Someone spotting moving lice on your head is the most undesirable situation that you would ever want to face. Being at a formal meeting or presenting your slides while itching your scalp? Other than the embarrassment you might encounter, the personal discomfort is a pain of equal magnitude. We understand that how to get rid of lice is the only question that you might be thinking right now.
We will help you figure out the natural ways of lice treatment. The first step is confirming that you have a lice problem and not a problem which has evolved because of itchy scalp or dandruff or dead skin for that matter.
After you confirmed lice as the culprit of the crime, it’s time to punish them. Read more to know various home remedies for lice treatment.
What are lice?
Before knowing the solutions, one needs to know the problems in depth and what exactly are lice. Lice are small parasite without wings which feed on your blood. The size of these parasites becomes a problem because they are nothing over 3 to 3.5 mm (1).
They may reproduce in your scalp by laying their eggs which are called nits. The nits add to the problem exponentially as these eggs might fall over your furniture or clothes and may spread quickly. Thus, infecting someone in your family or anyone in your vicinity.
Children are more susceptible to rice as they come in contact with dirt and are unable access the nature of their problems. They can contract it through the other children in their peer group who have the lice infestation.
What are the types of lice?
They are also called Pediculus humanus capitis. This type of lice breeds in the hair on scalp and neck. The lice attach itself at the base of the hair shaft.
The infestation of head lice is called pediculosis and is the most common type of lice infestation.
The second most common type of lice infestation is called crabs. The lice can be seen in and around pubic hair and can spread through sexual contact.
They can sometimes also occur in eyebrows, eyelashes.
This type of lice infestation is very rare and is seen only in individuals who do not have access to proper sanitation.
What are the signs of lice?
- Constant itching sensation in scalp
- Seeing lice around ear, neck
- Finding lice eggs in hair shafts
- bleeding can occur from excessive scratching
- Small red swelling areas can be observed on the neck, scalp.
- The lice are more active during night time and can cause trouble sleeping.
How to get rid of lice naturally?
Since centuries now, people have been following multiple techniques for lice treatment. People can opt for anti-lice shampoos and conditioners, but it has been proven that natural methods work best for treating lice or pediculosis.
Vinegar is a very popular method applied for the removal of head lice. Equal parts of vinegar and mineral oil are taken and massaged into the scalp.
The acetic acid present in the vinegar will not only kill the lice, but it will also dissolve the eggs or the nits.
The Minnesota Department of health has listed mayonnaise as an acceptable method of treating head lice. You have to massage the scalp with mayonnaise and the entire hair, which is then covered with a shower cap and kept overnight.
The hair is washed next thing in the morning and combed with a fine nit comb. Mayonnaise has viscosity property that acts an s glue and suffocates the lice.
3. Tea tree oil
Tea tree oil has insecticide and anti-inflammatory properties. Tea tree oil is mixed with a carrier oil like coconut oil or olive oil and massaged on the scalp and left overnight.
The insecticide property of tea tree oil will kill the lice and its eggs which can be subsequently removed by combing. The anti-inflammatory property will help soothe the itchy areas and reduce the swelling associated.(2).
Onion juice is a potent insecticide due to its high sulfur content. Fresh juice is extracted from onion and massaged on the scalp and neck. The hair is covered with a shower cap.
It is then left standing for an hour and rinsed with lukewarm water. The procedure is repeated for a week till the head lice are eliminated.
5. Indian lilac
Indian lilac leaves are used for centuries in the treatment of lice. The oil extracted from its leaves has insecticide properties that act effectively against lice (3).
Daily application of the oil is recommended for desired results. The oil also has soothing properties, and it helps lessen the itchiness associated with pediculosis and heal the scalp.
6. Rubbing Alcohol
Rubbing alcohol is a strong disinfectant. The solvent contains 70% absolute alcohol that kills the lice and nits. Rubbing alcohol is applied thoroughly to the scalp covering the entire affected area.
The lice will start falling off after the application hence care should be taken to carry this procedure in a bathroom or over a basin, to avoid infestation. The hair is then thoroughly washed, and a fine nit comb is used to remove the leftover lice and eggs.
The procedure is repeated once daily for over two weeks till the problem is solved.
7. Ylang Ylang oil
Ylang Ylang oil is an essential oil that has been known to penetrate the hair follicles and smoothen the hair from the shaft above.
The adherence of the lice and nits with the hair is compromised, and they can be easily removed (4). Ylang Ylang oil also has moisturising properties that soothe the irritated skin of the scalp.
Apple cider vinegar, when used in conjunction with salt, dehydrates the nits. When apple cider vinegar is mixed with coconut oil and applied to the scalp, it prevents the crawling of lice around the hair shafts to deposit the eggs.
9. Wet combing
Wet combing is an age-old method used to get rid of pediculosis. The full hair is washed with an anti-lice shampoo or with any of the above techniques are followed.
A fine-toothed nit comb is used starting from the base of the hair shaft to hair ends. The hair on the scalp is sectioned, and the procedure is repeated twice daily till the results are seen (5).
10. Clearing risk items
If there is a lice infestation in a household, care should be taken to prevent the everyday use from getting contaminated. The bedding, clothing, towel of the affected person should not be shared and should be washed in hot water.
Final words on natural lice treatment
Just because a person has lice infestation does not mean the person has questionable hygiene standards. Lice can spread even to healthy hair, but taking care of your hair and body can prevent the breeding of lice and its possible recurrence.