Back to school time is bittersweet for many parents, especially those with children who are prone to contracting head lice. For some reason, the presence of lice has been so prevalent in the past several years that over-the-counter treatments are no longer working to eradicate the creepy, crawly creatures.
In fact, the Washington Post reports that lice have actually mutated to become resistant to pyrethroids, which is the active ingredient in most of the over-the-counter lice treatments. One study collected samples of head lice from 30 different states and found that the vast majority had a very high level of resistance to the pesticide in the most common lice treatment.
Kyong Yoon, a researcher at Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville, explains the study results.
“We are the first group to collect lice samples from a large number of populations across the U.S. What we found was that 104 out of the 109 lice populations we tested had high levels of gene mutations, which have been linked to resistance to pyrethroids.”
As if lice were not already enough to make us cringe, the thought that treatments may be useless leaves us with little hope for a happy, itch-free school year. Most of us don’t really want to put pesticides on our children’s skin anyway, but what else is available for getting rid of the lice?
Thankfully, there is a natural alternative that works like a miracle treatment for head lice. It is very simple, all natural, and in my own experience, this treatment has worked effectively 100 percent of the time, when used correctly. The product line even comes with a shampoo that can help to prevent the infestation of lice.
Melaleuca, or tea tree, essential oil has a plethora of different uses, but I have used it as a lice treatment for nearly two decades.
When my daughter was in kindergarten, she had long, lovely hair that would curl into banana curls on the side. It was so precious that when she caught lice, I couldn’t bear to cut it. I used over-the-counter lice treatment shampoos, combed and picked out the lice eggs and nits, vacuumed, and washed all the bed linens in hot water every day. After about three rounds of this exhausting treatment, I began to look for different options.
I heard lice like clean hair, so I started putting her hair up all the time and using mousse and hairspray to prevent lice, but to no avail.
Luckily, one of the office secretaries had heard of Melaleuca and put me in contact with a local distributor. This lice treatment changed our lives! Tea tree oil comes in a tiny bottle, as it is a pure essential oil, and you merely dab some onto your hand and rub it into your child’s scalp until the entire head is covered, paying special attention to hair roots where the lice eggs are laid. Comb through hair. Wet a towel in hot water, ring it out, and wrap the head with the towel, making sure it’s not too hot so it doesn’t burn the skin. Leave the towel on for about 30 minutes before washing the hair with shampoo. The Melaleuca company does make a shampoo infused with the oil, and it can help to prevent getting lice, but it will not work as a lice treatment.
Of course there would be a bad lice outbreak right when I send my long, blonde hair beauty back to school. Time to stock up on tea tree oil!
— *Debbie* (@DebAnderson06) August 21, 2015
It is still important to clean bedding, toys, clothes, and comb through the hair after treatment to remove lice eggs. Tea tree oil actually kills the eggs as well. You will find small clear/white objects near the root of the hair. If the inside is white, the egg is alive, but if the inside is brown, it’s dead.
It’s a good idea to repeat the treatment a couple days later, just to be sure all eggs have died.
Mother Earth News lists several uses for tea tree oil, including lice treatment.
“Lice can be especially hard to get rid of, particularly with natural products. But laboratory studies show that tea tree oil can kill lice in only thirty minutes, suggesting that it may be an effective natural alternative to conventional lice treatment.”
This lice treatment can be a bit pricey, but the small bottle goes a very long way. We were able to get a couple rounds out of it, and we used it for the entire family. If you’re looking for an effective treatment that is not lice-resistant, Melaleuca oil is for you.
Disclaimer: The Inquisitr strongly recommends you consult your physician before beginning any diet or exercise program. This article is not an endorsement by the Inquisitr of any of the diets mentioned in this article.
[Image via Shutterstock]