How to get rid of lice
Lice. These itchy little buggers are the struggle of every parent's existence. "Oh no, what are the others thinking, haven't we done enough". There's no need to be ashamed or worried.
It is high season for lice in day-care centres and after-school clubs. The little bloodsuckers have the best conditions where there are kids. Many children get lice today, its far more common than it used to be. This is because lice have become resistant to the lice repellents used in the past.
So there is no need to be embarrassed, but you should get rid of the lice as soon as you can.
Lice don't go away on their own - and they are contagious - so do yourself a favour and start combing as soon as you can. In this article, we'll give you tips on how to remove lice easily and gently by combing and using our effective Tea Tree Oil Conditioner.
Efficient and gentle lice removal with combing and conditioner
There are chemical lice repellents on the market that vary in quality. Many lice treatments are just not effective anymore because the lice have developed resistance over time. The chemical lice repellents on the market all contain pesticides - not the best thing for a growing child. Fortunately, combing with conditioner is an effective remedy for lice.
It is perfectly safe, cheap and secure to remove lice by combing and using conditioner alone. Combing 4 times over a period of 2 weeks with a good conditioner is almost guaranteed to remove all lice. Our Tea Tree Oil conditioner is very suitable for combing. The conditioner makes the hair flat and easy to comb and in addition, Tea Tree oil is antibacterial and therefore keeps the scalp clean and problem-free. Several scientific studies (see sources below) have shown a beneficial effect of using Tea Tree Oil. So don't worry, if you start combing immediately, your child and family will be lice-free in 2 weeks.
Combing lice - step by step
Combing means using a comb to remove lice. For this purpose, you use a special dense comb that has closely-fitted teeth that trap the lice in between. When lice are exposed to water, they shut down and sit still, and then you can remove them with the comb.
Lice come in 3 stages: eggs, nymphs and adults. When combing, you should continue for 2 weeks so that all lice in different stages are removed. Even if you have removed all adult lice, there may still be eggs. These will hatch and become nymphs.
The lice begin their life in an egg, which the adult lice lays at the root of the hair. Here they are very firmly attached and cannot be removed. When the lice hatches, it is a nymph, a small version of the adult lice. It grows quickly to full size and the adult lice climbs agilely through the hair with 6 claws on its legs. The adult lice suck blood from the scalp and lay eggs and the cycle continues. When removing lice, you need to make sure that you catch the lice at all stages.
It itches when you have lice because of an allergic reaction to the lice's saliva. Therefore, you can have lice even if it does not itch. The first time you have lice, it can take up to 4 weeks before the itching appears. If you get lice a second time, the itching is quicker and appears almost immediately.
If lice have been found in your family, everyone should be checked for lice. If lice have been found in your school or classroom, you should also comb and check just in case.
Lice cannot jump or fly. Nor can they survive outside the hair for long. Therefore, there is no need to panic and no need for head cleaning. There is also no need to keep children home from school or playmates.
Lice are transmitted from hair to hair, so children with longer hair are also more prone to infection. This means that girls are more likely to get lice than boys. In the past, you would shave off all the hair of a school class, because at least then there would be no lice. Luckily, we have better methods nowadays!
How to comb for lice
Combing for lice isn't difficult and it's not expensive either. It does however require a bit of patience, as it takes about 30 minutes to check and comb for lice and needs to be repeated a few times. So be prepared to spend a couple of hours in total on the task.
For combing you will need:
- Kitchen roll
- Magnifying glass
- Hair clips/elastic bands
- Entertainment for children
You can buy a dense comb in a supermarket, pharmacy or online. The comb can be made of plastic or metal. They can have short or long teeth and can look different. The most important thing is that the teeth on the comb are close together - so that the lice don't slip through. The best distance between the teeth is 0.2 millimetres. The comb can become worn after use if it is made of plastic, so check it from time to time. If the teeth are bent, then it's time to buy a new one.
There are some dense combs where the teeth are extra dense. They can also be used to get eggs out, but it tears the hair more and can be uncomfortable.
Buy a comb that works for you and doesn't hurt your child too much. Older children can tolerate slightly harder combs that tear a little more.
Conditioner is just as important as the close comb. You use conditioner to make the hair smooth and straight so you can run the comb through. With our conditioner, even stubborn, curly hairs can be easily smoothed out.
When lice get wet, they can't breathe. So, they sit very still and close up. Conditioner makes sure they stick to the hair and can't move. Now you can easily get them out of your hair.
Our Tea Tree Oil is also antibacterial and works against itching and scalp sores.
Magnifying glass and paper towel
When you comb your hair, it's to do two things:
- Checking for lice
- Removing lice
After running the comb through your hair, check for lice with your magnifying glass. You can do this with a regular magnifying glass that you have in your drawer. Otherwise, you can buy one at a bookshop or similar. It's a good idea to involve your children, who have better eyesight than you do and are keen lice hunters!
After you have checked the comb for lice, wipe the comb with a paper towel. This is so that the lice you've just removed don't settle elsewhere in your hair. So, comb, check, wipe.
Hair clips and towel
If your child has long or medium-long hair, it's a good idea to use hair clips so that you can comb a lock of hair without it overlapping with lice-infected strands of hair. Attach the hair clips so that you can isolate a strand of hair. Wrap the towel around your shoulders so that the conditioner and water don't get you wet.
It takes about 30 to 45 minutes to finish combing, which can feel like an eternity for children. It's a good idea to give them an iPad or a Donald Duck magazine. This will also distract them if you accidentally pull on their hair a little too hard.
Combing in 9 steps
- Wet your hair with water and apply Tea Tree Oil hair conditioner: Wash your hair as usual. The water will make the lice close their respiratory system and they will sit still, ready to be pulled out with a comb.
- Comb your hair with a regular brush so that it is smooth and straight: Put conditioner in your hair, this is very important, and then straighten your hair with a regular hairbrush so that your hair is smooth.
- Start at the front and systematically work your way round the head until you are back at the start: Make sure you comb through all the hair and don't miss a spot. The easiest way to do this is to work your way round the head one section at a time. Use hair clips if your hair is long.
- Pull the comb all the way from the roots to the tip in one smooth motion: It is important to get to the very bottom of the root of the hair. This is where the eggs and nymphs are located. Pull the comb out through the hair in a smooth, calm motion, all the way out to the tips of the hair.
- Use hair clips to reach all the way to the scalp: In long and medium long hair, it can be difficult to reach the scalp. So, use hair clips to separate your hair.
- Don't forget about your parting, this is where lice often hide: When parting your hair, don't forget to check the partings. A little extra work is better than wasted labour.
- Wipe the comb with a damp paper towel for each stroke: It's very important to wipe the comb in a damp paper towel so you don't just move the lice around.
- Check what you have wiped using a magnifying glass and good lighting: Look at the paper towel and comb with a magnifying glass. Are there lice and what kind, nymphs, adults? If no lice, be happy and check again in a few days. If there are lice, keep combing.
- Repeat the treatment 4 times over 2 weeks: Because lice have a life cycle as described - egg, nymph, adult - you cannot be sure you are lice-free until you have not found any more lice for 2 weeks.
Only stop combing if:
- You have not found adult - lice for 2 weeks
- You have not found any nymphs at the previous combing
Tea Tree Oil conditioner is super effective for combing lice
Our conditioner is made from essential oils from the Australian Tea Tree, a tree that only grows there. Tea Tree oil is a clear oil with a camphoraceous scent. Our products are gentle and dermatologically tested, safe for everyone. Skin and hair products with Tea Tree oil are very popular in their own right and are highly effective for combing lice.
The tree's oils have been used locally as a natural medicine for many years, but in the last decade science has also started to take an interest. A number of studies have confirmed the antiseptic and powerful effects of the oil. Read more about the effects of Tea Tree Oil via the link below.
There are many lice products on the market. We recommend 3 products from Australian Bodycare. Anti Lice is a lice treatment that works quickly on the lice problem. You only need one treatment with this product and the treatment only takes 15 minutes.
Anti Lice is a highly effective treatment against both lice and eggs. Anti Lice works after just one treatment and is based on Dimethicone, which physically encapsulates lice and eggs, after which they die. Anti Lice also contains Tea Tree Oil, which contributes to a healthy scalp. Anti Lice is free from parabens and insecticides. Ideal for treating lice on children up to 3 years old.
We recommend using Hair Rinse Shampoo and Hair Spray after Anti Lice. The shampoo prevents, protects and strengthens the hair and reduces the risk of lice - for the whole family. The spray cleanses the hair and scalp while softening the hair and leaving a protective shield.
Start now and be lice-free in 2 weeks
We hope you've learnt a little more about these annoying little buggers. Having lice at home is not a disaster and there's no need to panic. All you need to do is spend a couple of hours over 2 weeks on the project. Get the kids involved, get them to play "lice hunters" with mum and dad and combing will be much easier. And of course, don’t be afraid to "bribe" the kids with some sweets or ipad time, if it makes the process a little easier.
Have fun becoming lice-free again!