Treating head lice in 2022
It's 2022 and it’s never been easier to treat for head lice…. Without using chemicals and making the eyes water or the nose tingle!
Back when I started Tangled Kids Hair Care (what feels like an eternity ago but is over 8 years) I started offering an in-home head lice eradication treatment.
I used to travel to client homes and treat family members for head lice and remove all the eggs.
So many families struggle to treat head lice and get rid of them and there was massive confusion as to how to do it and what to use.
Being a hairdresser, I have used most products available in the market, and the only product I use on my own family and recommend is Licener Single Treatment (made by Mayne Pharmaceutical)
What I love about Licener is that it is a single treatment, which kills head lice and their eggs in one ten-minute application. And that Licener is Insecticide free and doesn’t have that NASTY smell which makes the eyes water and the nose tingle…..
As Licener kills lice and their eggs (the product penetrates the aeropyles- breathing holes at the top of the egg) and suffocates the lice inside the egg before they hatch, plus it helps break down the outer protective shell in lice eggs. By doing all of this it removes the need for combing, and there is no need to follow up treat 7 days later as the eggs are dead.
Many treatments require follow up treatments as they don’t kill the lice or the eggs, and if not used exactly as intended and you miss an egg then the cycle repeats and it is what is causing super lice. Super lice are lice/eggs which are resilient and resistant to many treatments as they build up an immunity by repeated treatments using products which require subsequent treatments to kill them.
Licener being a single treatment doesn’t build lice immunity and create super lice.
How to use:
Licener needs to be applied on dry hair. Section the hair into four sections and work in small areas to ensure no parts are missed. You need to saturate the hair (I use the term until it is squishy) and ensure that the whole head is evenly covered. Once the hair is saturated with Licener I massage and rub it through the hair using my fingers.
Leave the Licener on the head for 10 minutes (set a timer). Once the time goes off rinse the Licener out and shampoo the hair and towel dry.
I then apply conditioner to the hair and rub and massage the hair while wearing exfoliating gloves (available in our online store with Licener). The abrasiveness of the gloves helps loosen the eggs and dislodge them from the hair shaft.
Rinse the hair out and dry/style as normal.
Once dry I do recommend doing a check of the hair in approx. 24-48 hours to be sure that the eggs have rinsed out (they can also be picked out of the hair if any remain)
What are head lice?
Head lice are tiny parasitic insects that live in human hair. They live off human blood and lay eggs (also known as nits) on the hair shaft close to the scalp.
How do you get head lice?
Head lice re highly contagious and spread by direct contact with the hair of an infected person. Head lice crawl, but they can’t fly. The don’t survive for long off the head, but they can be transmitted by sharing personal items such as brushes, hats, or towels. Head lice is not a sign of poor hygiene, or dirty hair.
How do you check for head lice?
While itching may be a warning sign, many people don’t itch at all with lice, so it’s important to check the head regularly – we recommend on a weekly basis.
Early detection and treating early is important as once the infestation are more sever there are further health complications which can come into play.
We recommend patting the hair in small sections, and look close to the hair line and around the back of the neck and around the ears.
Look for tiny white, yellow or brown dandruff like specs (eggs) that will be closer to the scalp. You may see live lice crawling around too.
Live head lice are fast! And hard to spot, so even if you only find eggs it means you still have head lice and you must treat!
What do head lice and eggs look like?
The eggs (also known as nits) are tiny specs close to the scalp. They can be yellow, white, brown or black depending on their stage in the life cycle.
Head lice are tiny oval shaped insects which can be difficult to see. They can be brown, black, white or grey.
What is the Head lice Life Cycle?
A single louse can live on a human head for as long as 30 days. It’s important to understand the life cycle because when you treat head lice, you not only need to kill live lice, but also their eggs.
If you don’t kill both the cycle will continue.
Do home remedies work?
There are many home remedies I have heard of -
Conditioner and a comb (which can be successful but takes many applications over consecutive days and isn’t good for sensory clients who can’t stand combing),
Coca Cola is another – not sure about this one as the thought of pouring coke on a head and leaving it overnight is kind of gross and other than drying the hair out I haven’t seen results which prove this work.
Mayonnaise – saturate the hair with Apple Cider vinegar and then smother the head in mayonnaise and wrap in gladwrap overnight…… let alone the oil and stickiness of this, you still need to comb out the eggs and not miss any. Again this needs to be done every night for a week. Sounds like way too much work!
All of these home remedies would be incredibly difficult to get out of the hair too.
Other home remedies I have heard of are Kerosene….. Flea Treatments…. THESE are a HUGE NO! Not only are they poison, but these products are also ingested through the scalp and can cause permanent and lifelong disabilities.
When you or your child has head lice, the most important thing is to get on top if it as soon as possible. You need to make sure you have thoroughly treated all of the lice and the eggs, as it only takes one egg to continue the infestation.
Instead of a home remedy, you are much better off finding a solution that is safe and proven to work the first time you use it.
Written by Rachelle Lessue
Founder of Tangled Kids Hair care