Nourish - Natural Remedies for Dealing with Head Lice
Yep. It’s that time of year again. When parents are on head lice alert. *gulp*
Head lice infestations are a common and pesky problem that affects people of all ages, especially children. These tiny parasites cause itching, discomfort, and frustration. While there are over-the-counter treatments available, many prefer natural remedies to deal with head lice.
In this blog post, we’ll explore a range of natural and effective methods for managing and preventing head lice infestations.
Firstly, let’s dive a little deeper into what head lice and nits are:
Appearance: Adult head lice are small insects, usually about the size of a sesame seed. They are greyish-white or tan in colour and have six legs. Lice feed on human blood, and they have specialized mouthparts for piercing the scalp and feeding. *shudder*
You’ll often find lice and nits near the scalp, particularly behind the ears and near the nape of the neck, along the hairline.
Lifecycle: A female louse can lay up to 6-10 eggs (nits) per day, attaching them firmly to the hair shafts close to the scalp. Nits are oval and typically yellow or white in colour.
Transmission: Head lice are highly contagious and primarily spread through direct head-to-head contact. They cannot jump or fly but crawl quickly from one person’s hair to another’s during close contact.
This sounds like the thing of nightmares, people!
Eggs: Nits are the eggs of head lice. They are laid by adult female lice and are firmly attached to the hair shafts near the scalp using a glue-like substance that are difficult to remove.
Hatching: Nits hatch into baby lice (nymphs) in about 7-10 days. After hatching, nymphs mature into adult lice in 9-12 days, and the cycle continues if not treated.
What Are the Symptoms of Head Lice Infestation
Itchy Scalp: The most common symptom is an itchy scalp, caused by an allergic reaction to the bites of the lice.
Sores and Red Bumps: Scratching the itchy scalp will often lead to sores and red bumps.
Visible Lice or Nits: In some cases, you may be able to see adult lice crawling in the hair or nits attached near the scalp.
Natural Remedies for Dealing with Head Lice
To get rid of head lice, it’s important to treat both the lice and the nits. This typically involves using specialized lice-killing shampoos or natural remedies like the ones we’ll be discussing in this blog post.
Additionally, thorough combing with a fine-toothed nit comb is essential for removing nits from the hair.
No. 1 – Essential Oils – Tea Tree / Lavender Oil
Certain essential oils like tea tree, lavender, eucalyptus, and peppermint have natural insecticidal properties. This makes them very effective at repelling and killing lice.
It is essential to dilute these oils with a carrier oil, such as coconut oil before they come into contact with the skin to avoid skin irritation.
Tea Tree Treatment
Tea tree oil is known for its powerful antiseptic and antimicrobial properties. Its strong antiseptic properties help suffocate and kill lice, making it a popular choice among those seeking natural remedies.
To use it as a treatment for head lice:
- Mix 10 drops of tea tree oil with 2 tablespoons (30 ml) of carrier oil such as olive oil, coconut oil, or almond oil.
- Apply the mixture to the scalp and hair, massaging it in thoroughly. Be very careful to avoid any contact with the eyes.
- Cover the head with a shower cap and leave it on for about 30 minutes, or even a few hours.
- Use a fine-toothed comb to remove dead lice and nits.
- Shampoo your hair as usual.
- Repeat this process every few days until the lice are gone.
No. 2 – Coconut Oil
If you’re unsure about using essential oils, that’s ok. Coconut oil used on its own is also fantastic. This oil smothers and suffocates head lice so it’s a really versatile product to have in the home.
Since coconut oil is milder and generally well-tolerated, it is fine to be used directly without dilution. That being said, feel free to mix it with essential oils for added effectiveness if desired.
If you choose to mix, use 10 drops of essential oil with 2 tablespoons (30 ml) of coconut oil.
To use it as a treatment for head lice:
- Apply a liberal amount of coconut oil to the hair and scalp.
- Cover the head with a shower cap and leave it on overnight.
- Comb out the lice and nits in the morning.
- Shampoo hair to remove the oil. Here’s a good opportunity to use a shampoo that works against headlice, such as Neem, tea tree, lavender, rosemary etc.
No. 3 – Vinegar
Vinegar is a wonder at helping to loosen the glue that holds lice eggs (nits) to the hair shafts.
Don’t worry, the smell doesn’t last forever. Additionally, feel free to add a couple of drops of the aforementioned essential oils to mask the smell.
Here’s how to use it:
- Mix equal parts of water and white vinegar in a spray bottle.
- Spritz the solution onto the hair and scalp, making sure to saturate the hair.
- Cover the head with a shower cap and leave it on for about an hour.
- Use a fine-toothed comb to remove the nits and lice.
- Shampoo hair (if necessary)
- Repeat this process regularly to prevent re-infestation.
No. 4 – Neem Oil
Neem oil has natural insecticidal properties that make it effective against head lice. Derived from the seeds of the neem tree, neem oil is known for its potent anti-parasitic properties. It disrupts the life cycle of lice, ultimately leading to their demise.
Here’s how to use it:
- Very similar to the tea tree oil trick, you simply mix 10 to 15 drops of neem oil with 2 tablespoons (30 ml) of carrier oil and apply the mixture to the hair and scalp.
- Be aware, that neem oil has a very strong smell, so you may want to use fewer drops if the odour is bothersome.
- Leave it on for at least an hour, or overnight if possible.
- Comb out the lice and nits.
- Shampoo hair to remove the oil.
No. 5 – Regular Combing
Frequent combing of the hair with a fine-toothed comb, sometimes referred to as “wet combing,” is an effective method for physically removing lice and nits. Ideally, this is done every day to every few days, until the infestation is gone.
If you’re not up for some DIY, that’s perfectly fine. We also stock some fantastic products to help fight the infestation.
Puressentiel Head Lice Treatment Shampoo kills lice, larvae and nits and leaves hair clean, in one step. Its gentle formula with coconut plant oil acts mechanically by obstructing the respiratory tracts of the lice.
- 100% effective on lice, larvae and nits from 30 minutes of first use*
- A fine-toothed comb is included to help remove the dead larvae, nits and lice
- Cleanses and soothes scalp and hair
- Biodegradable formula
- Natural and plant-based
- Safe for adults and children ages 18 months and up
- Made in France
* Repeat: 3 days after the first application, then again 7 days after the first application if necessary.
The Puressentiel Lice Repellent Spray works as a preventive action against lice.
- If there’s a sudden outbreak, use this to help prevent an infestation of the scalp
- Effective protection for up to 24 hours
- Easy-to-use spray solution that leaves a fresh and pleasant scent on the hair
- Can be used daily without damaging or greasing the hair
- Safe for kids over the age of 3
- The Puressentiel Head Lice Treatment Lotion is effective from the 1st application
- 100% natural formula that kills lice, larvae and nits
- Combines vegetable oils and essential oils with soothing and antiseptic properties, ideal for soothing itchy scalps
- Comb is included
- Safe for kids over 3 years of age
Dealing with head lice is certainly a challenging and frustrating experience, but there are natural remedies that can help you effectively manage and eliminate these unwanted pests.
Keep in mind that consistency is key when using natural treatments, and it may take several applications and thorough combing to completely get rid of head lice.
It’s also worth it to regularly check your child’s hair for signs of lice, especially if there’s a known infestation in their school or community.
Additionally, it’s worth remembering to wash all bedding, hats, and clothing that may have come into contact with lice to prevent re-infestation.
And if you have young kids, although sometimes difficult, I’d highly recommend that you teach them not to share combs, brushes, hats, or hair accessories.
With dedication and the right approach, you can successfully manage head lice using these natural solutions.
Looking for more to read?
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- Healthy Snack Ideas for Kids (and Adults)!
- Back to School Supplement Support For Your Kids
- 6 Tips For Developing Healthy Eating Habits In Young Kids
Any questions? Drop into your local Nourish store to chat with our expert team and explore our full range of foods, supplements and skincare. You can also find our full product range in our online store.
*Please note that while we are knowledgeable about our products and nutrition, this blog should never be a substitute for medical advice and attention.
Please remember that you should always obtain the all-clear from your doctor before starting any new supplement plan or diet if you’re on any medication