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Combating Head Lice with Natural ingredients

Combating Head Lice with Natural ingredients

Head Lice have been around as long as humans have inhabited the earth and today is most common amongst children 3 to 12 years of age. They are very active, they cannot hop or fly, they crawl, moving from head to head very quickly.

The adult head louse is 2 to 3 mm long, has 6 legs and is usually tan to greyish-white in colour. The female once mature can lay 7-10 eggs per day. These tiny eggs are firmly attached to the base of the hair shaft within approximately 4 mm of the scalp with a glue-like substance produced by the louse. The eggs are incubated by body heat and typically hatch in 7 to 10 days. Once it hatches a nymph reaches the adult stage in 9-12 days. The female louse can mate and begin to lay viable eggs approximately 1.5 days after becoming an adult. Since head lice stay close to the scalp where it’s warm, once dislodged a louse can survive for only two days because it won’t have a source of heat or food. 

Lice eggs aka nits are opaque. If they are clear, it means the lice have already hatched out. If you see small, bud-like attachments on strands of hair close to the scalp, you’re looking at head lice eggs. The attachments can be white, cream or grey in colour. Live eggs, dead eggs and empty eggs vary slightly in appearance, but to the naked eye such differences are not readily noticeable. You can however, distinguish the eggs of head lice from other types of debris you find on the head. Most notably dandruff or dead skin will slide along shafts of hair whereas eggs will not budge from their position. Eggs that are far away from the scalp usually are dead or empty.

Now that you have some facts you need to treat the infestation. The ideal treatment for live lice and nits should be natural and free of harmful ingredients and this is where the Showdown Head Lice Treatment Oil is proven to be very effective. To slow down the movement of the lice and obstruct the respiratory spiracles of the adult louse as well as the holes in the operculum of the eggs Holistic Hair have included both Olive and Coconut oils in the treatment. These viscous oils block the air exchange which effectively suffocates the lice and eggs. The oils also help the fine-toothed comb to slide through the hair to remove the lice and nits. When lice end up coated in a thick viscous fluid, they are denied free movement and cannot move out of the way during the combing process. All of the lice, even the very tiny newly-hatched ones, are caught in between the teeth of the comb and because the hair is also lightly coated, the lice do not "stick" to the hair. This crucial "wet-combing" process results in a "lice harvest" that is effective in removing the population. The larger lice and egg layers are removed first and this cuts off the supply of new eggs being able to hatch almost instantly. A few days later, when the process is repeated, if any eggs or smaller lice have survived, they will be swept away by the comb. We believe this wet-combing process is a far better alternative to killing the lice than using harsh synthetic chemicals.

Both Carrier and Essential oils are critical to successfully dealing with an infestation. Holistic Hair have chosen olive and coconut oils which are classified as carrier oils. Carrier oils (CO) are so named because they "carry" an essential oil (EO) to the skin, scalp & and hair. Carrier oils are typically cold-pressed oils that are produced from the fatty portions of a specific plant and are used to suffocate and immobilise the lice. Contained within the carrier oils are the essential oils known to possess ovicidal, repellent and insecticidal activities and used safely are a natural alternative in helping to eradicate lice and eggs. Holistic Hair use lavender, tea tree, citronella and pink grapefruit as our chosen essential oils.

How to apply the Showdown Head Lice Treatment Oil

To apply: Shake the bottle well. Apply approximately 50ml of the oil, or more, depending on hair length, to dry hair, until completely covered. Leave on for 1 hour and then use a fine-tooth comb to section the hair and remove as many lice and eggs as possible. During this comb-out step the oils will assist to immobilise and suffocate any live lice and eggs. After the initial comb-out leave the oil on for as long as possible. We recommend leaving on over-night if possible (place an old towel on the pillow case). The natural essential oils offer conditioning benefits to the scalp and hair and lavender is very calming and relaxing at bed-time.

To remove: When you are ready to remove the treatment oil massage some Holistic Hair Pure Shampoo through-out the scalp & hair prior to introducing water. Oil and water don’t mix so adding the shampoo on first will activate the lather better. This also allows the shampoo to more effectively remove the residual oil. Following the shampoo, apply the Holistic Hair leave-in Herbal Finishing Rinse to loosen any remaining eggs for the final comb-out. Make sure you dilute the concentrate first as per the instructions and don’t wash it off as its formulated to stay on the scalp and hair to soothe the scalp and loosen the eggs by removing the glue that attaches them to the hair shaft. As a preventative measure and to help avoid future infestation use the Holistic Hair Showdown Shield Spray on a daily basis before school.

Further treatments:  2 further treatments of the oil are recommended on the 2nd and 7th day following the initial treatment.

You can purchase the Head Lice Treatment Collection containing all 4 products or the Pure and Protect Collection.

We hope you have enjoyed this article and have success in dealing with head lice. Remember that dealing with head lice naturally does mean taking a little more time. The alternative in using a product that may offer to kill the lice and eggs in 15-30 mins is the risk of having to use harsh synthetic chemicals.

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