Head Lice Products Are Peddling False Hope

We know that you shouldn’t trust head lice products. We see it every day in our clinics. And we’re sure you’ve seen it too.

You have probably tried every head lice product on the market ranging from tea-tree and ‘natural’ shampoos to some really nasty chemicals.

You have probably felt under pressure to use something, quickly. This is because you can’t bear the thought of head lice on your child and in your home. You don’t want to be the mum in the class that people think doesn’t do anything about it.

But then your child still has them.

And you use more, and try something else.

But your child still has them, and weeks or months have passed.

So you think they are possibly/probably picking them up at school all this time because each month you find head lice. They may be, but probably it is because the products weren’t effective. Eggs hatched, grew up, mated, laid more eggs and then they hatched.

Maybe even the doctor prescribed one of the products and reassured you that it would work.

But they still persist.

And all the time, you are buying expensive products that you think should work. This is because of the packaging which says ‘100% effective’. But the proof isn’t in the packaging, it’s in the hair – and you are still finding them.

Are these products letting you down, and if so, why are you still buying something that doesn’t work?

Don’t Trust Head Lice Products – Your Own Proof

The fact our business exists and that there is a high demand for our services tells you something significant.

We see a lot of people who have used a lot of product – over years, months, weeks or even the other evening. We still extract full on infestations from their hair.

What we see and hear are mum’s trying very hard to do something about head lice. But the products they are using are not delivering big time.

We point out that it is important to appreciate that the products are often backed by poor evidence; deeply flawed research (investigate the base sizes of much of the research and you will be shocked how low they are). But more worryingly, it is the drug companies that are funding the research.

We see the really unacceptable face of all this with the heavy infestations – and we see a lot of these.

Scientific proof the products don’t work

Significantly, government research (not product company research) back in 2006 stated that 80% of the time the chemicals and pesticides don’t work. This is because head lice have built an immunity to them.

Product company research is worth scrutinising because the company manufacturing the product is invariably sponsoring the research into how effective their own products are.  In addition the number of people the research is based on is often shocking – does 40 people sound adequate to you?

“In Australia the advertising regulator for health products upheld complaints over an advert for Hedrin. The regulator was ‘by no means satisfied the study could support either the ‘kill rate’ or the claim that their kill rate was ‘clinically proven.”

Daily Mail article, Caroline Scott, 2011

“Dr Jose Figueroa, deputy director of public health for City and Hackney Primary Care Trust expresses concern about the regulation of head lice products. ‘Some treatments are considered “liquid medical devices” which means there is far less regulation than there should be and studies don’t stand up to scrutiny, yet they should be as rigorous as those in any other area of medicine.”

Daily Mail article, Caroline Scott, 2011

The Consequences

Many argue that using the products is better than doing nothing. Even if they have found them to have unacceptable failure rates. If they give you false hope, and you don’t compensate for their failure by very thorough nit combing, then it is as good as doing nothing anyway.

The consequences of this approach are significant to all involved.

Repeated use of products, that don’t quite work, allows an infestation to continually gain ground. More and more eggs get under the radar, and before you know it the infestation is a big one. So there are more and more to share around to others.

This leads us to the impact head lice have on our children. We see and hear first-hand how they undermine a child’s confidence, self-esteem and ability to function at school (they self-exclude from activities; deliberately sit at the back of the class and refuse to attract attention); how they are bullied in the classroom and the playground; and how they are excluded from school and other activities.

We see children who have systematically withdrawn into themselves because of their fear of others judging them. They loath the feeling towards their hair and the infestation. We also see the physical side effects: the constant scratching, the tiredness and the runny nose. Their parents will talk about their lack of concentration at school and their irritability.

Whilst for adults the lice problem has been normalised by its sheer volume, underneath it is affecting how our children feel about themselves. It also affects how they behave – and there is evidence that this can be carried through into the adult they become.

What you can do instead of using head lice products

Hairforce Nit picking

There are alternatives to automatic use of the products – you have found our service. Alternatively, you can systematically over two weeks comb all the head lice and all the eggs out with a metal nit comb.

If you don’t want to do the combing and need help with a hair lice infestation and off the shelf products that have let you down, we can help! Call us today

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