Do Traditional Methods Work When Treating Head Lice?

Lyclear head Lice Treatment

Head lice infestations present a problem that most parents have to deal with at one point or another. While there are a number of scientifically proven head lice treatments out there, some parents are still relying on alternative methods which are never 100% effective. These home remedies might be everything from old wives’ tales that have been passed through the generations, to unique ways of ridding their children of lice that they have found online. In this article, we’ll be having a look at all these weird and wonderful treatments with a focus on separating fact from fiction.
Our first port of call is oil-based remedies. Commonly, parents might put the likes of mayonnaise, almond oil or olive oil onto the hair as a method of getting rid of lice. The logic behind this is that oils make it hard for the lice to breathe, which basically stuns them, thus easing the removal process. However, this method doesn’t actually kill the lice – while it does slow them down, it’s not guaranteed that you’ll catch all of them. Additionally, any nits left behind could set off a second wave of infestation and, to top it all, oils are notoriously difficult to wash out of hair.
Then we come to essential oils such as tea tree or lavender oil which, again, can stun the lice but also repel them with their pungent smells1. Tea tree oil is the most commonly used as it is said to be a natural insecticide (because of its antibacterial properties). These remedies aren’t effective because, as with the more general oil-based remedies, they can still leave a few lice and nits in the hair. Not only that, but smothering one’s scalp in essential oils and leaving it under a shower cap overnight is not particularly pleasant!
White vinegar is another common recommendation, with the aim here being that the vinegar will loosen the lice from the hair strands2. Again though, this method won’t actually kill the lice and is often used as preparation for further treatments. That said, the application of vinegar can aid when combing through the hair with a lice comb. 
If you are set on following a home remedy, be sure to use the combing method as well: this not only helps dislodge lice, but can really help get rid of the nits hidden in hair roots. As lice are about the size of a pin head, you will be amazed that you can actually see them in the teeth of a comb and pick them out by hand. While this is a time consuming process, it is a good way of identifying lice and getting rid of them. 
Modern day head lice shampoos help get rid of the eggs as well, instead of just the lice. This is why specially formulated treatments are far more reliable than traditional methods
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  1. JudeVFR400 24th September 2014 Reply
  2. Carol Boffey 20th October 2014 Reply

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