Good Chemistry: Green Tips for Better Health, from Planned Parenthood of Northern New England

Safe Alternatives For Treating Head Lice

The first time I ran across head lice, my little sister brought them back from summer camp. Everyone in her cabin got them and everyone was sent home. Before Dad would let her in the house he asked her if she wanted to stay outside while he picked up the lice shampoo or if she wanted to shave her head. She was 14; it was the 90’s; she shaved her head.  She got an eyebrow, too before we could stop her.

My daughter brought back the same souvenirs her last day of school. A whole bunch of them.  It’s gross to see bugs on your baby’s scalp; but what’s even scarier is thinking about deliberately putting pesticides directly on her skin and rubbing it in.

Pesticides are poisons. They kill bugs and other living creatures. They also stop bugs from reproducing by disrupting their hormones. My little one hasn’t developed all her hormones yet; and I really don’t want to disrupt them. I’m also pregnant and don’t want mine or the new baby’s hormones disrupted either. So what did I do? A lot of research.

Neem oil and tea tree oil are a good one-two punch for breaking lice shells and killing the developing nits. Olive oil helps as a medium for both oils and eases the proteins that glue the nits to the hair. It also helps the lice comb glide through the hair. I recommend a ratio of about 3:1:1 – olive oil, neem oil, tea tree oil—and you only need about an ounce.   You just have to remember to do it at least twice with seven to ten days between treatments (just like the commercial stuff).

There are also commercial items on the market that are safer than others and you can find them through the EWG’s Skin Deep database. I hope you never need to use them.

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This entry was posted on Friday, July 13th, 2012 at 12:47 pm and is filed under personal care products. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.


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