lice at bay.

Lice Treatment Medications & Hair Supplies

lice_treatment_hair_suppliesThe good news is, lice can be effectively treated at home. Depending on the condition and form of lice, you can use an over-the-counter or prescription lice treatment. Generally speaking, the most effective hair supplies for lice are metal head lice combs, shampoos, lotions and cream rinses. These can be used on both children and adults, however, if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, consult with your doctor to find the best lice treatment that is safe to use in your condition.

Popular Over-the-Counter (OTC) Lice Treatments

head-lice-treatment_otcOTC lice testaments with pesticides, usually contain the following active ingredients:

  • The piperonyl butoxide with pyrethrins lice treatment can be used in children not smaller than 2 years. Before using it, make sure your kid doesn’t have an allergy to this ingredient.
  • Permethrin lotion 1% usually comes in the form of shampoo and is approved to be used even on babies.
    The best OTC lice treatment without pesticides is dimethicone. This hair care product is quite effective as it coats lice and interferes with their ability to survive in water. This product might be more effective than those containing pesticides.

Whether you opt for pesticide-based products or not, don’t use more than the recommended amount of the product. Combining different products should also be avoided in order to prevent scalp irritations. If you see no improvement after the use of OTC treatments, you should consult with your doctor, they might prescribe you a stronger product.

Popular Prescription Medications for Lice Treatment

Prescription Medications

Benzyl Alcohol

This medication is designed to kill active lice (not the eggs). It can be used by pregnant and breastfeeding women and by children of ages 6 months and older. In order to be more effective, you should first comb the hair, apply the product on dry hair and let it sit for about 10 minutes. This treatment should be repeated after a week.

Ivermectin

A lotion that is designed to kill all types of head lice even the ones that have just hatched. There is no need for combing out the lice eggs prior to or after its use. It can be used by older children and babies older than 6 months.

Malathion

This is a strong lotion that has the ability to paralyze and kill lice and lice eggs. Since this is a quite strong product, it shouldn’t be used on children younger than 6 years. If you see lice movement after the 7th or 9th day after the treatment, you should apply it one more time. An important thing to know is that this product is flammable, so make sure you stay away from heat sources and cigarettes when applying it and when still on the head.

Spinosad

Another strong lice product that can kill nits and live lice with just one treatment. Unlike malathion, this product can be used on kids above 4 years old.

How to Use Lice Treatments?

use_lice-treatmentsAlthough each treatment is different, there are some general rules that you should follow. If needed, you should comb the hair with a fine-tooth comb or one specially designed for lice. When applying a lotion or shampoo on the head, make sure you do it over the sink or tub.

Home Remedies

essential-oils-liceIn case you want to try fighting lice with something more natural, you can always rely on home remedies.

Essential Oils

Besides being used in aromatherapy, essential oils have also proven to be great in repelling insects and head lice. Certain types of essential oils like tea tree oil, eucalyptus, lavender, geranium and rosemary can act as extremely effective lice treatment options. So, the next time you decide to buy essential oils for sinus relief or just for relaxation, make sure to also buy one of the aforementioned types. If you buy essential oils of this kind, especially lavender and tea tree, you’ll be able to use them for more than just lice, as they offer a truly diverse range of benefits.

How Do Essential Oils Work?

Just like mosquitos and sharks, lice have a keen sense of smell which explains why they are attracted to human blood. Since they are so sensitive to smell, they run away from scents they don’t like, some of them being the scents of essential oils. In order to use them, it’s advised to mix essential oils with a carrier oil like coconut, olive oil, almond or grapeseed to prevent skin irritations. For instance, you can mix a 50ml carrier oil with 10 drops of eucalyptus essential oil, 15 drops of lavender, 10 drops of rosemary and several drops of tea tree essential oil. Once done, wet your hair and massage the oil into the scalp. Leave it for 1 hour and then comb your hair in small sections with a fine-toothed nit comb. This natural mask will suffocate live lice and will make removing lice eggs easier.

Smothering Agents

You can also try to suffocate and kill lice by applying greasy substances (mayonnaise, petroleum jelly and olive oil) on your hair and scalp. Apply one of them thoroughly on your scalp and hair, cover your head with a shower cap and leave it overnight. Rinse it off with lukewarm water in the morning.

Wet Combing

This is one of the oldest tricks for removing head lice, but it’s the slowest in progress. In order to remove active lice and their eggs, you’ll have to thoroughly comb every section of your hair and do it every week for at least 3 weeks. However, wet combing won’t get rid of all lice eggs, so you might need to remove them with your hands.