Head lice are an annoying pest that love infesting the head of children. They aren't necessarily dangerous (they don't spread diseases or cause serious health problems), but they are unhygienic and can spread to others easily. Most treatments use harsh chemicals that can kill lice, but you might personally consider these chemical treatments damaging to your child's health. Thankfully, natural head-lice treatments are possible.
Do Natural Remedies Really Work?
Whether natural remedies work depends on the type of remedy you use. Essential oils have been tested for use in treating head lice and have been shown to be effective. In one study, coconut oil, anise oil, and ylang ylang oil were applied to the hair of infested children as a treatment. Of the 940 children tested, 21.2 percent were infested with lice and eggs while 17.4 percent were infested with nits at the beginning of the study. Ultimately, 92.3 percent of the children treated with the natural remedies were free from lice, while 92.2 percent were lice free when treated with the chemical method. The closeness of the percentages indicates that both methods are very effective in treating head lice.
Which Oils Are Effective?
Oils that have been shown to be effective in treating head lice include:
- Cinnamon leaf
- Spike lavender
- Tea tree
When using these oils, it is important to use just 5–20 drops of oil along with your child's regular shampoo. Make sure they close their eyes while you clean their hair to keep the oils out. Scrub through their hair carefully, paying attention to work it into the roots. If you catch any lice, squeeze them between your fingers to kill them.
You can also dilute 5–20 drops in a spray bottle filled with water and spray it on your child's head just before bed time. Spread it through their hair with a fine-toothed comb to really work it into the scalp. In the morning, comb their hair to clear out any dead lice, eggs, or nits.
What Else Should You Do?
Treating your child daily with essential oils should kill their head lice, but you need to check their hair regularly even after you don't see lice on their head during your application. Lice will lay eggs in your child's hair, and missing these will allow them to hatch and grow into adults. All that work will have been for nothing.
Inspection is a lot like the application procedure, except you won't be applying anything. Use a detection comb purchased from a pharmacy to untangle your child's hair and pull strands through the teeth of the comb. Use a small magnifying glass to look for small white dots. These are lice eggs. Remove them from your child's hair and crush them between your fingers.
Do this every day for a week after you finish your lice treatment. In this way, you can help your child beat lice and regain a healthy head of hair. Getting rid of the lice without harsh chemicals is a great way to promote not just your child's health but also the health of the environment as well.