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How to Get Rid of Lice Permanently? (Topical Treatments & 3 Home Remedies)

Head lice spread from head-to-head contact. They don’t fly or hop but they crawl. These six legged buggers prefer warm and dark environment particularly the area behind your ears or above the neck. And when you don’t take any precautionary measures, their numbers keep on multiplying as they lay about 6 to 10 nits (lice’s eggs) daily. And you end up with lice infestation. Head lice problem, when not dealt properly, can easily retreat within a week. There could be a number of reasons behind it. You might have left some lingering lice or nits in the scalp or the medication was not strong enough to deal with the level of severity. Besides that, some lice are resistant to the particular OTC medication, we use. Following proper supplemental measures is equally important. And that is not possible without knowing the basic facts about head lice.

How to Get Rid of Lice Permanently?

To get rid of lice permanently, you would have to follow a certain plan. That is the only way to get 100% success in getting rid of head lice. Here we have summed up a few effective head lice treatments to get rid of lice permanently.

1. Topical Treatments

The easiest way to deal with head lice is to apply some topical product. Drugstore shelves and markets are filled with a number of anti-lice products. You can also buy them online. Pick the one that suits the infested person’s condition and age (be more careful when you are picking for kids or pregnant/nursing women). For example, for children, over-the-counter medicated shampoos (tea tree oil shampoo) and essential oil spray are the safest choice. Application of essential oils particularly tea tree oil (tea tree oil is a natural insecticide) is known for its effectiveness. Instead of applying it directly on your scalp, add a small quantity of olive oil or coconut oil in it. Most of the topical products come with excellent lice combs (even if they don’t, buy one for yourself). Use them in your hair after applying the anti-lice product. It helps in getting rid of dead and senseless lice and nits. Make sure you are using it according to the instructions. Some products must be repeated after a week or so. Make certain you are doing that. If you are not satisfied with the results, talk to the pharmacist or human head lice expert about some other medication.

2. No Comb Treatments

Those who don’t want to spend hours in combing out their hair to get rid of nits and lice, we have some good news to share. Prescription medication is what you should try. Application of a few minutes to some hours can easily clean your scalp of different head lice (juvenile or adult lice) and nits. The only negative aspect of such cures is the possibility of side effects. The most common side effects may include—dandruff, redness of eyes, irritation in scalp and skin and rough or frizzy hair. Some of the best no-comb prescription medications are;

  • Ivermectin Lotion (SKlice)
  • Malathion lotion (ovide)
  • Benzyl Alcohol Lotion (ulesfia)
  • Spinosad Topical Suspension (Natroba)
  • Lindane head lice shampoos

Note: If you are using them on kids’ scalp, read the label to know what it instructs about the amount for children.

3. Home Remedies

Those who do not want to opt for some chemical-based product must try home remedies. There are a number of items available on your kitchen shelves that you can use for killing lice. Some of them may include;

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil does not work as an insecticide. It has a different function to perform in lice infestation. Its greasy consistency immobilizes lice, leaving them unable to move and grow as freely as they normally do in a clean scalp. When you have your scalp drenched in coconut oil, it would be easier to comb out the nasty lice. Some other ways to use coconut oil for getting rid of lice are;

  • Coconut Oil with Garlic

Garlic not just contain antiseptic properties but its strong smell is an effective repellent against lice. Make the paste of about 8 to 10 garlic cloves and add it in 3 teaspoon of coconut oil. Apply it in your scalp and cover your head with a shower cap. Leave it for about half an hour. Now use a nit comb to get nits and lice out, before washing with hot water.

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  • Coconut Oil with Tea Tree Oil

Mix 5 to 6 drops of tea tree oil in 2 tbsp. of coconut oil. The insecticide properties of tea tree oil work more effectively when mixed with coconut oil.

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  • Coconut Oil with Apple Cider Vinegar

The acetic acid in apple cider vinegar helps in cutting down the glue-like substance that a female louse releases to attach the nits to the hair shafts. As nits do not come off easily, application of vinegar would help. To get the best results, coat your scalp with apple cider vinegar first and let it dry. Then apply coconut oil over it. Cover your head with a shower cap. Leave it that way for about 4 to 5 hours. Don’t forget to comb out lice and nits before shampooing. Lastly, blow dry hair to kill any lingering lice.

Curing Lice with Onions

Onions are enriched with sulfur which is a known ingredient for killing lice. Extract some fresh onion juice and apply it on your scalp. Make sure it has reached down to the roots of the hair. Keep it in your scalp for about four hours before rinsing. Don’t forget to use a high quality lice comb after washing your hair. Using a flat iron/hair straightener after rinsing too can kill lice (lice can’t stand hot temperature).

Lemon Juice

Get advantage of the acidic qualities of lemon juice to fight lice infestation. Follow a few simple steps to disinfect your scalp. Extract lemon juice according to your hair’s length. Apply it to dampen your hair and scalp. Leave it for about 10 to 15 minutes (or till it dries completely) before rinsing your hair. Mixing lemon juice with garlic paste is yet another effective remedy to combat lice.

Can We Get Rid of Lice Permanently?

If I have to answer it in one word, I’d say NO! Not because we lack useful anti-lice products or home remedies. It is because we do not follow the right and recommended way to use these products. And most of all, it is essential to keep checking the scalp to avoid retreatment (and that we don’t do in most of the cases). As lice have the ability to reproduce quickly, even a single lice or nit left in the scalp, can cause recurring of lice.

A female louse lays about 6 to 10 eggs in a day. The eggs hatch within a week or so. It takes 7 to 10 days for these juvenile lice to turn into adult. The sooner they turn adult; a new process of reproduction starts. So, it is essential to remove each and every nit and lice.

Removing them from your hair is not just enough, you have to get them out from the place where you live. These can be found on the things; an infected person has been using. So, it is really important to sanitize all such products. The main items to sanitize may include—bed linens, pillow covers, towel, clothes of infected person, mittens, favorite stuff toy and all head accessories. To sanitize them, wash them in extremely hot water and then blow dry or iron them. Furthermore, the carpet, rugs, furniture and floor must be vacuumed. There might be some broken hair with a few nits or lice over them. Once you have vacuumed the house, throw the litter in sealed plastic bag to avoid re-infestation. Last but not the least, avoid head to head contact with people infested with lice. Unless you don’t follow all these precautionary measures, you can’t hope to end lice permanently.

Don’t pay heed to different myths regarding live lice infestation. Anyone with hair on his/her head can get infested with lice. It has nothing to do with age of the people or length of the hair. People of every age group and all hair lengths can be the victim of lice epidemic.


There are numerous ways of getting rid of head lice permanently. Be it an OTC treatment, prescription medication or some home remedy, all can work effectively. What you really need to do is to stay calm and persistent, and don’t forget to follow the essential precautionary measure. Soon these pesky parasites will be out of your family.

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