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How to really beat head lice: Natural treatments, product reviews and prevention

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Girl having her hair inspected for head lice

Struggling to get rid of head lice and nits? It's a problem that all mums come across with their kids at school. Apparently 8% of children in the UK have head lice at any one time. Just thinking about it makes our heads itch!

To help you beat those horrible bugs, we've asked you to test some of the products that claim to get rid of nits.

We've also got your top tips on preventing head lice and the homemade treatments that really work.

The facts on head lice

  • Head lice are tiny insects without wings. They live near the scalp and feed off blood.
  • Head lice lay eggs which attach to the hair about 5mm away from the scalp. These eggs are called nits.
  • All children (and adults) can get head lice - it doesn't matter how clean the hair is, head lice just like to live somewhere warm.
  • Itching isn't an early sign of the lice - if your child has an itchy head they may have had head lice for up to 3 months.
  • Head lice spread by head-to-head contact (which children get a lot of when they're playing together). They rarely spread from something like a hat, because they die very quickly when they're away from the scalp.
  • Research suggests that head lice are becoming resistant to traditional treatments that contain pesticides, so more treatments that smother the head lice are appearing.

Head lice: Prevention and natural treatments

If you're not too keen on the head lice products that are available in the shops, there are some natural home remedies you can try too. Plus we've got tips from other mums on how to prevent head lice from coming back.

Head lice natural treatments

  • Mayonnaise: Cover the hair in mayonnaise and put a shower cap over the top. Leave on overnight and wash it out in the morning. The mayonnaise will smother the lice, but you'll still need to comb out the remaining nits (eggs).
  • Olive oil: Use the same method as with the mayonnaise - olive oil is also said to smother the lice.
  • Comb it out: You could forget all the products and just use a comb. It will take you a while as you'll have to comb through the hair in very small sections - but if you're thorough then it's likely to be effective. Dip the comb in water in between each brush so you're not just moving the lice around - and repeat a few times over the next few days to make sure you've got rid of all the eggs.

Head lice prevention

We collected these tips on how to prevent head lice from mums on Facebook.
  • Herbal treatments: Julie-Liz said: 'I use a herbal product called Nice N Clear once a week and that keeps them away. Tea tree oil based products are also a good deterrent. I find prevention is better than cure - but if my lil'un does catch them I'm straight down the chemist for Full Marks!'
  • Tea tree conditioner: Tracey said: 'I use tea tree conditioner to get rid. Once I had a re-infestation for 2 months and I dread to think what the chemicals would have done.'
  • Weekly combing: Gail said: 'Getting them to comb their hair 2 times a week while in the bath or shower is good. I've used a tea tree shampoo on my kids for 3 years and found it very good.'
  • Nit-repelling hair-styles: Charlotte said: 'French plaits, hairspray and no fringes for prevention. I use Lyclear and twice daily brushing plus hand-picking for up to 3 weeks to prevent re-infestation. It's gross and expensive!'

Have you got a tip for preventing or getting rid of head lice? What's the product you can't live without? Let us know by leaving a comment in the box below or tell us on Facebook

Head lice product testing: Hedrin


Mum Lindsey tested out Hedrin Once on her 11-year-old son, Charlie. Hedrin claims to kill lice and eggs in just one treatment.



Hedrin Once is applied to dry hair and left for 15 minutes then washed out. It's recommended that you then comb through the hair with a nit comb to remove any eggs that are still attached to the hair. Because it doesn't contain any insecticides, Hedrin claim head lice can't build up a resistance to it.

Lindsey's verdict:

How effective was Hedrin Once? 'It seemed to do the trick - all of the lice were dead when I combed through Charlie's hair afterwards and I haven't seen any signs of life since.'

 

Was it easy to use? 'It was a little messy to use as it was really runny. Ones I've used in the past have had a thicker consistency.'

 

Was it pleasant to use? 'There was hardly any smell and it only needed to be left on for 15 minutes which is great when you've got an impatient child.'

 

Would you use it again? 'I would definitely use it again. Knowing that lice can't build up a resistance to it is even better.'

 

Marks out of 10? 'I'd give it 9/10 and would recommend it to my friends too.'

Hedrin Once costs £6.99 for 60ml and you can buy it at hedrin.co.uk.

 

Head lice product testing: Lyclear



Julie tested Lyclear Spray Away on her 8-year-old daughter, after telling us on Facebook 'My daughter's hair is a nightmare! I give my son a grade 3 haircut when he gets head lice, but I can't do that with my daughter.'

 

Apply Lyclear to dry hair, massage in and leave for 15 minutes. Wash with normal shampoo and rinse thoroughly. Then remove head lice and eggs using a metallic comb. Repeat the treatment after 7 days. Lyclear doesn't contain insecticides - it kills the head lice by blocking their breathing holes.

 

Julie's verdict:

How effective was Lyclear Spray Away? 'It was very effective and got rid of the lice.'

 

Was it easy to use? 'It was really easy to use - a lot easier than liquids and a lot less messy.'

 

Was it pleasant to use? 'The smell was actually really nice, like liquorice. Even my 9-year-old son said: "Who's been eating liquorice? I want some!"'

 

Would you use it again? 'I'd more than likely use it again if I saw it in the pharmacy.'

 


Marks out of 10? 'I'd rate it 10/10'

Lyclear Spray Away costs £10.91 for 60ml and can be bought from boots.com

 

Head lice product testing: Not Nice to Lice



goodtoknow user Nicola tested Not Nice to Lice after having problems with her son's hair. Not Nice to Lice to an insecticide-free product.

You lather Not Nice to Lice into wet hair, leave on for 10 minutes and then rinse out. Apply conditioner and then brush through with a fine-toothed comb. Not Nice to Lice claims to have a pleasant peppermint smell and says head lice can't build up resistance to it.

 

Nicola's verdict:

How effective was Not Nice to Lice? 'The treatment was very good, it eradicated the lice.'

 

Was it easy to use? 'Yes but it's better to do the treatment while in the bath and then wash it off. A previous one we'd used had to be left on.'

 

Was it pleasant to use? 'It had a much nicer smell than the other products on the market. The bottle contains plenty of solution to do a few treatments, even if treating long hair.'

 

Would you use it again? 'Yes, I would use it again.'

 

Marks out of 10? '9/10 - a very good treatment.'

Not Nice to Lice costs £10.99 for 200ml and is available from www.expresschemist.co.uk

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Jessica

I tried Rid and Nix and it did not work. Apparently lice are becoming immune to some of the over the counter products like the ones I used above. I was told by my child's school nurse to use Fairy Tales Hair Care's lice treatment called Lice Goodbye. It got rid of the live lice by killing them right away and it loosened up the eggs so they are easy to comb out. I highly reccomend their lice treatment. I also tell parents that if they want to keep their child from getting lice they have to use preventative products that will help keep them lice free. I use Fairy Tales Hair Care's Rosemary Repel products, they have kept my children lice free since their last infestation even though their School continues to battle with outbreaks.

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