Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Your Worse Nightmare: Super Lice. How To Not Get It & How to Combat It If You Do - WITHOUT Toxic Chemicals

6 times.   I know a family in my son's school who has had to deal with lice 6 times this year!   Holy #$@!  I mean, I am not one to swear on my blog but, really?  6 times??  Just thinking about it makes my scalp itch.

Lice might just be every mother's (and teachers?)  worse nightmare.  We have not had to deal with it in our house (knock on wood.... hope I don't hoax it) but with 6 separate episodes in another Kindergarten class  at my son's school it seems like those little critters are always close by. Various mothers, teachers and nanny's have asked me for chemical free alternatives, so today that is exactly what we are going to talk about:  non-toxic lice treatments - that work!

WHAT WE KNOW ABOUT LICE:  Because Knowing is Half the Battle

They are persistent, tiny, nasty looking bugs that give me nightmares.   

Other than that, we also know:


  • - They tend to be located in the head and neck and attach their eggs to the base of the hair shaft.
  • - The eggs are really small and hard to see- they can be mistaken for dandruff
  • - Full grown lice can be about the size of a  sesame seed- tan to gray in color. They need human blood to live and can survive up to 30 days in a person's hair
  •  - Lice move by crawling; they cannot hop or fly. This means that for lice to spread there must be physical contact to the surface (ie infested hair, hat, pillow etc).

  • - The eggs (nits) take about a week to hatch, then grow to adult size in another week or so. 
  • - You could have eggs (nits) in your hair and not know it since they do not always cause itching.   (BTW I am itching like crazy as I write this
  • - Full grown lice can move quickly.   You might be inspecting the hair and barely catch a glimpse of them moving away (eeewwww
  • - Lice prefer clean hair - so don't feel embarrassed moms, if your child gets lice it does not reflect on your family's hygiene!

Kids love hugging and playing close together-
which give lice the opportunity to spread
As a parent, your energy and focus would be well spent on helping your child avoid getting lice and bringing it home.  Avoiding lice naturally has been shown to be quite effective and then, hopefully at least, you can avoid the headache of having to treat the entire family for lice.  


Some trusted moms and experts I know swear with essential oil's efficiency in avoiding lice. 

 According to Monica Himmel, Wellness Advocate  who only uses DoTERRA essential oils  (as  a side note, she explains " every single batch of DoTERRA oil sold goes through a rigorous five step testing method so that every single bottle is as strong and pure as the last, with zero impurities.  They single source, meaning they do not get a single oil from several sources and then blend it together (many many companies do this, it is MUCH cheaper for the company).  They source oils from the part of the world where the plant grows most potently.  Lots of other companies grow their oils any old where and then bottle them as "organic" or "pure" even if they are growing by the side of the 15 freeway through Utah."  ) you should  always first  test your children to make sure there are no sensitivities to the essential oils you are about to use.   You can do this by placing one drop of the oil on the bottom of your child's feet and see if they have a reaction.  If nothing happens continue with your treatment!

  • - Use the following pure essential oils alone or, for stronger and stronger protocol, together, to avoid lice
  • - Oils to choose from:  Arborvitae, Lavender, Patchouli, Basil, Lemongrass, Eucalyptus, Thyme and TerraShield & Purify blends  (all from doTERRA)
  1. First, make a mix of ten drops each in a bottle and shake.  Oils should be UNDILUTED
  2. Place 2 drops of your mixture on the top of the head every morning and night to help avoid infestation
According to Karen, another essential oil expert and mom behind The Well Balanced Mom, tea tree oil is another God send in the battle to avoid lice.   20 drops of Melaleuca essential oil (this is tea tree oil) to 8-10 ounces of water in a glass spray bottle and liberally spray dry hair down every morning.

Both prescription and over the counter products exist to treat lice in children.  For the most part, they use pesticides to kill off the lice.   While effective, the idea of slathering a pesticide on your young child's scalp can terrify even the biggest lice hating mom.

Super lice (yes this is a thing and its spreading. Read more about it here ) is actually resistant to some of the most common pesticides used in treating lice. So, not only are these chemicals bad for your kids (exposures to the most common pesticides in lice treatments have been linked to lowered IQ, diminished attention span, other neuro developmental issues and childhood cancers) but they are not effective treating this new strain of lice.

Lucky for you, there are some 100% non-toxic options which YES are effective!

The old fashioned, time consuming comb out process takes forever but is incredibly efficient at eliminating lice and nits without chemicals.  Lice removal salons, like Hair Angels in Los Angeles, have opened across the country to make removal a bit easier on parents;  they do the initial comb through treatment for you (which can take up to 2 hours if you have long hair!) and a follow up visit, and parents just have to monitor and comb through at home to make sure nothing comes back.  I think it is money well spent- especially because they will teach parents how to do the comb through at home, correctly, and is especially helpful if parents get lice too (yes, this is very common - especially for moms with long hair! ). 

What you need
- Nit Free Terminator Lice Comb,  Professional Stainless Steel Louse and Nit Comb for Head Lice Treatment, Removes Nits Special comb 
- conditioner, ideally with tea tree oil or other essential oils that lice to not like
- bowl with water
- lots of patience :  this is going to take a long long time as you need to comb through very small sections of hair to thoroughly remove any eggs that might remain.

  Please note, eliminating lice completely is not a one time deal.  Maintenance is super important, at least for the first two weeks.  The reason is that even after a thorough comb-through there could be a tiny amount of eggs still implanted, some so tiny you can't see them,  and if these are not caught in subsequent comb-throughs during the maintenance phase, you could have a new cycle of lice! 

I would recommend looking for a video online that showcases the Shephard Method to remove lice,  ( I found this one on You Tube ) but the basic process is as follows;

  1. - Wash hair with a non-toxic lice shampoo and conditioner.  Generally, lice do not like tea tree oil, mint or rosemary so natural non-toxic conditioners with these essential oils should work. 
  2.  - Leave some conditioner on and comb through (if very knotty first with a normal comb and then move on to the special lice comb) to eliminate any knots in the hair while in the shower.  The Nit Free comb should glide smoothly through the hair.  
  3. - Have your child sit comfortably and start your comb through, cleaning the comb in a bowl with water where you can see if any eggs have been caught.  

Once again, the key to this non-toxic process is maintenance.  I would do it at least once a day (hey, I could see myself doing this twice a day!)  - although experts say once every two days is suffice.  

  • - Last year a study out of Hackensack University Medical Center found that 100% dimethicone gel is a safe and effective treatment for children with lice.  
  • - The study found that after only 1 day of treatment, "98.3% of the subjects were free of live lice and 55% were free of viable eggs.  On day 14, 96.5% were still free of live lice, and 80.70 % were free of viable eggs
  • Dimethicone is (also spelled dimeticone) "is a silicone-based polymer that works mechanically to lubricate hair to aid the removal of nits and lice".  The Environmental Working Group's Skin Deep Database gives it a 3 rating which is not too bad.
  • - The gel used in the study was:  LiceMD Complete Kit with Comb and Gloves

Essential Oils

  1. - Test your child to make sure they are not sensitive to the essential oils.  Place one drop under their feet and wait to see if there is any reaction
  2. - Mix together:  Arborvitae, Eucalyptus, Rosemary, Melaleuca, Geranium and Terra Shield - all from DoTERRA all undiluted.
  3. - Place 2 drops of the pure oil mixture on the top of the head 6 times a day.
  4. - Additionally, blend all the oils listed above in avoidance (Arborvitae, Lavender, Patchouli, Basil, Lemongrass, Eucalyptus, Thyme and TerraShield & Purify ) in a spray bottle with a 2:1 ratio oil to water,  and spray the hair 6 times a day.
  5. - You will also need to comb out all the eggs, wash all linens in this same mixture and apply the  avoidance oils spray (Arborvitae, Lavender, Patchouli, Basil, Lemongrass, Eucalyptus, Thyme and TerraShield & Purify  in a 2:1 ratio with water) 
**  Contrary to what would seem like common sense, essential oils should not make your hair feel "oily"

According to Himmel and Karen, The Wellness Balanced Mom, DoTERRA essential oils are best purchased directly from DoTERRA or from a DoTERRA representative locally to make sure they are not watered down or deteriorated in any other way. ALWAYS buy sealed essential oils.  If they are not sealed, return.  Pure organic oils are pricey, but tend to last a long time.  These are the recommended ones mentioned above- please note I have not verified the sources.

doTERRA TerraShield Essential Oil Repellent Blend 15 ml

doTERRA Rosemary Essential Oil 15 ml


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