Until Licefreee® non-toxic head lice treatments hit store shelves in 1999, the go-to treatments (or pediculicides) for many years were those that contain the chemical pesticides: permethrin & pyrethrum. These chemical pesticides are neurotoxins, whose function is to attack the nervous system of lice to kill them. Unfortunately, these products aren’t likely to affect head lice eggs (called nits) due to their tough exterior shell, and/or because they likely have not developed a nervous system at the time of treatment. Therefore, a thorough combing to remove the eggs is a must. If just one egg is missed, it is possible for a reinfestation to occur. Additionally, a recent study has shown that head lice in 25 states across the U.S. have reportedly developed a resistance to these treatments. Note: For children or adults with allergies to ragweed, pyrethrum can cause an allergic reaction.
What about those home remedies? We’ve heard it all: mayonnaise, mouthwash, olive oil, coconut oil, avocado, the list goes on. These are the options parents choose when either a.) other treatments have failed, or b.) they are in search of a head lice treatment that doesn’t contain potentially harmful chemical pesticides. There are a couple of reasons why these methods of “smothering” aren’t likely to work. First, as you may know, head lice have a series of breathing “holes” along both sides of their abdomen. Lice are able to control these holes and close them off when an attempt to smother them is made. They can “hold their breath” like this for a number of hours! Next, the eggs. Trying to smother the nits is an impossible task, as they are protected in their shells. Similar to the aforementioned treatments, the eggs would have to be combed out entirely to avoid a reinfestation.
Then there’s the good old fashioned comb through. This method of head lice “treatment” certainly can eradicate the problem. The only trouble with this technique is the length of time it takes to complete this process. Combing should be done in 1 inch sections to ensure all lice and eggs are removed. For children with long, thick hair, this can take hours and can be quite challenging with young children who have trouble sitting still.
Finally, all other treatments sold over-the-counter (OTC). While some are actually “treatments” for head lice infestation, a significant number of these products are simply lubricants to help aid the comb-out process, or they are repellents. Of the products that are treatments, Licefreee® is the first of its kind, using Natrum muriaticum (or, sodium chloride a.k.a. salt) to effectively kill lice and their eggs. So how does Licefreee® kill lice? Sodium chloride desiccates (dehydrates) head lice and their eggs; eggs are no exception as Licefreee® is able to penetrate through their shells. Because the treatment kills lice and nits through a mechanical action rather than a chemical action (think permethrins & pyrethrums), they are unlikely to build a resistance to the treatment.
So, what kills lice? It’s up to you to choose the treatment right for you and your family. Now that you have information on the available options, you can make an informed decision!