If you are like me and have a child in the Laguna Beach Unified School District, this past week you received another all too familiar notice that read, “Recently we identified a few cases of head lice at your child’s grade level. Follow exact steps on box of lice shampoo…” OMG. Not again. Why does this keep happening, you wonder. We have a clean house, we are extremely hygienic, ewww, gross.
Yes to all that, but lice do not discriminate and actually love the cleanest of the clean. Sorry. As the notice correctly points out, lice can come from almost anywhere, but more likely than not, your child (or even you yourself) picked up bugs from incidental head to head contact. Remember that selfie last week?! Yup, that’s all it takes.
And now to complicate this highly stigmatized condition even further is the arrival of “super lice,” bugs that laugh at over-the-counter treatment products. Super lice are a new and stronger generation of these six-legged, blood-sucking parasites that have developed a resistance to all pesticides typically used in OTC treatments. Yes, the OTC treatments are pesticides. In fact, OTC products can make matters worse and are even dangerous. When used in high enough concentrations, anti-lice products will kill some super lice, but usually not all, leaving the more resistant lice to breed and spread further, exacerbating the problem. The Journal of Entomology states that 99.7% of lice that affect our communities nowadays are genetically resistant to the pesticides pyrethrin and permethrin used in OTC products. I have recently treated kids who even after using doctor prescribed medications still had bugs. So what to do? How does one get rid of super lice?
I faced this question for the last time years ago when I finally decided to take matters into my own hands. As a bit of background, I am a licensed cosmetologist and know a thing or two about hair. However, I knew nothing about lice and lice infestation. I do now. First, there is no prescription or OTC product that works against super lice. Don’t waste your time and money. I’ve tried RID and NIX and every crazy “solution” you’ve ever come across on the internet, mayo, peanut butter, vinegar, tea tree oil, soaking your head in this or that, and even prayer; none of this works.
After these self-help treatments failed to remedy the problem, I turned to the pros and quickly discovered most professional lice removal services wanted an arm and a leg (of mine, not the lice!), and typically charge $100/hour for treatments, which generally require at least two hours. One such professional lice removal service claimed to use all natural products, but upon further investigation, I found they were using liquified quartz in their treatments, a known carcinogen!
No way. There had to be better solution, and if not, then I would invent my own. I’m all about 100% natural whenever possible and I just knew there had to be a safer and more effective way to beat these critters. Tons of research and personal training later and I had developed my own treatment, which is basically a natural oil application, a combing technique, and a strand by strand nit removal process that is guaranteed safe, effective, and even affordable! And, I discovered an amazing bonus, my treatment left hair “silky smooth” and luxurious. Yay!
I have now treated hundreds of heads of all ages and consider myself an expert in lice removal. However, most people have no idea what to do when lice are found on their children, let alone, super lice. Well for one, we can begin by accepting that head lice are nearly as common as the “common cold” and will affect over 12 million Americans every year.
With summer fast approaching, the number of head lice infestations will soar along with all the activities our kids typically enjoy over the summer. Some basic precautions we can take include avoiding head to head contact, avoid sharing personal items such as towels, bedding, combs and brushes, and hats or helmets. Harvard University research has found peppermint oil works great as a repellent. Lice don’t like the smell.
Remember, lice don’t discriminate and actually prefer clean, healthy hair. If your child comes home complaining of an itchy scalp or you notice red spots around the ears and neck, grab a comb and take a close look. Don’t despair, head lice happens more frequently than you know.
For more information you may wish to visit my website www.lagunabeachclear.com.
Marcela Cortes-Nares is a Laguna Beach mom and cosmetologist. She is an expert in lice treatment and removal.