Louse egg very magnified

Lice Eggs. The lice treatment industry’s dirty little secret.

There are hundreds of products on the market that claim to get rid of lice. Some of them actually do a fairly good job of eliminating the live lice. But what they don’t tell you on the packaging or in their marketing is that they are very ineffective at killing lice eggs. Unfortunately, if you don’t kill the eggs, you still have lice.

A common complaint from frustrated moms is, “We’ve been dealing with lice for months. They seem to go away for a while but then they come back! What am I doing wrong?” Well, in reality, they are probably doing nothing “wrong.” They are most likely following the manufacturer’s instructions precisely. In most of these situations the lice didn’t “come back” because they never went away in the first place. The products they used might have killed most of the live lice, but after a few days the eggs hatch and they were right back where they started.

Consider this—over the years, lice have become resistant to pesticides such as permethrin, an ingredient in one leading manufacture’s topical treatment that you can buy at most drugstores. As a result, it has become less and less effective. However, an independent clinical trial showed that after 15 days and two treatments with the popular product, 45% of the people tested still had lice.*

There is a popular prescription available which is more effective at killing lice than over-the-counter remedies, but there is evidence that between 24% and 29% of the lice survive the treatment.** Plus, these prescriptions can cost over $300 per application.

So, what can you do to kill the eggs? You really only have two choices:

Combing: People have been “nitpicking” for thousands of years. This method actually just removes lice eggs rather than kills them. It can be a time-consuming and arduous task, and treatment failures are common because removing every last egg can be difficult.

Heated-Air Treatment: There is an FDA-cleared heated-air medical device that dehydrates the lice and eggs. This process is highly effective and has been done safely for over 5 years. The process is performed in a single treatment, which takes 60-90 minutes, and is guaranteed to eliminate the lice and egg problem.

Click here for a comparison of lice treatments that have been clinically tested.

*(Evaluation of the Efficacy and Safety of 1% Sodium Chloride against 1% Permethrin Crème Rinse on Head Lice Infested Individual, 2013)

**Sklice Lotion Efficacy & Safety (2013) – Retrieved from http://www.sklice.com/hcp/efficacy-side-effects.html – Sklice Lotion Side Effects|Efficacy, 2013 Sanofi Pasteur Inc. last modified: 15, September-2013

This year, lice will steal $14,000 from your school

According to national averages for public schools,* 22% of the children in your school will have lice this year and they will miss about 2 days of school trying to take care of it. Every day your child is absent, his or her school will lose an average of $70.

But real problem isn’t the lice, it’s the ignorance about lice. If more moms understood how ineffective over-the-counter treatments and home remedies are, they would seek out solutions that really work. The better the solution, the fewer days missed. And that’s good news for both you and your school.

Click here for a comparison of lice treatments that have been clinically tested.

*based on statistical information from National Center of Education Statistics

Unsuspecting moms cause spread of lice

Most moms want the best for their children and are diligent about keeping them safe and healthy. When they discover their child has head lice they often become desperate and frantically search for a cure. Unfortunately, there is a lot of incorrect information out there.

Well-meaning friends or relatives might suggest home treatments such as mayonnaise or petroleum jelly. Some of these remedies actually do kill some of the lice. However, they have no effect at all on the eggs. Other moms will run to the drugstore and buy over-the-counter remedies only to discover they are less than 50% effective.

Unfortunately, many moms will try over-the-counter treatments again and again only to end up with the same results: their children still have lice. And the longer their  children have lice, the more likely they are to spread it to others.

The good news is that there are effective ways to treat your children. For example, heated-air technology has been clinically proven to kill lice and their eggs. Many mothers also report that comb-out services from professional nit pickers can be effective, but may take several hours to complete, and may require additional at-home combing or repeat treatments for up to two weeks.

Our hope is that moms will end the stress and aggravation caused by head lice by spreading the truth about what really works, and what doesn’t. Because, the spread of truth reduces the spread of lice.

Toddler dies from parents lack of knowledge

Earlier this year, an 18-month-old child died while undergoing a home treatment for head lice involving mayonnaise and a plastic bag. As the child slept, the bag apparently covered her face, suffocating her. (Link: Massachusetts toddler dies during head lice treatment – CBS News) This was an extremely tragic accident, which might have been avoided if there was more factual information readily available about how to effectively treat head lice.

Lice can be very annoying, leading desperate moms to try home treatments such as mayonnaise, vinegar, petroleum jelly, rubbing alcohol and Listerine. All of these home remedies may have some rate of success in killing the lice, but there is no documented evidence that these home remedies are effective at killing the eggs. Some of these home remedies are not only ineffective, but can also be considered unsafe. Some people have even poured kerosene on their child’s head.

It’s time to spread the truth about what works and what doesn’t so the tragic occurrence with the toddler mentioned above never happens again.


Over-the-counter products fail to kill super lice

Head lice in the United States are becoming more and more resistant to the most popular lice-treatment products. As a result, these “Super Lice” are becoming more difficult to kill, increasing frustration and anxiety among parents. In contrast, heated-air treatments, which dehydrate lice and their eggs instead of using pesticides, continue to effectively kill even super lice.

The emergence of super lice received national attention recently following a report by Kyong Yoon, Ph.D. to the American Chemical Society.* Yoon, who has been researching pesticide resistance with John Clark, Ph.D. since the 1990s, stated that lice in 25 states have mutated to be resistant to the pesticides in the most popular over-the-counter head-lice products.

In contrast, clinical studies of a heated-air device called the AirAllé® (formerly Lousebuster) showed it to be a highly effective method of killing lice in a single, hour-long treatment, including the super lice. In particular, it killed 99.2 percent of lice eggs, which was important because many lice-treatment products don’t kill eggs and require multiple treatments and extensive combing to remove the eggs.** In comparison, other clinical studies in the past six years have shown that permethrin-based treatment products, which lice have evolved resistance to, are less than 50 percent effective even after two treatments and 14 days.

Also, the AirAllé® device kills super lice. Dr. Dale Clayton, an evolutionary parasitologist who invented the AirAllé® device, said, “There’s no evidence that lice can evolve resistance to desiccation through heated air.”

Click here for a comparison of lice treatments that have been clinically tested.


**Efficacy of the LouseBuster, a New Medical Device for Treating Head Lice (Anoplura: Pediculidae), SARAH E. BUSH, ALEX N. ROCK, SHERRI L. JONES, JAEL R. MALENKE, AND DALE H. CLAYTON, J. Med. Entomol. 48(1): 67Ð72 (2011); DOI: 10.1603/ME10122