Treating headlice the natural way.

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I’m all for live and let live when it comes to sharing the planet but I draw the line at headlice and, if you have kids, you may feel the same. To make matters worse it seems that the little buggers are evolving and that today’s ‘super lice’ have donned armor that makes them impervious to many conventional treatments that have been effective until now. Don’t worry, natural treatments are kinder to your kids’ and your head and are, in many cases, more effective than the other options. For example in one study only 25 percent of children were lice-free after using a conventional method, while almost all of the children who were treated with tea tree oil and lavender were lice-free. Remember that , once removed from their host, headlice die within a matter of hours so once they’re gone after a thorough treatment an easy prevention regime should keep them at bay. It is not necessary to fumigate the house or to treat furniture, or carpets with insecticides, because headlice cannot live very long away from the host. So now that they’re back in school get ready for battle. Here are some strategies that work.

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Buy a good lice comb. We recommend the Nitty Gritty brand (RSP €19.89). Weekly, careful combing can remove all adult headlice and eggs and, by disrupting their life cycle, can eradicate the problem in a matter of three to four weeks. With long hair this is easier to do with conditioner in the hair? This also temporarily stuns them while you work on getting them out. At the same time 30 minutes in the dryer gets rid of any headlice on bed linen, towels etc.

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/3″][vc_single_image image=”5858″ img_size=”full” style=”vc_box_border” border_color=”green”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Kill them with pesticides. Chemical pesticides are proving to be less effective on today’s ‘super lice’ and do you really want to use them when you think that 60% of what we put onto our skins is absorbed into the bloodstream? 

Natural Remedies

Natural alternatives include Neem Oil, extracted from the fruits and seeds of the neem tree which is native to India. As well as killing headlice and eggs it can be applied preventatively afterwards as they seem to dislike the smell of it and it’s also very soothing and will heal the scalp after scratching has inflamed it. Dilute 10% neem oil with coconut or olive oil. Massage this mix onto the scalp and hair, and leave on for at least one hour. Shampoo as usual. Repeat every alternate day for month or two. Chances are that the headlice will be dead within a week or so, but you may continue using neem oil for longer just to ensure that all the nits that are hatching are dead as well. 

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/3″][vc_single_image image=”5859″ img_size=”full” style=”vc_box_border” border_color=”green”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”2/3″][vc_column_text]There are also propriatorey products that we recommend. These include Delacet (RSP €17.67). This is a herbal tincture made from larkspur and acetic acid, so it’s 100% natural, but it is stronger than a lot of over the counter treatments which can be packed full of artificial chemicals, some of which can cause irritation to the scalp. Delacet also doesn’t require repeated treatments or combing, (though some other preventative measures afterwards would be advisable!) simply apply once for 2-3 hours and it gets rid of both the lice and nits (the eggs), whereas most treatments require a repeat application to remove the nits. Delacet has a water like consistency, so it is perfectly suited to all hair types including the likes of afros or dreadlocks, as it penetrates the hair with ease, and doesn’t require combing.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

Nitty Gritty products are based on essential oils and include the 150ml Treatment Solution (RSP €16.89) and 250ml Repellant Spray (which conditions hair beautifully as well as keeping critters away!) (RSP €18.71).

Treating headlice with essential oils.

Tea tree and lavender oils are the way to go here. To use:  Mix 20 drops of one or a combination of the two into 2 tablespoons of carrier oil (olive, coconut, sesame). Apply thoroughly, saturating hair with oil mix. Let it work for couple of hours, then shampoo normally. Do regular egg checks and repeat treatment if concerned.
Or here’s a recipe that we’ve found to be effective personally:
For every 50ml of Almond Oil mix 10 drops each of Geranium and Rosemary and 5 drops each of Lemon and Tea Tree oils.  Saturate the hair and scalp with the oil mixture and comb through with an ordinary comb and leave for 2 hours.  Then comb through with a Nitty Gritty NitFree Comb and wash hair.  Then conditioner comb (put conditioner in hair and comb) with the Nitty Gritty Comb every 2 days for 2 weeks, washing hair afterwards.
Use oils preventatively afterwards by putting a drop or two into your shampoo every time you wash or adding 50 to 70 drops into 100 mls. water and using for a daily spritz on the way out to school.
Having gone to all the trouble of removing the infestation from your children, re-infestation is the last thing you need. Here are several good tips which can help minimise the chances of re-infestation : Treat all kids in your family simultaneously. Fine comb immediately afterwards. Whatever treatment you choose, remember to repeat the treatment in 7-10 days (not necessary with Delacet). Fine-comb the kids hair at least once per week. Add a few drops of tea tree oil to shampoo and use as a preventive. Wash all combs, brushes and other utensils in very hot soapy water after use. Put all pillow cases, sheets and clothes into the washing machine. Clean all headgear, caps, hats, berets and other hair accessories.
Now all you need to worry about is their homework!