As school got back under this past month, it's also the time of year when reports of head lice in schools starts to increase. There are a number of myths that surround this very common parasitic infestation that lead to a degree of shame and misinformation as to how to treat it. Here we'll endeavor to give you the information that you need to eliminate the infestation with as little emotional distress as possible.
First, the most common myth about head lice is that that somehow caused by being unclean. Not only is this untrue, but some studies have found that hair that is too clean, having no oils present, actually makes it easier for the lice to chase the hair shaft and deposit their eggs, called nits. If hair is a little oilier, it makes it much more difficult.
Head lice can affect anyone, regardless of age or sex. The only exception is ethnicity. It is quite rare for African-Americans to get head lice because they have a hair shaft that is more oval shaped and the lice can not trap it. African-Americans are afflicted by a particular species of head lice, but they are only found on the African continent.
If you or your child does end up with head lice, there are several essential oils that can get rid of the buggers quickly and easily and that are actually good for your hair, unlike the pesticide based treatments sold at the pharmacy.
The first thing you will need to do is purchase a metal nit comb. This is a comb with metal teeth that are spaced very close together so that it can effectively pull the nits off the hair shaft. Since they are attached with a very strong, waxy glue substance, they are quite difficult to remove any other way. You want to be sure that you get the comb with the metal teeth. You'll pay more for it, but they are much more durable and effective than the plastic comb. The plastic combs tend to break or the teeth will stretch out rendering them useless.
Next you should select the essential oils you want to use. There are several of them that are anti-parasitic. Eucalyptus, Juniper, Lavender, Ylang-Ylang, Tea Tree, Geranium, Grapefruit, Lemon, Orange, and Rosemary or any combination of those oils will be effective. You'll want to mix 75-80 drops of essential oil with 4 ounces of coconut oil. It's not clear why, but coconut oil is more effective than any other type of carrier oil. If you have particular long hair, you may need to double this mixture because you will need to saturate your entire head all the way to the ends of hair. Next, cover the head with a plastic shower cap (the kind they give you at hotels so you can throw it away) and then wrap your head in a towel. This mixture is quite strong and the towel helps keep the fumes out of your eyes, however if irritation occurs, wash it out immediately and try another treatment. Leave the oil on your hair for at least 2 hours and then comb through the hair with the nit comb, working in inch inch sections. Wash the hair once finished but do not try and wet the hair first, just add the shampoo to the oil, as it will be easier to remove. Keep washing until all the oil is removed. You'll need to repeat this treatment every 3 days until no more nits or lice are found.
Head lice does not have to be the end of the world, with a little bit of help from Mother Nature, you can have a healthy head and scalp again.