hintsandthings.co.uk »Nursery

Treating Head Lice, suggested remedies for getting rid headlice.

cross face



See also Parts 2,
, 4, 5, 6
and 7



Information, remedies and games.


This subject seems to have created a lot of
interest as it appears to be a world wide problem with no definitive
answer.  We have received many different remedies, some more unusual than others,
with different things working for different people.

It has now grown to such an
extent I have decided to divide the information into more user friendly
pages which I hope you will find more convenient.

As always, research, products
and advice is every changing making it very difficult to make available
the most up to date at any given time.  With this in mind it may be
worthwhile checking out the following sites as they are very likely to
feature the latest:-



As mentioned in
other pages, the best, safest and cheapest resolution is to remove them
manually with conditioner and a fine tooth comb.

I am retaining the
original information which has been on site for many years in case it is
of interest but I would, however, like to stress at this point that I have
no personal experience of most of the remedies listed I am just passing on information
received from interested visitors.

This page contains many unusual
“remedies” which in themselves may cause concern, before embarking on them I am
listing some words of caution, the first of which have been received from
a Head Lice Consultant –

I am a head lice consultant and treat children and adults for
head lice every day. To begin with we tried head lice treatments but found a number of

1. The head lice were not dying from the treatment and
continued to breed without any ramifications from the chemicals.

2. Some of the children we treated had devastating side
affects to the treatment including asthma, coughing fits, burning, blistering and in some
cases scaring not to mention long term health risks.

3. I have found that head lice often feed at the time of
treatment and combing is less successful as the louse is attached to the scalp.

Some parents were treating their children every day to try
and rid the parasite where others had bought a treatment with their shopping every week
for as long as three years.

I then decided to research these chemicals and was horrified
by the finding. The NPA reported overwhelming health risk to mainly children and reports
of leukeamia became evident.

I then decided to use basic hair conditioner on dry hair.
Combing the hair thoroughly and in small sections and removing eggs has given me great

I have seen horrific scaring from kerosene, petrol and other
poisons even from those sold over the counter.

I have not yet found a chemical or non chemical solution that
kills the tiny eggs (nits). I have found up to 900 lice on one child’s head and hundred
upon hundreds of eggs. without a constant detection program and time consuming combing,
head lice will thrive in schools and day care centers for a long while to come.

Chemicals are poisons and not worth risking our children’s
lives. Before using dangerous harmful chemicals that seep through the scalp and into the
blood stream consider alternative non chemical treatments.

Thank you Maryanne
Paterson for this information.

A warning regarding
the use of products such as Vaseline.  I took a survival course and one of the things
that we used for quick fire starting is “Vaseline” (petroleum jelly) soaked
cotton swabs.  Just a few sparks from a flint stick and “voila” a
fire.  Keep your child’s head away from open flames e.g. candles, cigarettes
etc.  Also beware, this is a petroleum product that you are smothering your child’s
head with.”

I have to thank Stefan
Meyers for the very timely warning.

I have recently heard from two
people who have noticed bald patches and/or thinning hair after using
two very different proprietary products – one natural, tea tree oil
based and the other a more chemical based product.

In view of this I did a little more
research and here is my response which I thought may be of interest to
others –

I must stress I am not expert.

“I was very concerned when I
received your message, as only last week I received a similar one from
someone a Tea Tree based natural product who was experiencing the same
sort of problem.

I have spoken to my daughter who is
a pharmacist here in the UK and she has not read or heard of any such
adverse affects being recorded nor is she aware of the ingredients of
this type of product being known to have these side effects. Having
said that there are many factors involved such as other medication
being used, child’s overall health, product being used correctly etc.

She says that the cheapest and most
effective remedy is still, plenty of conditioner, thorough combing
with a fine tooth comb e.g.
Free Terminator
(USA) or

Nitty Gritty Nit Free
(UK) ****
and plenty of patience.

She did, however, mention that
there is now a product on the market called “Hedrin” which
is said to be quite effective as it suffocates these lice rather than
poisoning them.

It may be a good idea to consult a
doctor as the bald patches may be unconnected to the hair treatment.


This NitFree comb is sometimes available on
prescription from your GP or from any prescribing health visitor,
nurse or Pharmacist – It is listed in Part IXA (Appliances) of the
current Drug Tariff as the Nitty Gritty NitFree Steel nitcomb with
microgrooved teeth.

I have come across the following
site which clearly states one product has now been discontinued in the
UK –

and it is also recommended that if any chemical product does not work
then use should be ceased immediately and to avoid using any other


would like to add this to the many head lice remedies I’ve read on
your site. 
I would like to start by saying that this is something
entirely new
, which is not toxic, smelly or harmful in anyway to
your hair or your health. 
It’s an entirely unique approach to snuffing out these hateful
little creatures once and for all! 
It’s simple, yet the application and procedure IS a bit time
But for anyone (like me, for instance!) who has done battle
against head lice for YEARS, (or even if you are tired of trying this
and that and spending money on OTC’s, herbal remedies and even
prescription medications that do nothing but make these critters
stronger!) this may be the end of the road for head lice in your

product you need to purchase is called Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser.
(Yes, you read correctly, skin cleanser!) 
I have not done the research to find out if this product if
available in all countries, but as far as I know it’s available
anywhere in the U.S. and can be ordered online from any pharmacy or drug
store, and can be purchased at stores in the U.S. such as Walgreen’s,
Long’s Drug Store, Walmart, Kmart, Target or any store that carries
skin care products.  It
comes in bottles of 8 or 16 ounces, and the size you purchase depends on
the length and thickness of your hair, or how many heads need to be
treated in your household.  It’s
a rather thick lotion, almost odorless, and can be used on even the most
sensitive skin.  However, it can sting if it gets into your eyes.

that you know what it is and what to purchase, here is a list of other
things you will need and directions for use:

  • Cetaphil
    Gentle Skin Cleanser

  • Applicator
    bottle, such as the plastic bottles hair dye comes in. 

  • A
    regular hair comb (must be fairly sturdy, as the lotion is very

  • A
    wide toothed comb (for thick or longer hair, to keep it untangled)

  • A
    metal lice comb

  • Towel

  • Hair
    clips for sectioning hair



with dry hair and cover your shoulders with a towel. (Cetaphil is very
thick so you won’t have much dripping) Use a good metal lice comb to
comb out as many nits as possible before you start. Section your hair
off in very small sections; it’s extremely important that you
coat every strand of hair, and apply the Cetaphil directly to your scalp
at each part you make in your hair so that you lessen the chance of
missing even ONE louse on your head! 
Use Cetaphil liberally and massage, massage, massage it in. Even
ONE louse left uncoated may survive to reproduce. 

you are sure you have covered every strand of hair and every inch of
scalp, use a regular (but sturdy comb) to begin combing out the excess
lotion.  You may need to use
a wide toothed comb first, if your hair is thick or very long. 
Comb until you have removed as much of the excess Cetaphil as
possible.  Once that is
done, use a hair dryer to dry your hair. 
(Use the most powerful hair dryer you have, as the drying process
can take up to three times longer than drying after a shower–this is
the only really time consuming part of the process, as the Cetaphil
takes much, much longer to dry than water.) 

will happen is that the Cetaphil will dry on your head, hair (and also
on the lice), cutting off their source of oxygen, and therefore
smothering them.  (In a
sense, they will be ‘shrink wrapped’)  Lice can literally survive for hours without breathing, so
this must be left on the hair for a minimum of 8 hours.  This can be done before bed, so that the ‘smothering’
process can take place during sleep. You must make SURE that your
hair is completely dry in order for the lice to be totally
encased in the dried Cetaphil, and therefore be unable to breath.

After 8 hours, wash
and dry your hair normally. Use the metal lice comb once again, to comb
out any surviving live nits.  For
best results, you must repeat this treatment three times in one-week
intervals to make sure that newly hatching lice do not survive to begin
the hatching and reproducing cycle again. 

All bedding should
be washed after each treatment, as well as any clothing, pajamas or
towels used during lice infestation. 
Combs and brushes should be run through the wash cycle, or can be
put in the freezer over night. Carpeting and furniture should be
vacuumed, however lice cannot survive away from human heads for longer
than 20 hours.  We are their
‘food source’, so there is no need to be overly concerned about lice
that have fallen to the floor or carpet.  Lice also can not hop, jump or fly, and are only transmitted
via head to head contact, or by using a comb or brush used by someone
with head lice.  However,
they do crawl, so they may crawl from pillow to pillow or crawl onto
clothing that is shared or hung close together, such as sweaters and
coats hung up closely together in a classroom. 

I do hope that this
will be of help to you, and I look forward to hearing about anyone who
has tried this treatment and has had the same success I’ve had!