When your child gets head lice for the first time it can be quite a shock. How can this tiny insect cause so much emotional upset, inconvenience and feelings of uncleanliness? The fact is that if left untreated adult lice can lay 7-10 eggs per day and multiply over a week. They are very active, cannot hop or fly, and instead crawl, moving from head to head quickly.
To make matters worse, the tiny eggs are firmly attached to the base of the hair shaft (approximately 4mm of the scalp) with a glue-like substance making them very hard to detect and remove. Incubated by body heat they stay close to the scalp where it’s warm and close to the blood supply for their source of food. Once dislodged, a louse can survive for only two days because it won’t have a source of heat or food.
To distinguish between the eggs of head lice from other types of debris you find on the head, such as dandruff or dead skin, other types will slide easily along the shaft of the hair, whereas eggs will not.
Lice vs Nits – The Difference and How to Tell Them Apart
- Louse – (Pediculus humanus capitis) insect 2 to 3 mm long, 6 legs, tan to greyish-white in colour
- Lice – Plural of louse. Many = Infestation
- Nits – Lice eggs – unhatched = Opaque
- Nit – Lice eggs – hatched = Clear
Treating an Infestation
If you have decided you want to treat your child’s head lice with natural ingredients then the best method is to use a professional head lice treatment product containing plant carrier and essential oils. Carrier oils (CO) are named so because they “carry” an essential oil (EO) to the skin, scalp & and hair. Carrier oils are typically cold-pressed oils that are produced from the fatty portions of a specific plant and are used to suffocate and immobilise the lice. A properly formulated head lice treatment oil will also contain essential oils which possess ovicidal, repellent and insecticidal properties and used safely are a natural alternative in helping to eradicate lice and eggs.
5 Steps to Eradicate Lice and Eggs
- Apply a natural Head Lice Treatment Oil and leave on as long as possible to immobilise and suffocate the live lice and penetrate the eggs.
- After an hour, using a fine-tooth comb, carefully section the hair and remove as many lice and eggs as possible. Leave the oil on as long as possible after the initial comb-out, even overnight if possible.
- Shampoo the oil from the hair. Adding the shampoo before introducing the water will activate the lather better. You may need to shampoo twice to remove all of the oil.
- Apply a Herbal Rinse to detach any remaining eggs and cool and soothe the scalp.
- As a preventative measure and to help avoid future infestation use a preventative spray before school.
Dealing with head lice naturally does mean taking a little more time. The alternative in using a product that may offer to kill the lice and eggs in 15-30 mins is the risk of having to use harsh synthetic chemicals.
Holistic Hair's Showdown Head Lice Treatment Oil uses olive, coconut, lavender, tea tree, citronella and pink grapefruit oils for the natural treatment of head lice. Following treatment, try using Holistic Hair’s Herbal Finishing Rinse to help detach any remaining eggs. Holistic Hair’s Showdown Head Lice Shield Spray can also be used to help protect against infestation of head lice.
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