Dealing with a child who has head lice can be an exercise in frustration. Miniscule in size and mighty in strength, these insects latch on to strands of hair and can seem impossible to get rid of. Small consolation, but you are not alone in your struggles: About 6 to 12 million kids ages 3 to 11 get head lice every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control. The good news is that, despite the may fear-mongering myths about lice, the critters aren’t dangerous to your child’s health, although they can cause scalp irritation and itchiness. Treatments vary, but in most cases the first line of defense is to wash your child’s hair with a lice-specific shampoo. The options range from chemical washes to all-natural rinses, each of which has its pros and cons. Here are the bottles to buy.
RID Lice Killing Shampoo
One of the best-selling brands in the U.S., you can trust RID to get the job done (use on kids age 2 and up). The product contains piperonyl butoxide (PBO) and pyrethrum extract, active ingredients that have been shown effectively eliminate lice. To use, apply the shampoo to dry hair first, and let it sit for about 10 minutes, then lather and rinse. The product includes a nit comb, which you should use after rinsing to gently remove any lice from your child’s hair. Repeat after 7-10 days.
LiceMD Lice & Egg Removal Treatment Liquid Gel
This pre-shampoo product can be massaged through your child’s dry hair before bathtime. Let it sit for 10 minutes, then comb the provided nit remover through his hair. Bathe and shampoo as usual. The pesticide-free formulation uses to dimethicone to fight off the bugs.
Fairy Tales Rosemary Repel Daily Shampoo
Taking the natural route to getting rid of lice doesn’t have to mean sacrificing effectiveness. This shampoo uses organic rosemary, citronella, peppermint, lavender, tea tree, and geranium oils to create a naturally lice-repellent environment. It also includes jojoba, aloe, and chamomile to soothe the scalp and provide itch relief. You can use it to treat a lice infestation, but the shampoo is so mild you can also use it as a daily prevention wash.
Head Hunters Wipe Out Natural Head Lice Treatment
Formulated to address the so-called “super lice” breakout seen in the past few years, this all-natural product uses the power of essential oils and herbs to dissuade lice from hanging out in your kid’s hair. Use first on dry locks, then massage it vigorously into the scalp under running warm water. Rinse.
Lice Clinics of America Daily Lice Prevention Conditioning Spray
Created by the largest network of urgent care lice clinics in the U.S., this product uses essential oils, especially mint, to repel lice. Spray it on your child’s dry or wet hair before showering, then run a nit comb through. This spray works as a detangler as well as a conditioning agent, leaving your child’s strands soft and shiny. After application, your child can wash his hair with his usual shampoo, or use a lice shampoo.