Head Lice Treatments: Natural vs. Poison
We've all been conditioned to react similarly when we hear of lice in our kids' schools or on our children. We race to the local pharmacy or grocery store to pick up the over-the-counter chemical shampoo and spray. But what we may not know is that these chemicals can be dangerous for adults and toxic to our kids. Let's examine the different options, so you can make a better decision for your family.
There are two major over-the-counter lice treatments in the United States -- RID and NIX. NIX's active ingredient is Permethrin, which while killing lice, can also cause cancer and is poisonous to the nervous system causing eye and skin irritations. The active ingredients in RID lice treatment products are Piperonyl butoxide and pyrethins. When combined these chemicals are a toxic compound to both lice and children.
If swelling of the lips, face, eyelids, mouth, or closing of the throat occurs, seek emergency care immediately. These chemicals may also cause hives or shortness of breath. Why take the risk when many types of lice have developed a resistance to over-the-counter treatments, and don't always work.
Prescription Lice Shampoos and Sprays
If patients haven't responded to over-the-counter medicines, doctors are prescribing Lindane or Malathion, chemical pesticides used in the treatment of lice. Don't think that just because your child's pediatrician prescribed it that it's harmless. These two chemicals have been show to cause neurological side effects like seizure, dizziness, headache, and burning or prickly skin.
The FDA has also demonstrated in clinical trials that Lindane and Malathion has an increased risk to children, elderly, and people weighing less than 110 pounds. The likelihood of neurological damage increases in these people. Since head lice are commonly found on children, this makes the use of prescription chemical pesticides a very controversial treatment for children. Please be aware that if you wash your children's hair too frequently with these chemicals, death can occur.
Natural Lice Treatments
There are several lice treatments that contain no harmful chemicals or pesticides. You can find natural sprays or shampoos that use different oils as their main ingredients. Oils such as neem seed oil, karanja seed oil and tea tree oil have been shown to kill lice for good.
You should also use a good lice comb or even a flea comb which can be more effective depending on the comb. Nits are the eggs that haven't hatched yet. We have found only 2 products that contain a special enzyme that softens the glue lice use to attach nits to hair, making the nits easier to remove. Those two products are listed below.
Next time your children have lice, make sure to look for natural remedies to head lice. Chemical pesticides are too dangerous for children, and aren't always effective.
We recommend two different products: EZ-Pick and Licekiller.