Tired of an itchy scalp and the frustrating lice problem? Head lice can be very irritating, given the pain and the uncontrollable itching. This infestation spreads from one person to another quite unnoticed. Though head lice are most common among school going children, it can affect adults too. Lice can spread from one person to another by close contact which leads to transfer of eggs or the lice themselves. But the question is – how to remove lice from the hair? In this article, we give a broad perspective on head lice right from their origin to treatment with natural methods.
- How Does Head Lice Look Like?
- Signs of Having Lice in Head
- What Causes Lice in Head?
- Natural Remedies to Get Rid of Lice
- When to Use Conventional Way to get rid of Lice?
- How to Prevent Head Lice?
How Does Head Lice Look Like?
Head lice are tiny insects which grow out from eggs usually laid out in the base of hair shafts. The head lice are visible to naked eye and usually spotted when they are at the nape of the neck or near the sides of the ears. With an average size of 2 mm, these insects suck on the human blood, leading to irresistible itching. The eggs take about 8 to 10 days to hatch. The eggs are often mistaken to be dandruff and most of the times; the eggs are already hatched before you spot them. The head lice look like tiny black or dark brown spots and often difficult to identify in dark-coloured hair.
Signs of Having Lice in Head
The common signs and symptoms of head lice are:
- Intense and irresistible itching of the scalp.
- A constant tickling feeling in the scalp owing to the movement of head lice
- Discovering nits, which are head lice eggs on the hair strands
- Spotting lice on the head, comb, or clothing
- Sores on the scalp due to excessive scratching to suffice the itching.
- Difficulty in sleeping due to the irritation
- Red bumps in the scalp, neck and shoulders
What Causes Lice in Head?
Mostly school kids undergo the head lice infestations at some point. It is due to close contact, and these eggs can be easily transported from head to head. Sharing combs and hair brushes, bands, pillows, blankets with the person having lice can spread it from one person to another. Most often, the hair cleanliness does not determine the infestation of head lice. It can affect anyone, and more often girls are prone to head lice more than boys. Also, in certain hotel rooms, the inadvertent use of the used pillowcases and blankets can lead to the spread of head lice.
Natural Remedies to Get Rid of Lice
It is said that the prescribed medications for head lice are not as effective as it sounds to be. Nearly 91 % of the parents prefer over-the-counter treatment for lice treatment. However, some of the simple yet highly effective remedies come in form of natural tips and home remedies to get rid of head lice. They have been listed as follows:
1. Regularly Clean Comb
You need to wash your hair combs and brushes often to be sure of hair cleanliness. You can dip them in soapy water and later brush them. Use hot water to dip them, as it is more effective. Wash your hair bands, clips and other hair accessories in hot water every once a while.
2. Wet-Combing with a Fine-Tooth Comb
Wet the hair and the entire scalp and use a fine-tooth comb to scrape out the lice gently. You would need to continuously repeat this process 4-5 times a week until there is no sign of head lice. When the hair strands are wet, they stick together revealing the scalp, and the lice can be easily fished. Also, wetting the hair makes the lice to come out of the deep roots, and thus they can be easily scraped out.
3. Clean Clothes
Since your clothes could be carriers of lice eggs, it is necessary to wash your clothes after being out. Make sure that you always wear clean clothes after a good laundry. Alternatively, if you suspect the possibility of the spread of head lice, vacuum your clothes before wearing it on.
4. Use Natural Lice Product
There are many natural formulations on how to get rid of head lice permanently. These are a ready-made product to effectively remove the head lice without any pain. Since these originate from natural sources, they can be easily used without worrying about side effects.
5. Use Essential Oil
Essential oils are sources of antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties which help to get rid of lice. The strong aroma of essential oils like lavender oil, lemongrass oil, rosemary oil, etc. drives away the lice and prevents them from entering back into the scalp.
Read more on best essential oils for hair.
6. Use Mayonnaise or Butter
Since butter and mayonnaise act as a layer when applied over the scalp, it prevents the air supply to the head lice. Due to this, the head lice are prone to die out of suffocation. You would have to repeat this method a couple of times to see results. Apply a thick coat of mayonnaise or butter on the scalp. Wear a shower cap or a plastic cap and leave it overnight. The next day shampoo your hair wet comb it to take out dead lice and eggs. Repeat it once again after a week or so, to again kill those that could have hatched from the remaining lice eggs.
7. Apple Cider Vinegar
Being acidic, it has a pungent smell that is quite irresistible by the head lice. It helps reduce the itching sensation and eventually drives out all of the head lice. It also degrades the eggs preventing them from hatching.
Discover more benefits of apple cider vinegar for hair.
8. Prevent from Spreading Lice
To prevent the spread of lice, try to avoid sharing the lice through close contact. Since head lice are transferred from person to person with eggs or by lice themselves, it is recommended not to share hair care products and hair accessories with anyone.
When to Use Conventional Way to get rid of Lice?
The conventional methods to get rid of lice is to use a fine-toothed hair comb and continuously stroke it to manually remove the head lice. This works well when the head lice infestation is in the starting stages. With a large infestation of head lice, it is better to resort to methods that drive away the head lice naturally.
Head Lice Removal Treatment
- 3 to 4 tablespoons of coconut oil
- 1 teaspoon of tea tree oil or lavender oil
- 2 cups of apple cider vinegar
- 1 cup water
- Mix the coconut oil and the essential oil or the anti-lice hair oil. Massage it well into the scalp and the hair length.Check here to know some tips to get rid of lice with coconut oil.
- Tie up the hair and cover the head with a shower cap. Let it sit undisturbed for 2 to 3 hours. You can sit in the sun or use a hair dryer to heat up the tied hair.
- Carefully remove the shower cap and dispose of it through a zip lock cover to prevent it from spreading eggs or the lice.
- Comb the hair thoroughly from the scalp to the hair end. Wash and rinse your hair 2 times with anti-lice shampoo.
- Once you have washed your hair, add the apple cider vinegar into the water tub.
- Rinse your hair thoroughly in the apple cider vinegar mixture inside the water tub. Concentrating on the scalp, massage the mixture into the scalp. Rinse your hair with water.
- Alternatively, you can mix the apple cider vinegar with the appropriate amount of water in a spray bottle. Use it to spray on the scalp and the hair immediately after the hair wash.
- Dry it out in the sun or using a hairdryer.
- Comb it thoroughly once again.
- Repeat this a couple of times in a week to completely get rid of the lice and the eggs.
How to Prevent Head Lice?
- Avoid using the hair care products and hair accessories of another person.
- Avoid close contact with others suffering from head lice that could transfer it
- Wash your pillow cases often
- Use antibacterial solutions to clean your comb, hair bands, pillow cases etc.
- Oil and wash your hair often and keep your scalp clean
Watch these tips, and have a healthy, happy hair free of lice!