Make use of our specialised instructions to determine whether or not your child has head lice or nits, as well as how to protect them in the future.
The key to successfully warding off nits and head lice is to first identify them, then treat them, and then make sure that the treatment is followed up by remaining vigilant.
Continue reading for information on how to determine whether or not your child has head lice, how to differentiate between nits and dandruff, and the five most important things every parent should know in order to protect their children from getting head lice and nits.
What to look for in terms of head lice and nits
Unfortunately, children frequently suffer from the head parasites known as lice and nits. According to the results of a poll that was conducted in 2021 with 1,362 parents, we found that 68% of those with children under the age of 12 had used a head lice treatment in the previous year. The images in the gallery that follows make for depressing viewing, but by looking at them you will learn exactly what to look for and how to identify nits and head lice.
How to identify nits and lice in your hair.
Lice are a fairly prevalent problem amongst children. You can learn what to look for by browsing the pictures in our collection.
If you notice any nits, which are the eggs of head lice and look like white specks in the hair, or if your child is scratching themselves, the best thing to do is to check your child’s hair thoroughly and begin treatment as soon as you spot live head lice. Nits can be seen in the hair.
There are three important things you should know about nits.
Lice in the head are a common condition that may be properly treated, so there is no reason to feel ashamed if you or a loved one has them.
Despite the fact that many of us refer to them as nits, the microscopic brown lice that are visible on the hair are actually head lice.
A live louse is not what is referred to as a nit; rather, it is the egg case that is attached to the base of the hair shaft. Egg casings are the white specks that can be seen in the hair of a child. This is typically the first sign that your youngster is being pestered by uninvited guests and requires further examination.
Lice and their eggs, known as nits, are unwelcome guests for most youngsters but are unfortunately rather prevalent. Don’t give up hope; we can assist you.
There are four steps to do to prevent head lice and nits from returning.
1. Conduct routine checks on your hair.
Checking your child’s hair on a consistent basis is the most effective way to identify the earliest signs of head lice and to treat them efficiently. Gone are the days when nit nurses were necessary to diagnose and treat head lice.
You should definitely let your child’s school, child minder, or daycare know if your child has head lice so that they may warn other parents about the condition and advise them to get their children treated as soon as possible. This will assist in preventing the further spread of head lice.
If you don’t, you face the chance of your child, who just got rid of lice, getting reinfected with them by someone else to whom they passed them on. Find out how to identify nits and head lice even if you’re not sure what to look for. Visit our image gallery to get a better idea of what nits and head lice look like, and then use the quiz that follows to determine whether or not you have dandruff or head lice.
2. Observe the protocol on the timing of treatments.
As soon as you spot a live head louse, you should begin treating the problem. Check everyone in the family for lice, and treat anyone who tests positive.
Also, keep in mind that if you do decide to use a medicated medication, you should only do so when you can actually see active head lice on your head. If you want to avoid having head lice in the first place, you should avoid using any kind of medication as a prophylactic measure.
3. The secret to success is repetition
Repeat, repetition, and more repetition is the key, as said previously and as will be stated once again now.
Always make sure that you follow any treatment procedure exactly as it is stated on the packaging of the product that you are using. Even with treatments that are said to kill head lice after a single application, the Department of Health recommends performing a head check again between three and five days after administering the treatment, and then again between ten and twelve days following that. This is due to the fact that the first treatment might not be enough to kill all of the eggs.
Repeat this process at regular intervals until all of the nits and lice have been removed if you pick the option that involves conditioner and a nit comb. If you examine and comb through your child’s hair on a regular basis, you can help avoid a re-infestation of head lice.
45 percent of the 1,362 parents polled in a survey conducted in 2021 said they used a nit comb and conditioner. Find out what treatments and brands are available for head lice, as well as how you may save money on them.
4. Don’t let your shame stop you from doing what needs to be done.
Lice in the scalp are fairly common, therefore there is no reason to feel ashamed if you have them. Lice can go from person to person when people bring their heads together, which can infect both children and adults. This means that any activities in which children play close to each other, sleepovers, or even something as simple as them taking some phone selfies can make it possible for head lice to move from the host to a different person. Other activities that increase the likelihood of head lice transmission include:
The youngster will go back to playing with their pals in the impression that they are clear, while in fact they still have head lice and pass it on to additional people if a follow-up treatment is not carried out, which can also enhance the rate at which head lice spread.
Treatments for head lice and nits
There are four primary approaches to treatment for removing head lice and nits from a person’s head. Below, we discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each option.
1. Combining the
A nit comb can be utilised for both the detection of lice in the hair as well as the removal of lice infestations. It is one of the more affordable treatments for nits that are available, with basic nit combs beginning at under £2, and they are simple to employ. The infected hair is first coated in conditioner (so the lice will lose their grip and it will be easier to pull the comb through), and then the process begins with the comb being pulled into the roots of the hair and continuing all the way to the ends of the hair. After each pass, examine the comb and wipe it clean on a tissue to determine whether or not it still has any lice on it.
To get rid of all of the head lice and to catch any new lice that may hatch in between sessions of combing, you need to comb the hair for at least half an hour each time and do it four more times over the next two weeks. This is the only way to guarantee that the problem will be solved.
As a general guideline, you should keep combing until you haven’t spotted any full-grown lice for three sessions in a row. This can take a while.
This treatment requires a significant amount of time. In addition, depending on the type of hair that your child has, it could be difficult to hold them still for the amount of time necessary to complete a thorough job.
Combs that are powered by batteries can be used on dry hair. These products are said to eliminate lice on touch, however there is little evidence to support this claim. They cost about £15 each, which is significantly more than the standard nit combs available.
Pros No resistance problems, recyclable, no pesticides, also used to detect lice
Cons It is difficult, takes around two weeks, using a metal comb can be painful, and using an electric comb has not been shown to be useful. Find out whether mayonnaise may be used as a treatment for nits, whether hair straighteners can kill nits, and more by reading this article on the truths and misconceptions surrounding nits.
Watch this video to learn how to detangle your hair with a nit comb and some conditioner. Play Video
2. Insecticides made from synthetic chemicals
Insecticides are products that contain chemicals that are designed to destroy head lice using a variety of different approaches. These products are typically marketed at chemists. Others will paralyse the nerve systems of the lice while still others will poison them.
Instead of using this kind of head lice treatment as a preventative step because you’ve been notified of an outbreak at your child’s school, you should only do so in the case that you have discovered a live head louse in the hair of a family member or household member.
This is due to the fact that the product can accumulate on the scalp, exposing the head lice to a dose that is not lethal to them. This can cause the head lice to grow resistant to the medication, which means that it will no longer work if your child becomes infected with head lice.
Always make sure you read the directions and follow them to the letter. And even if a product claims to be able to treat head lice in a single application, the current recommendation is to check the hair a week later to see if any new head lice have hatched, and then to treat the hair a second time regardless of whether the product claims it can treat head lice in a single treatment.
Because some treatments are flammable and are referred to as ‘alcoholic lotions,’ you should never use a hair dryer on someone who has been treated with one of these treatments. Always confirm that you have read the instructions first.
Pros They are simple to use, and a number of tests have demonstrated that they are effective.
Cons Can be prone to resistance, effectiveness varies widely among clinical trials, and some of them stink horribly.
3. A methodical approach to the elimination of lice
Some solutions eliminate lice by physically coating them in liquid, which either drowns them or causes them to lose their moisture. These are the kinds of products that are becoming the most common form of medicated therapy. Examples of this category of product are Hedrin and Full Marks Solution.
Because the lice are killed by these chemicals through a physical process, they cannot develop a resistance to these products. However, some treatments fail to eliminate the eggs, also known as nits; hence, it is imperative that the treatment be repeated after a week in order to eliminate any lice that have matured into adults since the initial application.
No insecticides are used, resistance is improbable, and there is no odour.
Trials have indicated varying degrees of efficacy, but additional data is required, and reapplication is required one week after the initial treatment.
4. Products made from natural ingredients and herbs, as well as essential oils
Products derived from plants and herbs, such as tea tree oil and green-tea shampoo, are examples of natural and herbal treatments.
Some treatments require a specified combination of ingredients, such as a predetermined amount of tea tree oil. It all depends on what you put in it, but the aroma can get rather potent, so you have to be careful to get the proportions just right.
Products such as tea tree shampoo, Nitty Gritty solution, and Puressentiel Anti-Lice Treatment Lotion are examples of natural remedies that may be purchased over-the-counter.
The risk of resistance is lower, and it is simple to apply.
There has been limited clinical study examining the effectiveness of therapies, and potential adverse effects are unknown.
I have mixed-race and Afro hair; what treatment should I use for head lice?
We discussed how to treat children and adults who have mixed-race or Afro hair with Dee Wright, founder of The Hairforce, a professional head lice eradication firm with eight locations in the United Kingdom.
Step 1: Separate the hair without detangling it beforehand.
First, make a part down the centre of your hair. Do not begin by attempting to untangle the entirety of your hair at once; when you brush it, the curls will fall out and the hair will get fluffier, making it more difficult to manage. Instead, avoid attempting to detangle the hair in sections.
Because of the great absorbency of these types of hair, you should not be shocked to find that you will need to use a significant amount of conditioner while you work.
The second step is to continue sectioning solely.
After you have established the centre parting, the next step is to divide your hair into a number of smaller pieces. The smaller the sections, the easier it will be for you to manage your hair, but keep in mind that the portions still need to be large enough for the nit comb to pass through.
Before beginning to nit-comb hair that is extremely curly or Afro-textured, it is recommended that the hair be divided into 12 pieces, with six sections on either side of the head.
Step 3 – Now disentangle
When all of the pieces have been produced, the next step is to untangle each one individually.
Plait it as soon as it’s detangled so that it stays under control and out of the way.
Nit-picking is the fourth step.
After you have successfully untangled and plaited all of them, you can move on to nit-combing each individual one.
Unbraid your hair, then put some conditioner on it and start nit-combing. After you have finished nit combing that portion, you should replait it and then move on to the subsequent section.
hair from Africa and the Afro-Caribbean islands
The hair shaft of people of African and Afro-Caribbean descent is more elongated and oval-shaped, whereas the hair shaft of those of mixed race and Caucasian descent is more circular. Because the head lice that are native to Caucasian hair are not adapted to the hair shaft’s flattened-oval shape, they are not as successful at making a home for themselves in the hair of people of African or Afro-Caribbean descent.
When nits and head lice are present, dreadlocks are notoriously tough to manage because of their tight, knotted nature. Because of the density of dreadlocks, it is impossible to remove nits from the hair with a nit comb. If the nits are not removed, the eggs that they contain will hatch, allowing the infestation to begin all over again.
In order to access the scalp and the hair’s roots, the top of the dreadlocks need to have grown down at least 5 to 6 inches (13 to 15 cm) before you begin the process. Lice typically deposit their eggs close to the base of the hair shaft. As a result, here is the location where you will find the most recent batch of eggs. Because nit combs aren’t available, the only way to remove head lice and their eggs is to manually remove them. As a result, it’s likely in your best interest to seek treatment from a team of experienced lice removal specialists.
Lice and nits on the head Reviews
The most effective treatments for nits and head lice in 2022
How effective are low-cost treatments for nits and head lice? Combs or lotions—which is more successful for removing nits? Find out which treatments for head lice are considered to be the best by other parents.
In order to identify the best brand of treatment for head lice, we questioned 2,010 parents living in the United Kingdom who have a child younger than 12 years old and who have all been forced to perform the unpleasant duty of removing head lice from their children.
There is a large selection of treatments available, such as leave-in mousse, leave-in lotions, leave-in sprays, and leave-in mousse products. Many of these products no longer include pesticides, which lice can develop immunity to; instead, they kill lice by drowning them in liquid or drying them out by coating them in the liquid and applying pressure.
Continue reading to find out which ones are the most well-liked by parents in terms of how effective they are, how simple they are to use, how pleasant they smell, and how much they cost.
What are the most effective treatments for head lice?
The following star ratings were derived from survey respondents’ ratings of various aspects on a scale ranging from one to seven stars. These ratings were then transformed into one star (the lowest possible rating) to five stars (the highest possible rating).
The following is a list of the most frequent treatments that parents turn to in order to rid their child of those annoying head lice.
Method of the nit comb
The poll conducted in 2021 found that just under half of all parents (45%) reported that the previous time their child had nits, they used a comb with conditioner on it.
According to the responses of the parents who participated in our poll, Acu-Life is the most effective brand for eradicating head lice. It is a brand that is well-known for its unique blue plastic-handled nit combs with metal teeth, and it has received great ratings in all four of the most important categories: effectiveness, ease of use, odour, and value for the money.
You can frequently use a nit comb in conjunction with another product, such as a medicated or herbal treatment, or conditioner. The comb is rather inexpensive and can be purchased for a few pounds. This latter option can be an inexpensive way to treat head lice if you already have conditioner in your home; nevertheless, it can be a very time-consuming process.
You may learn how to efficiently apply the nit-comb-and-conditioner approach by watching the video that we’ve provided here.
Does your child have hair that is very curly or that is Afro-style? Take a look at our advice on how to treat head lice in people with Afro hair or mixed racial heritage.
Treatments that include medication
In our poll of parents in 2021, we found that more than half (65%) of them indicated they used a nit comb with solution.
The list includes medication and therapies that may be purchased from Boots, Superdrug, Full Marks, Hedrin, Nitwits, and Lyclear. Some of these treatments take as little as ten minutes to apply, which is one of the many reasons why they are preferable to the traditional method of combing out tangles.
There are a variety of treatment alternatives available, such as creams and lotions that are applied to the scalp in the same manner as shampoo, sprays that facilitate application, and a product that may be applied to the hair and styled as a leave-in mousse.
Why receiving treatment more than once is very crucial
Implementing a follow-up treatment is essential to the success of any medication-based treatment plan.
Even with treatments that claim to eliminate head lice in a single application, there is still a chance that some eggs (nits) could survive if the product isn’t correctly applied to cover all nits and lice. This is especially true if the product isn’t applied in a way that ensures complete coverage. In the event that they are successful in surviving, the cycle will begin once more, and you will be faced with yet another infestation.
The conventional wisdom is that you should check your child’s head a week later after using a “once-only” treatment to ensure that you have eliminated any lice or eggs that you may have missed. However, we believe that checking your child’s head and applying an additional treatment a week later is the most reliable way to ensure that you have killed all of the head lice.
Alternative, natural and herbal remedies
According to the results of our poll in 2020, parents were less inclined to utilise herbal or natural treatments, such as tea tree oil, because they were not very impressed with these types of remedies. However, they fared better in the study that was conducted in 2021, with a popular herbal brand called Puressentiel receiving four stars for ease of use, scent, and value for money, although only receiving three stars for its effectiveness.
When used in conjunction with a nit comb, herbal therapies may have a greater chance of success. However, many parents choose to utilise herbal treatments as a preventative precaution rather than to really get rid of lice. This is due to the belief that items such as tea tree oil deter lice from attaching itself to humans.
There is scant proof that herbal remedies are effective, and there is very little information available on the potential for adverse reactions. If you would rather not use a product that contains medication, we suggest combing your hair with conditioner and a nit comb instead.
Treatment according to the kind of hair
When our 2021 study looked at the treatment of head lice based on the child’s hair type, we found that there were some substantial disparities.
Only 38% of those with curly hair used a comb and conditioner, compared to 49% of those with straight hair and nearly the same percentage (48%) of those with coiled or Afro hair. Those with straight hair were more likely to use a nit comb than those with coiled or Afro hair.
When it comes to treating head lice, fewer people with coiled or Afro hair (54%) used a nit comb with head lice solution than those with other types of hair; for instance, 69% of those treating wavy hair used a nit comb with head lice solution.
According to the findings of our study, nearly one in ten people (9%), namely those with curled or Afro hair, did not use either a nit comb with conditioner or a nit comb with head lice solution on a regular basis.
In general, a nit comb that also included a head lice treatment was preferred by more people (65%) over a nit comb that only included conditioner (45%) for all different types of hair.