What are home remedies to get rid of head lice?


Quick Answer

At-home treatments for head lice include manual removal, essential oils and neem extract, according to Cathy Wong for About.com. It is important to note that natural remedies have not been regulated by the FDA and should be used carefully.

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Full Answer

The National Pediculosis Association advocates manually removing head lice and eggs, explains Dr. Vincent Iannelli for About.com. This is the most effective treatment that does not use any chemicals. Nits and live lice can be removed with a comb and tweezers. This method is time-consuming and may need to be repeated for several days. Even after the use of a shampoo treatment, this method still needs to be done because shampoo treatments do not kill the eggs.

Some experiments indicate that essential oils such as tea tree, peppermint, cinnamon, lavender and eucalyptus can destroy head lice, notes Wong. It is important to know that test tube experiments may not yield the same results when oils are applied to the scalp. One study in 2010 found that a solution made from tea tree and lavender oil was more effective at eliminating head lice than a product containing two of the main ingredients used in lice shampoos.

Several studies indicate that shampoos containing neem extract may help eliminate lice. Neem extract has insecticidal compounds that kill head lice, states Wong. In a 2011 study, scientists used a neem shampoo on 12 children and found that a one-time, 10-minute treatment killed all lice and eggs.

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