There has been a outbreak of lice in our community lately and I am always one to be prepared. Of course I do not want to use the chemical stuff that they sell at the drug stores. Plus, the good news is that many of the over-the-counter lice treatments are actually becoming ineffective because we are developing a resistance to them! So after much research I have come up with a protocol for how to get rid of lice naturally.
If you want to see just what’s in those over-the-counter lice treatments, please check out THIS PAGE
What are lice?
Lice are a type of parasite. They are scavengers that feed on skin, debris, sebaceous secretions and sometimes even blood from their host (you!). They lay eggs in your hair that are called nits (hence the phrase nit-picking). The lice attach their eggs to your hair using a specialized saliva that is very hard to dissolve. They are most typically found in school age children, girls more often than boys. Does that mean that girls really do have cooties after all?
How do I know if I have lice?
The most common symptoms are a itchy red scalp, you can see this by parting the hair and looking for redness. You will also notice white bumps at the base of the hair follicle. These are the lice eggs, or nits. They will be extremely hard to remove with your fingers. This is why you have to do a lice removal protocol.
Why this protocol works:
Apple Cider Vinegar dissolves the saliva/glue
Coconut oil smothers the little buggers
Tea tree oil has been used for years as an effective treatment for lice, they even use it at summer camp! Here is why tea tree oil is effective:
Tea Tree Oil contains a natural bacteria fighting ingredient, called terpinen-4-ol. There are over one hundred known benefits of tea tree oil for use in skin irritation, infections and diseases. Head lice prefer hair that is clean. Tea tree oil coats the hair and scalp and contains agents that will kill the head lice and eggs. Because tea tree oil has antiseptic and healing properties, it not only will kill the lice, but will soothe and heal the irritated scalp that has been affected by head lice. (source)
If you have an aversion to tea tree oil, you can also use lavender, neem, rosemary, clove, eucalyptus, anise, cinnamon leaf, red thyme, peppermint, nutmeg or ylang-ylang.
What you will need:
- 1 jar of coconut oil (where to find)
- 1 jar of apple cider vinegar (where to find)
- 1 bottle tea tree oil (where to find essential oils)
- 1 shower cap (where to find)
- 1 nit comb (where to find)
How to do this:
This whole operation is about breaking the bond the lice have to your hair and then smothering them with coconut oil to kill them (insert evil laugh here). You will want to do this on a day when you don’t have to go anywhere because you will be wearing a shower cap all day. That’s hot! You can also do this treatment before you go to bed and leave it on while you sleep, just make sure to cover your pillow with a bath towel.
Step one: Douse your hair with the vinegar and allow it to dry completely. This dissolves their “glue” that holds those little buggers onto your hair follicles so tightly!
Step two: In a bowl, mix 1 cup of coconut oil and 10-15 drops of tea tree oil. Coat your hair with mixture, completely cover your hair very liberally! If you run out, just mix up some more. Do not apply tea tree oil directly to the scalp, make sure to mix it with the oil first!
Step three: Put on that fancy shower cap and let it cook. Bonus: coconut oil makes your hair super soft. If you really want to get the coconut oil to penetrate the hair, heat it up with a blow dryer for a little while. Nothing like a slime filled warm shower cap to make you feel incredibly beautiful! The longer you leave it on the more likely you are to kill them all. You will want to leave it on for a minimum of 6 hours.
….sorry, I couldn’t resist
Step four: Get out your fancy nit comb and start combing them out. Comb in sections starting from the top and make sure you comb each and every hair! These combs work by scraping the eggs off the hair follicle. Make sure to either flush the eggs down the toilet or dispose of them properly, you don’t want them laying around the house! Continue to check your hair or your child’s hair for a few weeks afterward to make sure they do not return!
Step five: Wash all of the clothes that you wore the past 48 hours and your bedding. For kids, make sure to wash their stuffed animals and their “loveys”. When you wash your clothes/bedding, add tea tree oil to the wash and use hot water. Also vacuum and clean the house very well!. Lice can live up to 48 hours after they have fallen off of you. They only live 24-48 hours without their “host” because they cannot feed. Wash all of your brushes and combs. Wash rugs and towels from the bathroom too!
Resources: Frugally Sustainable
Image credit: Flickr