- Alternative & Natural Medicine
Homemade Beauty Solutions...Head Lice Remedies and Treatments
Dealing with head lice is unfortunately one of those things that parents have to deal with from time to time. Being a mother of four boys, I have found these very unwelcome guests in my children’s hair more times than I can count. At one time going so far as to shave my boy’s heads almost completely bald in frustration at having to deal with head lice that seem to be resistant to everything I brought from the chemist.
So when my youngest boys recently walked in from day-care with a severe case of head lice I was determined to find a natural chemical free solution that I could both make at home and would actually work.
What are head lice?
Simply put head lice are very small bugs that live in the hair feeding on the blood of the scalp. They lay their eggs on the hair strands which take up to a week to hatch. It takes a week for them to than mature into adults where they can live up to thirty days but only the larger females lay the eggs.
Head lice or nits as it’s commonly referred to, do not have any preference for clean or dirty hair, they are highly contagious and are most commonly passed along from head to head contact.
They can also be caught from contact with hats, brush’s, pillows, sheets and clothing of someone who already has them. The same items can also cause reinfestation of your or your children’s hair as head lice can live up to 48 hours without feeding. So it’s a Must to clean these items completely before reuse
Spotting head lice
It can be easy or hard to spot head lice, with the first and most obvious symptom being constant scratching at the itchy scalp.
Adult lice are about the size of a small seed, with small little legs they can move through the hair fairly easily. They are usually white to a light tan colour.
The smaller lice that you may see are generally referred to as nymph much smaller than the adult; it also feeds on the blood of the scalp until it’s considered an adult and joins the mating cycle.
One of the harder things to spot can be the eggs themselves, these are attached to the single hair strands close to the scalp, they are an oval shape and usually white or yellow and very easy to confuse with dandruff
Natural solutions for head lice
Tea tree oil
This essential oil is fantastic for the use of removing head lice (among other things) from the scalp
It has been proven to kill lice and is often now found in many of the over counter treatments that you can secure from the chemist.
By using a mixture of aromatherapy oils you can naturally and safely remove head lice from hair.
A quick easy recipe
5 drops of pure tea tree oil
5 drops of pure lavender oil
20 drops of olive oil or coconut
Mix these oils together in a glass container, the darker the glass the better for preserving your oil
Rub this oil onto a dry scalp and through the hair leaving for no longer than 6 hour, before rinsing out and combing with lice comb repeat in 7 days
Tea tree oil like all pure oils should be diluted with carrier oil before applying to the skin; it’s also advisable to do a small skin test to check for any allergic reactions before using this recipe (or any other aromatherapy recipe) on your or your children’s skin
For more uses of tea tree oil in removing head lice from not just your hair but linens and clothes check out the following article …
- Tea Tree Oil for Head Lice
Kick your shoes off, grab a cup of hot tea or coffee, and let's talk about head lice.... Comfy yet? Good. Has your child ever come home with head lice? If so, you'll love the inexpensive, natural remedy...
Virgin coconut oil
One of the advantages of using coconut oil on your hair is that it will suffocate the head lice, coating the hair strands in fine oil that will both moisturize your hair as well as make it more difficult for the eggs to stay on the hair strands making removing the nits much easier.
Coconut head lice removal
Virgin coconut oil
Melt a portion of the virgin coconut oil in a small bowl and let cool so as not to burn the scalp
Apply to the hair and the scalp using generous amounts of the oil
Massage into the scalp to the ends of your hair thoroughly paying special attention to the crown, behind the ears and the nape where head lice like to hide the most.
Place a shower cap over your hair, or wrap in cling wrap to keep secure and tight.
leave on for at least 12 hours, so it’s best to do this at night before bed, if using on young children it’s always a good idea to remove the plastic shower cap or cling wrap to avoid suffocation while sleeping, placing a towel over their pillow instead
Wash your hair using your normal shampoo and comb out the dead head lice and eggs, after 12 hours they should all be dead
Repeat in 7 days to prevent reinfestation
Another great household item that can help battle the war against head lice in your home, although it doesn’t kill the parasites it is known to suffocate them and knock them out, making it easy to comb them out.
Section the hair and apply the oil liberally to each section thoroughly drenching the scalp
Leave on the scalp for at least 30 minutes
First comb the hair normally helping to distribute the oil evenly, before using a nit comb or fine tooth comb, its best to comb out small sections at a time. Rinse comb it hot water to help prevent oil build up.
Once you have removed all that you can, wash your hair in either vinegar or Dawn dishwashing liquid to help remove the oil in your hair
Repeat every 3 days for best results
One of the most inexpensive ways to deal with head lice is by using a white conditioner and a fine tooth comb. The white conditioner will stun the bugs making their removal with a nit comb or the like much easier.
Simply apply a generous amount to dry hair and leave it to sit for 20 minutes
Section the hair and comb thoroughly using a nit comb or fine tooth comb to remove the stunned bugs and their eggs.
Repeat in 7 days
This actually works well especially with young children, keeping any products that might irritate skin or eyes away from them. I do find however that it might need to be down a couple of times in the week depending on the infestation levels.
Vinegar is another versatile product that comes in great use when dealing with head lice, although it doesn’t kill the lice it can be used its two ways, as a preventive and as a combing solution.
Vinegar preventive for head lice
Vinegar is a natural acid and it can create a barrier that lice are very unwilling to cross
1 cup of Vinegar
1 cup of Water
Mix the two ingredients together thoroughly
Shampoo hair normally, using the vinegar solution instead of conditioner and leave in hair and dry normally. The smell generally takes about 30 minutes to die down
For stronger dose use only vinegar, massage into the scalp and cover for at least 30 minutes before washing out. It may also eliminate eggs that have already lain in the hair.
Vinegar combing solution
Being natural acid, vinegar contains properties that are great at dissolving the glue head lice use to hold their eggs to the hair strands. Making vinegar a great simple home based rinse that can be used along with the other solutions to rid you and your family of head lice
1 cup of distilled white vinegar
After washing out your head lice solution, rinse the hair in vinegar and allow drying, leaving for at least an hour before combing.
A vinegar rinse can also be used before your chosen head lice solution, for max effectiveness, rinse with vinegar and allow hair to dry before following up with your head lice treatment and leave overnight.
Tips for combing hair
1. Always use a fine tooth comb or a nit comb that you can buy from chemists and some supermarkets, these are the best way to be sure that you are getting the ones that your eyes may not be able to see
2. Head lice hate heat, so dip the comb into a bowl of boiling water before running through the hair this can help loosen the glue that lice use to hold the eggs to the hair strand
3. As previously stated head lice hate vinegar so by dipping your comb into a bowl of vinegar as you remove the nits, will help loosen up the glue used by the eggs as well as creating a preventive
4. For long thick hair its best to section the hair, working from the scalp the to the very ends of the hair strands
5. Dry hair with hair dryer as head lice hate hot temperatures
6. Nits feed on our blood so are generally found very near to the scalp, on the crown, behind the ears and the nape of the neck so concentrate on these areas to begin with.
7. Wipe the comb onto a tissue or dip into water to wash or wipe away the head lice you are finding, containment is the idea here
It’s important that you clean everything that may have had contact with the head lice, from pillows, blankets brushes and the like.
The sun and hot temperatures are a great aid in this, so wash your linens and clothes on the hot cycle, 30 minutes in the dyer or a full day or two, in open sunlight will also kill any lice that may be left.
One last thing to remember, is that Head lice are not a sign of dirty living or dirty hair, and there is nothing to panic about if you or your child come into contact with these small parasites, simply know that you have at least a week long challenge in front of you and let others know who may have had contact with you or your children as this can stop the infestation from spreading and returning to your home at a later date.