I"m starting off the month of February by talking about how we can show love to ourselves and our family by kicking the chemicals to the curb and finding natural alternatives. Today I am addressing how I was able to use a natural head lice treatment to treat all the girls in my family (myself included!)
My Story of Using a Natural Head Lice Treatment
Is it just me, or does your head start itching like crazy when you hear the word lice? It all started when I got a call from a family member that their kids had lice. Since our kids had been around them, I went to check their heads. Sure enough I saw big lice crawling on my two youngest girls heads. Later on my oldest got it and I did too!
Having girls with long, thick hair makes getting rid of lice really difficult. Originally I tried the chemical treatments that you get at the drug store. We went through two rounds of treatments, following the instructions implicitly and IT. DIDN'T. WORK!
I was a desperate mom and I was willing to do ANYTHING to get rid of the lice. So, I researched online to try some other methods. I will outline what we did and how we were able to use a natural head lice treatment to FINALLY get rid of the head lice once and for all.
3 Stages of Lice Development
In order to understand how to treat lice, you first have to understand the three stages of lice and how to get rid of each one. First, there is the actual bug that is big enough to see with your eye. They are about the size of a sesame seed (or a little larger) and they move around the head. Since they are visible to the eye and they lay the eggs that spread the lice, they are the ones you want to get rid of first.
The natural head lice treatment I used for this stage was to apply olive oil on everyone's hair and then put shower caps on our heads each night. The purpose is two fold. First, it basically suffocates the lice and allows you to get rid of them the next morning. Also, it eliminates the need to wash the sheets every single day. Believe me, you will have plenty else to worry about!
Second, you need to treat the nits. Those are the lice eggs that cling to the hair and need to be combed out with a fine tooth comb. or pulled out with your fingernail. With really thick hair, it's best to look at each strand of hair to make sure that no nits remain. They tend to stay about a half centimeter from the scalp or further and they nestle behind the ears and the neckline. So, the most intense focus should be on those areas, but it's a good idea to scan everywhere else as well. The best natural head lice treatment for the nit stage is using a fine tooth comb or your hands covered in latex gloves to pick out the tiny nits.
After about 7 days the egg will hatch into a nypmph. This is basically a smaller version of the adult lice. At this stage they are unable to reproduce. It can take 8-10 days before they mature into adults. They will move around so you can try to comb them out or drown then with the olive oil as well.
Once I understood how to get rid of them, we made a trip to the Dollar Tree. There we bought plastic disposable shower caps, latex gloves and a spray bottle. I filled the spray bottle with water and then put in 15 drops of tea tree oil. I also made sure I was well stocked with olive oil and then our treatment regiment began.
Every day I pulled the girls hair back into a braid or a ponytail and then I would spray the tea tree oil mix on their heads. At night we put olive oil on their hair and a shower cap to sleep in. Every day I would check their heads and comb out their hair.
I also boiled combs and hair things every day. I washed all the bedding in hot water and then used shower caps to cover their heads after that. Once the whole process was done I threw away our old brushes and combs and bought new ones. I had each child make sure to only use their own hair things and brushes.
In order to fully make sure to get rid of the lice, it's important to be vigilant for 7-10 days to make sure that you haven't missed anything. Checking their hair once a day should do it.
Tips to Avoid Getting Head Lice Again
Hygiene has very little to do with lice getting into your hair (they actuall prefer clean hair) so don't feel like it's a poor reflection on you if your kids get it. There are some basic tips that can help you avoid getting it once you know of a break out in your school or anywhere else kids gather.
Once you have used the natural head lice treatment do these tips to prevent your kids from getting it again!
- Have a separate comb/brush for each child. Teach them not to share brushes or combs with anyone.
- Keep your kids hair pulled back in a hairdo when they go places that other kids will be. It's less likely the lice can transfer that way.
- Use the tea tree oil spray to repel lice when you know there has been a lice breakout at school, church or extracurricular activities.
- Teach your kids that lice transfer from head to head when they get close to someone else's head or share a hat or scarf or other item that is close to their head. Knowledge is power.
I hope these tips helps others who might have tried the drugstore treatment and didn't get results OR just want to avoid the harsh chemicals.
If you need a commiserating ear to share your experiences with or if you have other tips for natural head lice treatment, please share in the comments below!
For more natural uses of essential oils you can check out some of these other posts! Also, if you are interested in learning more about Young Living and essential oils, you can click here. (if you sign up under me, I may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you)