To choose the best treatment for nits, i.e., head lice eggs, you need to decide whether you are comfortable with insecticides. Insecticides are highly effective at killing head lice, but can cause irritation to the scalp and should be avoided by pregnant women. An alternative is wet combing, which is more difficult but also effective. Several alternative treatments exist, such as using an electric comb, but these are generally unproven.
Insecticides are usually very effective at treating nits. The chemicals are available in a variety of forms, including shampoos and lotions, and need to be applied several times over the course of a few days. Lotion, which can be left on the scalp over long periods of time, is often a more effective treatment for nits than shampoo. There is some evidence to suggest that pregnant women should not use insecticides.
Combing can be an effective treatment for nits, although it can be easy to miss a few head lice in the process. Wet hair combing involves using a specially designed detection comb after the hair has been thoroughly washed with shampoo and conditioner. Make sure to check for lice after each comb through, otherwise the nits could jump back into the hair. The process often needs to be repeated several times to completely get rid of head lice.
Dry combing is sometimes recommended as a treatment for nits, but it is not as effective as wet combing. It is, however, useful for detecting nits in the first place. To perform dry combing, the hair should be untangled using a regular comb, and then combed thoroughly with a detection comb.
There are a number of alternative treatments for nits including the application of tea tree oil or the use of an electric comb. Some people claim to have success with these methods, but there is little or no evidence that they work. It is also important to remember that just because a product is natural doesn’t necessarily mean it is safe.
Several days after treatment for nits, regardless of which type you decide to use, go through the hair with a nit comb. If you find any live nits, the treatment may have not been completely successful. Preventing nits in the first place can be difficult, especially in a school environment, but if you or a family member has come into contact with someone who has nits, quick treatment can stop the lice from spreading.