According to latest statistics, between 6 and 12 million children in the United States of America get lice each year. The result? Frustration among children crying, and adults trying to get rid of lice. In normal cases you can get over the counter medicine and treat almost any condition. But the problem with lice is that they have become resistant to OTC medicine.
A research published in the Journal of Medical Entomology will tell you what manufacturers and doctors wont: lice in the US are super lice that are resistant to OTC medicines. And that is where home remedies for lice come in handy, as they can help ease the frustration from those pests hiding in your children’s hair.
Symptoms of Lice
Before we go over to the home remedies for lice, we must list the symptoms. Many parents do not know the symptoms of lice, even though they’ve faced the condition several times. Here are the common symptoms for head lice:
- Itchy scalp
- Incessant scratching, causing red and irritated scalp
- Feeling that something is crawling over the head
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Tiny brown bugs in the hair
That last one is an obvious one, and once you see those bugs, reach for the home remedies for lice. Make sure to look for eggs as well. But, onto the home remedies.
1. Almond and Olive Oil
You can use one of the two oils for this treatment, arguably one of the easiest and most effective ones. Both will suffocate the lice, and slow them down so you can remove with a comb.
How to do it:
You can either coat the hair or coat the comb. In both ways, you need to coat with one of the two oils. Make sure to separate your children’s hair into smaller sections. Work in one area, and use good lighting to see the bugs. Once done, transfer to the next area. Repeat the treatment once every day for one week.
2. Essential Oils
For this remedy, you need to combine several essential oils into one home remedy mixture for lice. Some of the effective essential oils include peppermint, cinnamon, clove, lavender, red thyme, nutmeg, and eucalyptus. Use at least two of the mentioned oils.
How to do it:
Combine 20 drops of each essential oil with two ounces of olive oil. Mix the ingredients, and then apply to scalp and let it stay there for at least 12 hours or overnight. After time has passed, comb everything and apply shampoo on the scalp twice.
3. Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil deserves its own chapter, as you do not need to combine with anything. When using tea tree oil, you do not need other essential oils, only olive oil to run through your child’s head.
Apply few drops thoroughly on the head. Cover the hair using a shower cap or towel, and let it stay overnight. Shampoo the hair in the morning a couple of times to rinse the olive oil. After shampooing, go through the hair with a comb to eliminate lice.
4. Vaseline, Mayo or Coconut Oil
No matter which one of the three ingredients you choose, they all work in the same way. The trick is to completely saturate the hair with one of the three ingredients, and then cover the head with a plastic bag, towel, or shower cap. Let it stay between 12 and 24 hours.
Start by heating the cap, and then shampoo the hair without getting it wet, and cover your scalp for another 30 minutes. This way, the oils will break down. Rinse your hair thoroughly, but be patient since you will need a lot of time rinsing due to the oily nature of the hair. Now comb your hair and you are done.
5. Nit Comb
When you have small children (under two years), it is normal to avoid other ingredients. In this case, a special comb is all you need. Look for a nit comb that is fine-toothed, and comb out wet hair at night.
For even better results, wet the hair with some hair conditioner.
6. Enzyme Soaps and Nit Comb
For parents who are afraid of using soaps, the cosmetic industry has come out with enzyme based soaps that are safe, secure and kill lice.
The advantage of this technique is that it is non-toxic, and one application is all you need. Apply enzyme soap to the scalp area, and immediately begin to comb using a nit comb.
7. Neem Oil
Neem oil is natural insecticide, one that kills lice effectively and quickly. Neem oil is safe to use, and all you need is a shampoo that has neem oil in its ingredients.
If you cannot find such shampoo, buy regular shampoo and add few teaspoons of neem oil to the mixture.
8. Garlic and Lime Juice
Garlic produces strong odor that can suffocate lice, but you need to dilute garlic with little lemon juice, just so you get fluid mixture. For the remedy you need ten garlic cloves and three teaspoons of lime juice.
How to do it:
Start by grinding the garlic cloves, and then add lime juice to the solution. Mix the ingredients until you get smooth mixture, and then apply it on the scalp. Let the mixture stay on the scalp for at least 30 minutes, before rinsing the hair with warm water.
9. Baby Oil and White Vinegar
When it comes to home remedies for lice, you cannot go wrong with vinegar. Some prefer to use white vinegar, some prefer apple cider vinegar. In both cases, the results are the same. Baby oil is needed to suffocate the pests.
How to do it:
The process starts by applying baby oil on the hair, and then combing it slowly to get rid of lice. Shampoo your hair and wash with warm water. Then, just before you go to bed, apply vinegar (white or apple cider) to your hair, and cover with shower cap or towel. Let the cover stay overnight, and in the morning, wash your hair with regular shampoo.
10. Hair Dryer
Using a hair dryer is an effective way to get rid of lice, and the technique kills around 60% of the lice and almost all of nits. The trick is to use hair dryer after shampooing the hair.
Make sure to separate your hair into smaller sections, and then use a hair dryer in each individual section. Start drying the hair from the scalp, and work your way towards the tip. Use a hair dryer for maximum of 60 seconds in each section.
11. Hair Gel
A styling gel can be of vast help in the battle with lice. There are no scientific proofs, but anecdotal stories and old wives tales testify for this home remedy.
Start by applying moderate amounts of hair gel on the roots of the hair, and then cover with shower cap. Let the gel stay overnight, and in the morning, shampoo your hair. Go through your hair with a nit comb to finish the process.
12. Salt and Vinegar
Baby oil and vinegar is not the only vinegar home remedy for lice you can use. Salt can be an effective addition to the mixture as well. Using salt and vinegar you can dehydrate and kill lice in the hair.
How to do it:
Dissolve ¼ cup of salt in ¼ cup of warm vinegar. Put the solution in a spray bottle, and apply on the hair to get it wet. Let the hair dry out naturally, and then coat the scalp with olive oil. Now, you can either comb to get rid of lice, or let the olive oil stay on the hair for 8 hours just to be safe. In any case, make sure to shampoo your hair as long as it takes to remove the olive oil.
Onions are rich in sulfur, a compound that kills lice. For this home remedy, you need six onions. Using a blender, prepare an onion paste.
Once the paste is ready, put it on a sieve in order to extract the juice from it. Apply the onion juice on the scalp, and gently massage it. After you are done, cover the hair with towel or shower cap and let it stay there for two hours. After two hours, shampoo the hair.
14. Petroleum Jelly
Petroleum jelly must be used with caution, and you must be ready for long shampooing in order to get it out of the hair. However, if you are ready to go through the process, petroleum jelly is one of the most effective home remedies for lice.
To use it, apply a thick layer to the scalp, and then cover the hair using a towel or shower cap. Let the layer stay on the hair for 12 hours or overnight. In the morning, remove the petroleum jelly using mineral oil. Repeat the process few nights in the week.
Getting rid of lice is half the battle, but during the process, you must make sure that there will be no reinfestation. Otherwise, you are getting into a vicious cycle that might last for longer than one week. Here is what to do in order to prevent reinfestation:
- Wash combs and brushes every day in hot water
- Seal items that are non-washable for two weeks in a plastic bag. Do this only with items that have touched the head of the child, for example, stuffed animals
- Change sheets, pillowcases, pajamas, and towels every day
- Vacuum your children’s car seat.