Well 2017 started with an itch.
Yes, we succumbed to those pesky head lice and spent the days before the new term combing, spraying and basically trying to nuke the little critters with pretty much any solution we could get our hands on.
Even worse? I got them.
And let me tell you if you have long-ish hair they are a nightmare.
If you have coloured hair, an additional joyous problem is that many of the chemical nit preparations on the market do a sterling job of stripping out your hair colour if you dye your hair.
This was our first time with the blight and we didn’t really know much about them.
What are the signs of head lice?
If your child comes home complaining of an itchy scalp then it’s time to start checking for “visitors” – particularly if the itchiness is behind the ears, near the nape of the neck and along the hairline.
Head lice are tiny insects that live in hair and nits are the empty egg cases attached to hair that head lice hatch from.
What does a louse look like anyway?
|Image Credit: The Female Head Louse|
A head louse is a small insect, visible to the naked eye, about the size of a sesame seed (2 to 3 mm),
which lives on the scalp and feeds on human blood.
It has six legs armed with pincers used to cling to
the hair, they move very quickly, which explains why it is so hard to catch them.
The exciting life of a louse
The life cycle of a louse lasts approximately 50 days during which female lice lay 5 to 10 eggs (nits) per day.
After a week, the egg hatches and the embryo becomes a larva, which will reach adulthood in 2 weeks.
The adult lice live for about 30 days on a person’s head. The lice multiply rapidly, so you must act quickly.
Head Lice Myths
Lice are a sign of poor hygiene.
No – getting head lice has nothing to do with your family’s hygiene habits. In fact, lice are very resistant to soap and water.
You should keep your kids home from school.
No – taking time off school is not necessary.
Although the back-to-school period is an ideal time for lice to spread due to close contact between children, the transmission of the lice occurs directly through contact between two children (touching hair).
There is also a slight chance of catching them by sharing combs and brushes.
Lice cannot fly, jump or survive longer than 4 to 36 hours away from the scalp.
So how do we get rid of lice?
Basically, you can either use synthetic chemicals which can be harmful to the environment – and therefore possibly your health (such as those formulated with dimethicone and silicone derivative) or lotions formulated with vegetable oils which are natural such as the Puressentiel Anti-Lice range which is guaranteed to be 100% natural.
Both methods aim to suffocate the lice but whilst the chemical formulae are aggressive, neurotoxic and irritating to the scalp, the natural versions coat the lice with greasy substances which obstruct their respiratory openings.
Over the past 10 years, research suggests that lice have in fact become resistant to the chemical anti-lice products which, given the hefty price tag some of them carry, is very frustrating indeed.
A natural way to get rid of lice
Puressentiel Anti-Lice Treatment Lotion, on the other hand, is made from essential oils and naturally active ingredients.
It was created by the French family-owned Laboratoire Puressentiel in 2005 – a company specialising in the design of aromatherapy and plant-based organic products.
Lotions are considered to be more effective than shampoos because they are more concentrated. After all, shampoos are diluted with water.
The lotion kills lice, larvae and nits safely and comes with a handy nit comb. You won’t find any chemicals. Its 100% natural formula contains plant oils such as coconut, calophyllum, jojoba, sunflower, sweet almond and castor, which act mechanically by obstructing the respiratory openings of the lice, larvae and nits.
The lice are unable to develop resistance due to the asphyxiation mechanism.
There are also essential oils of lavender, clove, tea tree, geranium, which are soothing and antiseptic, ideal for relieving scalp itching.
Its formula is gentle on hair and the environment and leaves hair silky and shiny.
The applicator bottle is easy and practical to use and it has a fresh and pleasant fragrance, unlike some of the synthetic lotions.
It is suitable for use by adults and children over 3 years.
Best of all, it starts to work after only 10 minutes.
There is also Puressentiel Repellant Spray which offers effective protection against lice for up to 24 hours in the event of an outbreak.
It contains Citriodiol®, a 100% natural substance derived from lemon Eucalyptus essential oil which has a repellent action to rival its chemical rivals.
What did I think?
I found both products easy to use and loved that there was no harsh chemical smell. I tested the anti-lice lotion exactly as instructed and found that it did not irritate my scalp.
Because it is an oil-based product, you may find you need a shampoo for oily hair to wash it out effectively – and possibly more than one wash.
I used my usual conditioner afterwards, although you can just treat, wash and detangle using the nit comb provided.
The comb is of good quality and built to last – which is handy!
My hair was left in good condition without any lingering scent of the product and my scalp felt soothed.
The kids tested the spray which, is easy to apply and comb through and doesn’t leave the hair greasy.
Puressentiel Anti-Lice Treatment Lotion + Comb and Puressentiel Lice Repellant Spray are available at Boots, online at Amazon and at Lloyds Pharmacy in-store and online.
Puressentiel also offers a range of other natural products including their Purifying, Respiratory, Rest & Relax and Muscles & Joints ranges, as well as a selection of diffusers.
The company is committed to respecting nature by adopting an eco-responsible attitude, from the harvesting of the raw materials to the manufacturing of each of its products.
If you are looking for a safer, natural solution to the annoying problem of head lice, Puressential is well worth a try.
Update April 2018: Since our initial bottle we have bought this product several times and I like it because it is a non-chemical solution to those annoying little critters. The smell of the lotion is rather pungent and lingers a while after treatment but that is a small price to pay.
You do have to repeat the treatment after 3 days and, if you have long hair, you’ll need one bottle per treatment which doesn’t work out the cheapest option. That said, anything that gets rid of the blighters is a godsend and if you have coloured hair like me, using anything with strong chemicals tends to strip the colour – yet more expense of having your highlights redone.
I wish that, when the “head lice alert” letter came out from school, everyone was equally as diligent to remove the pests – I strongly suspect that some parents don’t worry about headlice and don’t bother to treat them. Given the amount of scratching the kids do when they get them, I’m not sure I could ignore it!