People look for a home remedy for lice for a variety of reasons. Maybe they are concerned about the potential side effects of medicated shampoos. Maybe they want something affordable. Maybe they don’t want to bother making a trip to the doctor. Maybe they want something simple and easy. While these are all valid reasons to choose home remedies for lice, it’s important to make sure you’re choosing a remedy that actually works.
Unfortunately, some of the home remedies lice sufferers sometimes turn to just aren’t very effective. Some aren’t even safe. You don’t want to waste your time on remedies that won’t kill lice and you definitely don’t want to endanger your health with dangerous home remedies. We’ll tell you about some of the common home remedies for lice and which ones really work.
Essential oils – Essential oils, like tea tree oil, ylang ylang oil and anise oil, are sometimes used to treat lice. There have been a few small studies that found these oils may kill lice and nits (lice eggs) but more information about the effectiveness of these and how to best use them is needed.
Hair dye – Some people try to kill lice by dyeing or bleaching their hair. The chemicals in some hair dyes will kill lice but they won’t kill nits. That means you won’t be lice-free for long because those nits will hatch and you’ll soon have a head full of lice again.
Smothering agents – Some people try applying things like butter, mayonnaise, olive oil or petroleum jelly liberally to the hair, then leaving it on overnight in an attempt to kill lice by smothering them. The Mayo Clinic says there is no evidence these things actually work to kill lice, though. You’ll likely just end up with a mess and still have to contend with lice.
Kerosene – This may be the most dangerous home remedy for lice that some people have tried. Believing it will kill lice, they apply kerosene to the head. There is insufficient evidence to say whether kerosene effectively kills lice or not, but even if it does, the risks of using it in this way are too great. Kerosene is highly irritating to the skin and can cause redness, swelling, itching, a burning sensation and a rash. The fumes are hazardous and breathing them in can cause nausea, dizziness and changes in mental status. Kerosene is also highly flammable. There are much, much safer home remedies for lice. The same can be said of gasoline.
Permethrin – Lice-killing shampoos containing permethrin, such as Nix, are readily available over the counter and many people use these at home to get rid of life. Permethrin is a pesticide and while it usually does a good job killing both lice and nits, it can cause side effects like skin irritation, itching, redness and a burning sensation.
Pyrethrin – Pyrethrin is another pesticide found in over-the-counter lice-killing shampoos, like Rid. It is effective for most people, although in some geographic regions lice have begun developing a resistance to pyrethrin and it may not work in some cases. Possible side effects are similar to those caused by permethrin. According to the Mayo Clinic website, people that are allergic to ragweed or chrysanthemums should not use products containing pyrethrin due to the risk of a serious allergic reaction.
Our favorite home remedy for lice is the Fairy Tales Lice Good-bye Lice Removal Kit. We like it for many reasons, including the fact that it works so well and the fact that it contains no toxic pesticides. Instead, it’s made from naturally-occurring enzymes that effectively kills lice and loosens the eggs (nits), so they can easily be removed. To learn more about our favorite remedy for lice, just follow the link above.