Each year, an estimated 6 to 12 million children become infected with lice. Lice infestations are an incredibly common problem and though they don’t pose any significant risk to your child’s health, they can certainly be a nuisance and a challenge to control. It only takes a few lice to create an infestation and the life cycle of head lice repeats itself every three weeks if left untreated.
Over-the-counter lice control products were once the preferred method of treatment, but many contain potentially harmful ingredients and the lice themselves are becoming resistant to certain pesticides. Maria Botham, founder and president of Hair Fairies, suggests a safer and more effective approach: manual removal of lice and nits.
Along with other experts, Maria Botham was cited in a post published on a segment of New York Magazine regarding the most effective methods to eradicate lice.
Summary of the New York Magazine Article
In late February 2020, The Strategist published an article by Kayla Levy regarding her experience struggling with the prevention and treatment of lice. Levy acknowledges that lice infestations are most commonly seen in school-aged children and their caretakers, but she recounts her experience with them in her twenties. After first contracting lice while in college, Levy got them again while living in a co-op with 27 other people. The article recounts her experience and the methods she used for the removal and prevention of recurrent lice infestations.
Levy mentions the fact that lice don’t spread disease and they aren’t a sign of poor hygiene. According to experts such as Ms. Botham, lice are most commonly spread through direct head-to-head contact and cannot survive more than 24 hours away from humans. Based on her research as well as her own experience, Levy came to realize that, “no single treatment alone is going to eliminate them.”
In her search for the most effective method for lice removal, Levy has tried everything from drugstore shampoos and pesticide lotions to natural oils and herbal remedies. As she researched various treatment methods, however, she found a common thread – one that Hair Fairies founder and president Botham agrees with: manual removal with a nit comb is an essential element of any lice removal process and may be the most effective method overall.
Manual Removal is Best for Lice Control
Head lice live for about 28 days and they develop in three stages from egg (nit) to nymph into an adult louse. It takes about 7 days for a nymph to mature into an adult at which point they start laying up to 10 eggs a day which themselves develop into egg-laying adults after 12 to 14 days. The life cycle of lice can repeat itself every 3 weeks if left untreated.
Many over-the-counter lice treatments are designed to smother the lice or to kill them outright using toxic pesticides. Natural remedies may help to repel lice, but few methods are completely effective. Manual removal with a nit comb is the best method, though it does take some time and effort.
These are the steps to follow when removing lice and nits by hand:
- Wet your child’s hair and apply a generous layer of Nit-Zapping Clenz Cream, working it into your child’s scalp and along the length of the hair.
- Gently untangle the hair using a wide-toothed comb then divide the hair into sections.
- Use a lice comb to comb for lice along each individual section, placing the flat of the comb against the scalp and drawing it gently through the hair from root to tip.
- Wipe the comb on a paper towel after each stroke, checking for nits and lice every time.
- Repeat the process on each length of hair at least five times.
- Use a flashlight to check each section for any remaining lice, eggs, or nits before moving to the next section.
- Wash your child’s hair as usual or use Nit-Zapping Clenz Shampoo then rinse well and thoroughly clean or discard the comb after use.
Manual lice removal can be a time-consuming and labor-intensive process, but it is necessary if you want to completely eradicate nits to prevent them from hatching and starting the entire cycle over again. Lice control products like shampoos and creams help, but a multi-faceted approach is best.
If you want to make sure the problem is addressed correctly without exhausting yourself with constant coming, consider a professional lice removal company like Hair Fairies. Salons are located in a number of major cities and professional consultations are available by phone.