The most effective lice treatments are
- Using a lice repellent
- Lice control with conditioner
There are many old folk remedies and alternative therapies that are unfortunately completely ineffective. In the worst case scenario, they can even be harmful to your health.
To provide clarity on which lice treatments work and which don't, we have compiled and commented on the most well-known lice treatments in this article.
Hedrin is the most effective way to treat lice
Lice cures that work
There's no doubt that lice repellents are the most effective treatment option for head lice.
We recommend Hedrin for head lice because we know from experience that it is the most effective
There are many different lice repellents on the market and it can be difficult to know which ones are the most effective. In addition, lice in many countries (including Denmark) have developed resistance to the lice repellents that have been on the market for a long time.
We recommend the lice product Hedrin because we know from experience that it is one of the best lice products on the Danish market.
Combing with lice balm
For lice control, we recommend the products above as they make combing effective and easy
The advantage of lice combing is that it removes lice in a 100% natural way - i.e. without the use of lice repellent. The disadvantage is that it takes a long time and requires a lot of patience. This is especially a problem when treating children.
Lice treatments with limited effect
The following treatments have a limited effect on lice and their eggs - i.e. they may kill some of the adult lice while having an effect on the lice eggs. None of the treatments have an effect on the lice's ability to lay, which is one of the points that makes them much less effective than the chemical lice treatments above.
Tea tree oil
There are a number of smaller studies of tea tree oil's effect on lice, some of which have shown that the oil can be used for lice treatment. However, it is not yet considered scientifically proven that tea tree oil can be used as an actual lice treatment.
Some internet sites claim that tea tree oil can be used to prevent lice when washing clothes (e.g. bedding), but there is no evidence to support this. In addition, it should be noted that lice are rarely transmitted to new hosts via textiles such as bedding, so this theory should be taken with a grain of salt.
In a 2004 study (see further down this page), Vaseline was the only product that was able to kill lice eggs. The petroleum jelly also prevented the eggs from hatching, so only 6% hatched.
The problem with Vaseline, however, is that - like the other home remedies in the study - it does not inhibit the lice's ability to lay eggs and is therefore not considered an effective remedy for lice.
A 2006 study investigated the effect of Hair drying for lice using six different hot air techniques. The overall conclusion was that hair drying is effective against lice, with the six techniques killing a minimum of 88% of all lice eggs.
The study also showed that you can kill 98% of all lice eggs and 55.3% of all hatched lice if you divide your scalp into 20 sections and dry it for 30 minutes with a regular hair dryer.
The researchers had also invented a combined hair dryer and lice comb that - unsurprisingly - was the most effective lice killer; it managed to kill 98% of all lice eggs and approximately 80% of all hatched lice. The death rate of 80% was high enough to prevent the remaining lice from multiplying.
Lice treatments that don't work
Although some of the cures below may seem to have a better effect than no treatment, they are still not recommended because there is no evidence of their effectiveness, but also because some of them may even be harmful to your health.
A 2004 study compared six different home remedies for lice and found that in conclusionthat "none of the home remedies tested could be described as effective against lice". The remedies were: vinegar, rubbing alcohol, olive oil, mayonnaise, melted butter and petroleum jelly.
Although several of the home remedies could be used to kill some of the adult lice, their effect on the eggs was very limited. Vaseline was the only product that could be used to kill eggs, and none of the products prevented the adult lice from laying eggs (which is essential in an effective lice treatment).
Below we review some of the most commonly used home remedies (including some of those included in the aforementioned study):
Using oil - and olive oil in particular - against head lice is an old remedy that has probably been used for a very long time. The idea behind this remedy is that the oil encapsulates the lice and blocks their breathing holes, which should eventually suffocate them.
The procedure is to thoroughly apply oil to the hair and scalp and cover the head with a shower cap or similar. Leave the oil on overnight as lice can survive for several hours without breathing. The next day, comb your hair with a lice comb, where the oil also helps to loosen the lice and their eggs.
However, the aforementioned study found that oil
The idea behind this method is that the vinegar should be able to dissolve the substances that the lice eggs are attached to (on the hair shafts). This should "loosen" the eggs, making it easier to control lice. Typically, ordinary stock vinegar is recommended for this purpose.
In practice, however, vinegar does not work better than water and it is therefore recommended to use lice balm or lice repellent in combination with combing instead.
There are several theories behind the lice cure with rubbing alcohol, the most common of which are as follows:
- that rubbing alcohol is supposed to detach the eggs from the hairs by dissolving the lice's glue (like vinegar)
- that rubbing alcohol is so harsh that it kills the adult lice and eggs
Rubbing alcohol can kill adult lice, but has no effect on the eggs or the lice's ability to lay eggs.
Other home remedies
In addition to the above remedies, there are others that you may come across from time to time. These include lice control with sabadilla vinegar, apple cider vinegar, hair gel, hair wax, tincture of kvass, kerosene, volcanic ash, essential oils, insecticides, lice or flea repellents for dogs and cats, and more.
None of these products are designed to control lice and should not be used on the body. Some of the products may even have harmful effects on your health.