Head Lice, or Nits are tiny, wingless parasites that feast on minuscule amounts of blood for survival. Since they can’t fly or even walk on the ground, these insects can only live off of a host for 24 to 48 hours. As its Latin name pediculus humanus capitis suggests, lice feed solely on the scalps of humans.
For some of us, we have no idea these little critters have been living with us until we get sent the dreaded note from school letting us know that someone in the class has head lice a.k.a nits. After reading the note, and reaching for the wine bottle simultaneously, finally, we get ourselves ready take on the battle to rid our families heads of the little blighters. But, can you really nuke them without using a toxic cauldron of nasty chemicals on our little one’s heads? Yes, you can. We share some of the best natural alternatives like Manuka & Kanuka essential oil so your kid’s hair can be nit free in no time.
What Do Head Lice Look Like?
An adult louse can be light brown or grey is two-three millimetres long and has a lifespan of about 30 days. An adult female can lay an average six eggs per day (up to ten) and does so as close to the scalp as possible to promote survival, securing the eggs to the hair shaft with a glue-like substance. Head Lice are the size of a pinhead, and appear whitish or yellow. It takes approximately eight to nine days for an egg to hatch, which is why getting rid of head lice is rarely a quick fix. A nit hatches into a nymph, an immature louse, and as long as there is a blood supply, it develops into an adult in nine to 12 days.
If you look closely (you may need a magnifying glass to do this) you will also be able to see the head lice crawling around. However, it can be more difficult to spot the nits. You will find the nits on the hair shaft within a quarter inch from the scalp. The egg sac is usually white or yellowish. If the sacs are further from the scalp, this means that the lice have hatched already.
One of the most common symptoms of any kind of lice is itching. You may also see red bumps on the scalp and around the neck and shoulders. Lice also prefer the dark, so a little one with lice could be more restless during night time.
5 Steps to Blitz Head Lice | Discover the Power of Manuka Oil
If you discover your little one has head lice there are two key things you have to do to get rid of them
- Kill the lice that are living
- Remove the lice eggs or kill them
Below we outline the 5 steps you need to take to be completely nit free in no time.
1. Get a Head Lice Comb
Enemy number one to lice and nits is the comb, of the extremely fine-toothed variety. Research has shown fine-tooth lice combs to be more effective in treating lice than pediculicides. First of all, a good quality lice comb is the easiest way to confirm a diagnosis. One study by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) concluded that “Diagnosis of louse infestation using a louse comb is four times more efficient than direct visual examination and twice as fast.” So whether your child has lice or not, make sure you have one in your medicine cabinet.
Now, you need to start Step Two, the wet combing the hair using an apple cider vinegar mixture.
2. Wet Hair with Apple Cider Vinegar Mixture
Consider this step as no different to wetting your child’s hair before you would normally apply a shampoo. Mix up 3-4 capfuls of Apple Cider Vinegar with a jug of water or a spray bottle and wet your child’s hair with this mixture first, leaving it to sit on the hair strand for a few minutes. The acidic makeup of apple cider vinegar helps to loosen the head lice glue from the hair strand making them easier to comb out. head lice aka Nits breathe via air holes on the sides of their bodies, so you are impairing their respiration. It won’t kill the adult head lice, but it truly helps you in combing them off the hair shaft.
3. Use Manuka Biotic’s Manuka Oil Conditioner
Now you want to smother the head lice with our Conditioner which is made by infusing rich oils (moroccan argan oil, olive oil, avocado oil) with Manuka & Kanuka essential oil. Head lice hate oils, since it suffocates them if left on for long enough, and also helps to loosen the nits from the hair roots and hair strand. This is great news for you, as your making sure you kill both the adults and any eggs on the scalp whilst leaving your little one’s hair super nourished.
Once you have doused your little one’s wet hair with our thick conditioner, let it sit for 5 – 10 mins on the hair, then start combing the hair into sections using the head lice comb, starting as close the scalp as possible. Wipe off the conditioner on a rag or paper towel after each pass. A top tip is to have a bowl of hot water mixed with 5- 10 drops Manuka Oil and a capful of apple cider vinegar, to wash and clean the comb after each comb through. Then rinse out the hair using Manuka Biotic’s Shampoo and Conditioner to clean the hair before we move into the next step.
You can also leave this conditioner overnight with your little one’s hair wrapped in a towel or a shower cape if you want maximum benefits and then start the combing process the next morning. You can also squeeze the conditioner into a container and combine with 2-3 drops of pure essential Manuka & Kanuka Oil and mix well and then massage onto the scalp. You can also add in 2-4 drops of lavender oil if you want to add a lovely calming aroma. This really zaps the nits and makes removing them super easy the next day.
4. Wash Hair with Manuka Biotic’ Manuka Oil Shampoo & Conditioner
To help prevent further infestation of head lice we recommend you repeat this daily for a week, with regular washing with our Shampoo and Conditioner and combing, to ensure that any infestation or a missed egg has been blitzed to oblivion. Make up this Nit Prevention Hair Spritz below to remain a nit free zone.
5. Head Lice Prevention Manuka Oil Blitzing Hair Spritz
Our Manuka Biotic Recommendations
Our Manuka Biotic® organic Manuka and Kanuka essential oil, is the world’s only certified organic Manuka oil, which has powerful antiseptic, anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties that work to nuke nits. They hate the smell of manuka oil. It’s goodbye nits and hello healthy hair again.
Remember the eggs and lice will drop onto coat collars, bed linen, towels etc, so to ensure you keep lice at bay, you need to ensure no re-use of these items whilst the lice are being treated, and add a few drops of Manuka essential oil to a hot wash cycle, as well as treating your child’s and other family members hair.
Our Shampoo and Conditioner are infused with certified organic Manuka oil making it the perfect antibacterial and anti-inflammatory natural shampoo and conditioner, perfect for reducing bacteria on the scalp and helping soothe itchy scalps and keeping nits at bay. Plus it’s all natural, making bathtimes free from all the nasty toxins and chemicals.
Why Manuka Biotic®?
- We use the worlds only certified organic Manuka oil.
- All our products contain potent antibacterial, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory properties to help soothe and repair the skin.
- Our products are 100% New Zealand made.
- Our products are made using natural ingredients and are FREE from:
- Sodium Lauryl Sulfate & SLES
- PEGs, PABA, EDTA
- Added fragrances & colouring
- Mineral Oils
- Propylene Glycol
- Animal testing or animal derivatives
Why These Natural Treatment Alternatives Work on Head Lice?
As noted in this 2014 review the most potent natural alternatives ones are Manuka, Kanuka (and Lavender) essential oils which all have antimicrobial properties. Another study, published in BMC DermatologyTrusted Source, also found promising results when treating children with head lice with manuka, tea tree and lavender essential oils.
- Manuka Biotic® Organic Manuka & Kanuka Oil: Our Manuka Biotic® organic Manuka and Kanuka essential oil, is the world’s only certified organic Manuka oil, which has powerful antiseptic, anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties that work to eliminate nits. They hate the smell of manuka oil. So, its goodbye nits and hello healthy hair again.
- Manuka Biotic® Shampoo & Conditioner: infused with Manuka Oil our Shampoo & Conditioner is antibacterial and anti-inflammatory and not only killing off the nits but helping to soothe any itchy skin on the scalp and the deterring the lice from returning.
- Apple Cider Vinegar: the acidic makeup helps to loosen the nit glue from the hair strand making them easier to comb out. Nits breathe via air holes on the sides of their bodies, so you are impairing their respiration.
- Lavender Oil: A 2011 study found that lavender essential oil could help prevent head lice. The study tested lavender with another essential oil, tea tree oil ( also known as New Zealand’s Manuka oil), combining a few drops these essential oils together.
Don’t forget: when choosing a new essential oil, cream, moisturiser for your families skin it’s vital to test a small area of skin to check if you are allergic to any of the ingredients. We advise trying new products on a small patch of skin and waiting 24 hours to make sure there is no reaction. Any natural product on the market could contain an ingredient that won’t agree with your skin.
For further information talk to your doctor.