Natural remedies for head lice that all parents can try
Head lice: every parent’s nightmare. It’s a problem that most parents have to deal with at some point, usually while their children are in primary school or younger. Stopping them from spreading is tough, particularly among girls with long hair who aren’t shy about hugging and playing close together. It’s often a problem after the holidays, when everyone is reunited and the lice start spreading.
Tackling the problem often means buying a special shampoo or chemical head lice treatment, but not all parents want to take that route. Although these treatments are unlikely to be harmful, head lice can build resistance to them. Some parents simply want a more natural head lice treatment that will be kind to their child’s hair and skin. Fortunately, there are some tried and tested natural ways to get rid of head lice that families have been using for a long time.
Your Essential Tool: A Nit Comb
No matter how you decide to get rid of head lice, a good comb is a must. A fine-toothed comb designed for dealing with head lice and nits will help to remove both the lice themselves and their eggs. The best thing is that they hardly cost anything and will last you a long time (See our range here). You can use them again and again, which is great if you’re struggling with a recurring head lice problem. You can buy a nit comb with metal teeth or an even more affordable one with plastic teeth, which can do the job well too. Double-sided combs usually have one slightly finer side than the other, which helps with removing eggs. Find out how to effectively use a nit comb to remove head lice here.
Using Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil is often recommended as a remedy to get rid of head lice and prevent them from coming back. It’s a natural disinfectant, and it has the bonus of smelling quite nice too, but you might not know that it’s also a natural insecticide, making it ideal for nit treatment. That means it can help kill off head lice, and as an oil it will help to suffocate the lice too. Tea tree oil can be used mixed with olive oil or coconut oil, or even normal shampoo, and applied for a few minutes to let it work. You can also get hair treatments containing tea tree oil, but they might not be as strong.
Garlic is another natural nit treatment that has antibacterial properties. As well as making for a good soup when you have a cold, it’s also recommended as one of the top home remedies for lice. Of course, it doesn’t smell quite as good as tea tree oil does, and it’s not liquid, either. But if you want to try it out, you can crush a peeled bulb of garlic into a paste and mix it with olive oil or lime juice. After applying, leave it for 30 minutes to allow it to suffocate the head lice, then wash it out.
Using a conditioner can make head lice removal easier too. There are plenty of gentle conditioners that will not only help to detangle your child’s hair but could help to suffocate the head lice too. Nit combs are very fine, so it helps if your child’s hair is free of tangles. It will be easier for you, but it will also be less painful for them.
Lice treatment isn’t just an annoyance for parents. It’s also often distressing for children, who have to sit still and put up with all kinds of treatment to try and remove the lice. Firstly, making sure your child’s hair is free of tangles should help. It will be much easier to comb their hair if it’s not causing them any pain, so try not to be too rough with the nit comb, either. Giving them something to do will stop them from getting bored, whether it’s watching TV, reading a book or just having a conversation.
Schools might not have nit nurses anymore, but regular checks for head lice are still a good idea. If you check for them regularly, your child can get used to it and it won’t be such a big deal if you need to spend some time de-licing. One of the best natural remedies for head lice is to catch them early and prevent them from taking hold.
If you don’t want to use treatments with chemicals in them, natural remedies for nits are available. They can be successful if you take the time to do them properly.