Head lice are a major problem that affects millions of kids all over the world. Although they don’t pose a threat to your health, having them in your head can be irritating and uncomfortable. Getting rid of these blood sucking insects is often a tough job. Not only do you need to eliminate the lice, but you also have to get rid of the eggs or nits that are attached to the shaft of the hair. The difficult thing about most of the head lice treatment medications is that the eggs are capable of resisting them. It is very important to eliminate every single one of the nits or else the lice will reappear even after the treatment.
You can find many prescription medications to treat head lice but many of them turn out to be toxic or sometimes ineffective as well. Moreover, the overuse of insecticides has resulted in the lice becoming resistant to these medications. This leads to worry and frustration in the minds of both the parents and children. Fortunately there are several natural and safe home remedies that can effectively get rid of head lice. Read on to know more about these remedies:
Combing your hair and picking the nits – This is the most important method to remove head lice irrespective of whatever kind of medication or remedy that you use. You can find special combs designed for this purpose and you can use them to comb your hair by dividing the strand into sections. Nits can be removed easily by using special metal combs.
Tea tree oil – Tea tree oil is a powerful natural insect repellent and insect killer. It can help prevent insects like mosquitoes, lice, fleas, or flies from coming near you. This natural oil is also less harmful to your skin then excessive vinegar or other lice shampoo.
- Just rinse your hair with water containing tea tree oil.
- Alternately one may mix some tea tree oil with some coconut oil or olive oil and regular shampoo. Regular use can help you get rid of lice.
- Mix tea tree oil with olive oil and apply this to your scalp. Wrap your hair with towel or shower cap and leave overnight. Some claim to have see magical effect next morning.
- Mixing tea tree oil with lavender oil can subdue the pungent odor of tea tree oil, while it offers aromatic effect and wonderful sleep.
- Make a tea tree oil spray by mixing it thoroughly with water. Spray it on your hair and scalp to keep lice infestation at bay.
[Read more about benefits of tea tree oil]
Anise – Aniseed is used externally as an natural insecticide against small insects such as head lice, mites and vermin. Externally, the essential oil from anise may be used along with coconut oil for treatment of lice. A study suggests that natural compound p-anisaldehyde in essential oil of Anise works against lice and other parasites.
Ajwain Seeds – Ajwain seed oil is effective in treating not only lice but also dandruff and psoriasis. Ajwain water can be used as homemade shampoo for washing hair and treating dandruff and lice. Ajwain water can be made by boiling ajwain seeds in water and allowing water to cool.
Neem Oil – Neem seeds are used in manufacture of bio-insecticides and bio-pesticides. Just adding neem oil to your regular shampoo is also known to kill head lice. Neem works well over these irritating pests.
Eucalyptus oil – Eucalyptus oil is very effective in getting rid of head lice and their eggs. Mix few drops of eucalyptus oil with coconut oil or olive oil or other carrier oil and massage to scalp get rid of lice and itchy scalp. You can also mix few drops of oil with regular shampoo.
Olive oil – Olive oil is a wonderful smothering agent that causes the head lice to suffocate to death. Since lice can survive for hours without breathing, it is important to apply the oil overnight. Olive oil also helps to loosen the nits from the hair shafts, making it easy for them to be removed using a comb.
[Read more about natural foods for hair loss]
Essential oils – Essential oils like Ginger, rosemary, germanium, lemongrass, clove oil, peppermint oil etc are found to be effective against head lice. Mix together a few drops of the essential oil with olive oil and apply it on the scalp. Leave this mixture overnight and comb hair the following morning. After combing, wash hair with shampoo.
Garlic – Head lice are suffocated by the strong smell of garlic, which ultimately leads to their death. Make a paste of garlic with a few drops of lime juice and apply this paste on the scalp. Leave it on for about 30 minutes and wash off with warm water.
Apple cider vinegar – Applying apple cider vinegar to the hair loosens the eggs that are attached to the hair shaft. After coating the scalp with vinegar apply a smothering agent such as olive oil or coconut oil and then allow to sit for about 8 hours. Then using a comb remove all the lice and nits and wash hair using a shampoo.
Salt and vinegar – A mixture of salt and vinegar is an effective combination that works by dehydrating the lice and eliminating them. Apply this mixture until the hair is coated completely. After some time apply coconut oil or olive oil to suffocate the lice. Leave it on for about 8 hours and comb hair to remove the lice and nits. Wash off the oil using regular shampoo.
Sesame seed oil – In addition to having antimicrobial properties, sesame oil is also a natural insecticide. Mixing together sesame seed oil with essential oils like tea tree oil, neem oil and eucalyptus oil will provide better results. First wash hair with apple cider vinegar and then apply this mixture to the hair and scalp. Allow it to stay overnight and comb hair the next morning.
Orange juice – Orange juice is another strong insecticide that has the potential to kill head lice and loosen the eggs attached to the hair shaft. Apply orange juice on the head thoroughly until it covers the scalp and hair. Allow to stay for half an hour and comb out the dead lice and nits. Afterwards wash hair with warm water. Repeat this procedure for about two weeks.
Onion juice – Onions have high sulfur content, which is capable of killing the lice. Extract the juice of 2 or 3 onions and apply it on the scalp. Leave it on for about two hours and then wash with lukewarm water. Using a comb, remove the nits and dead lice.
Lemon juice – The high acidic nature of lemon juice helps in removing the head lice and nits. Apply lemon juice on the scalp and leave it on for half an hour. Wash your hair with vinegar and afterwards with lukewarm water. Repeat this procedure once a week.
[See more: 50 natural ways to treat dandruff]
Almonds – According to ayurvedic medicine system, almonds are one of the most effective home remedies for removing lice. Soak some almonds overnight and then grind them to make a fine paste. Add a few drops of lime juice and then apply this paste to the scalp. Leave it on for about two hours and wash off with water.
Pyrethrin extracts – Pyrethrin extracts, obtained from chrysanthemum flowers are found to be very effective in getting rid of lice but not nits. Pyrethrin is a natural insecticide that is capable of affecting the nervous system of these insects. To remove head lice, first apply the extract to dry hair. Wash it off after 10 to 15 minutes. Use a comb to remove the nits. Repeat this procedure after a week or 10 days.
Hair dryers – Studies indicate that hot air from the hair dryer is effective in killing and removing the nits. For eradicating the eggs, use a hair dryer on washed hair but never use it if you have just carried out a chemical treatment for lice because some of these medications may contain ingredients that are flammable.
Petroleum jelly – Just like olive oil, petroleum jelly also works by blocking the breathing holes of head lice and suffocating them to death. Apply petroleum jelly on the scalp and hair and cover your head with a shower cap. Keep the application overnight and wash it off the next day. Comb the hair to remove the nits and repeat the procedure a week later.
Mayonnaise – Mayonnaise is considered to be a good smothering agent. Apply mayonnaise to the scalp and hair and keep it overnight. Although this remedy helps in killing lice, it does not remove the nits. Use a comb to remove the eggs. However many medical practitioners deny any such benefits.
Alcohol – Alcohol has been found to be an effective remedy for killing lice. Pour alcohol on your hair and scalp and then apply a conditioner. Comb hair to eliminate the dead lice. Wash hair thoroughly with a shampoo. Vodka is often used as solvent for tea tree oil and used as home remedy for treating lice.
Mouthwash – Mouthwash has antiseptic properties and hence is a good remedy for killing lice. The strong smell of the mouthwash suffocates the lice and kills them. Apply mouthwash on hair and scalp and leave it on for about 2 hours. Then wash hair with shampoo.
Hydrogen peroxide and borax – This combination, although sounds like a chemical is a safe and natural remedy that is effective in getting rid of lice. Mix together hydrogen peroxide and water in the ratio 1:3 and then add borax to this mixture. Once the hydrogen peroxide is saturated, apply the mixture to the head and leave it on for a few hours. Afterwards wash your hair with a shampoo.
Cleome gynandra / African Cabbage – Phytochemicals in African Cabbage leaves and seeds have anti-parasitic action. Applying a mixture of the seeds and oil of Cleome gynandra on the scalp is found to be effective in getting rid of head lice.
Custard apple seeds – Powdered seeds of custard apple have also been found to be a good home remedy for head lice. Take a few seeds of custard apple and grind them into a fine powder. Apply this powder on the head and comb off the dead lice.
Cherimoya – Cherimoya powder made from unripe fruits is an effective remedy for getting rid of hair lice. Make a paste of this powder with water and apply it on your scalp. Leave it on for about an hour and then wash it off. This will help in eliminating nits and lice from the hair.
Guyabano – Guyabano leaves have anti-parasitic effects and hence are considered to be very useful in getting rid of head lice. A decoction prepared from these leaves when applied on the scalp is found to be effective in eliminating head lice.
Frequent washing of hair does not guarantee that lice won’t infest your head. Head lice are highly contagious and so the best way to prevent infestation is to avoid contact with already infested head. Also make sure to avoid sharing of combs, brushes, towels, pillows and hats. Adding essential oils to your grooming products is a great way to keep away these insects. Using any of the home remedies mentioned above is probably better than using harsh chemicals on the head.