WARNING: Oils may enhance absorption, therefore, avoid using oil treatments, or oil based hair dressings or conditioners immediately before and after applying
Non-toxic remedies are obviously a preferred
choice over pesticides whenever possible. However, this
doesn't mean that everything touted as "natural"
is across-the-board safe.
who try "alternatives" have already had failure with
readily available pediculicides from the local
drug stores. If there is success with such alternatives, we suspect that it may have to do
with motivation and the "parent power"
behind the effort - rather than any particular
pediculicidal or ovicidal property.
No matter which remedy you're attempting - wrapping the hair
in plastic or a shower cap and putting the children to bed is
a bad idea. It is also a source of potential harm to use a
wrap with any of the pesticidal treatments (whether in bed or not) as it may
alter it's chemistry and absorption rates.
The use of mayonnaise appears to give
people a sense of hopefulness and encouragement that they can
manage head lice without pesticides. The NPA has received conflicting
reports as to its exact effectiveness, but we are encouraged whenever a parent
looks towards safer choices than pesticides. Mayo may have not any
greater chance of success than many of the commercially available products,
however, it definitely involves less risk.
What about Vaseline? Attempts to smother lice on
the head are largely unsuccessful and parents then have the additional problem
of removing Vaseline from the hair (a difficult task to say the least) as well
as removing the lice and nits.
Tea tree oil
is a different example. It is
touted as safe and natural, yet claims to be a
fungicide and bacteriacide. This is a case where
"natural" is misleading: if it kills
organisms, then it must be treated with respect. Pure tree
oil is contraindicated for babies, young children, pregnant
women, and some pets. Tea tree oil is not to be used
daily, and is toxic to the liver in high doses. High doses
can also be irritating to the skin and provoke an allergic
reaction in some people.
screening and combing is the ultimate complement to
whatever course of action an individual selects. It is impossible
to obtain independent scientific data as to the effectiveness and safety on many
of the different ideas being circulated about "natural"
remedies. Ultimately, it will always be the "parent
power" behind the effort that makes the