There are quite a lot of different types of products and brands in the head lice treatment market which can make it quite confusing and hard to navigate, especially when you are in a panic and you need an immediate solution to the problem. So how do you choose which one to buy? Here’s how to choose the best lice treatment for you.
The only thing to choose is what is the most effective, and there lies the problem. How effective are they really?
According to the Journal of Medical Entomology in the U.S, 98% of lice have developed resistance to existing treatments. These are now referred to as “super-lice”, and it is no different here in the UK.
Chemical and non-chemical products
The product market splits into chemical and non-chemical formulations, none of which really deliver the level of effectiveness the consumer needs. The chemical products in the UK contain insecticides like Malathion (Derbac M) and Permethrin (Lyclear) which are neurotoxins and seek to immobilise the louse’s nervous system. As neurotoxins they go into your child’s bloodstream as well, and so have health implications, especially if used in high volume.
Substantial government research as far back as 2006 showed that 80% of the time these were ineffective because head lice have built serious resistance to them. More recent research in the Journal of Entomology has put this figure as high as 87%. Additionally, there has been growing concern about the use of chemicals on children which an increasing number of parents wish to avoid using.
What are termed the non-chemical products are predominately dimethicone based like the U.K. market leader, Hedrin. Dimethicone doesn’t kill the head lice by poisoning them but instead coats and smothers them. The various brands claim effectiveness on the basis that head lice cannot develop resistance to it. Dimethicone leaves a lasting residue on the hair and the scalp, dehydrating it as well as the lice.
A study published in the British Medical Journal in 2005 suggested a 65-70% effectiveness rate for dimethicone head lice products, not the 100% they wish to claim. Additionally, some leading authorities question the validity of product research and its bias given it is funded by the drug companies themselves.
What is the best head lice treatment on the market?
The alternative essential oil-based products have insubstantial research to back them up. They, like many of the products described are expensive combing aids. All the products recommend nit combing, and many put a free comb in the box to reinforce the point and encourage you to do it – it is the combing that is the really effective part of what you will do.
Significantly neither the chemical and non-chemical head lice products kill the eggs themselves. If the eggs are not all destroyed or removed the infestation will pick itself back up, and within the month it will reassert itself. Many product users experience this cyclical pattern of re-infestation.
The numbers of children with head lice and the growing frustration amongst the users reflects the ineffectiveness of these products. Data from 2011 estimated that more than a third (37%) of all 4 to 11-year-olds caught head lice at least once a year, compared to just 1.5% in 1977.
Head lice removal clinics
If you want 100% effectiveness against both the head lice and their eggs, the nits there is an alternative to the products – a nit and head lice removal clinic. The Hairforce was set up as a response to the low rates of effectiveness offered by the head lice treatments.
The frustration with the head lice products is reflected in the Hairforce’ s substantial client base, where virtually everyone has used head lice products unsuccessfully before they resort to the service to clear it for them. It is very typical to find a parent has used a lot of product frequently, and often all the products on the market, only to still find they are infested.
The Hairforce’s clients can use a product and they are found to have head lice the next day; or clients can use a product and then find they have head lice 3 to 4 weeks later, as eggs unscathed by the products come through, hatch, the lice breed and the infestation picks itself up.
Consequently, many clients are caught in a vicious cycle of product use and infestation. Many users know from their own empirical evidence that the products are not clearing the infestations, be they the chemical or non-chemical treatments.
Besides using the Hairforce service to clear an infestation for you, the best, most natural, safest and most effective alternative is to nit comb with conditioner. In the only long-term trial to compare the results of treating head lice with an insecticide product with those of wet combing, scientists from the London School of Tropical Medicine found that regular nit combing was 4 times more effective than the treatments.
Wet combing is also lauded by the Department of Health’s NHS choices website, but they also recommend the treatments because the authorities believe that the skill level needed to do it successfully ‘does not exist amongst the general public’. The Hairforce offer a Kit with guidance, and their professional nit & lice remover to enable the consumer to deliver the Hairforce service in their own home and to check their children’s hair on an ongoing basis.
What treatment can I use when pregnant?
It is important to remember that the scalp is permeable, and therefore everything you put on it will be absorbed into your body’s system. When you are pregnant that is a significant thing, because what you absorb, and digest passes through the placenta to the child.
The chemical products have researched toxic side effects as they are neurotoxins – the clue is in that name. The non-chemical products substantially use dimethicone and there is a growing debate – led by the Scandinavians, about dimethicone being used in the quantities that it is now being used and its effects on health.
The Hairforce nit and lice removal service is totally natural and shuts down the infestation for you without the use of any head lice products in the process, protecting both mother and unborn child.
Do treatment products kill eggs?
When the products work, they will kill the head lice, but their effectiveness against the eggs, the nits is very limited. It is why many products include a nit comb in the box and in their instructions, they tell you that you must nit comb. If you do not remove the eggs, then they will hatch and lice will develop, lay more eggs and two to three weeks later you have a full-on infestation again. For many people they then believe their child has been re-infested, whereas it is simply the original infestation picking itself back up again. This is the vicious cycle many parents describe.
What’s the best head lice treatment in the UK?
If you want a truly effective treatment in the UK, then the forensic removal of all the lice and eggs is available through the network of The Hairforce clinics. The service-based approach uses a combination of clever technology to speed up the process, and forensic hand clearing to remove everything quickly, efficiently and effectively without the use of head lice treatment products. This guaranteed process is conducted over 2 appointments, 7 days apart.
The best judge of whether something is effective are the client reviews and these can be found in genuine quotes on the Hairforce website and in Google reviews. Do check them out yourself and see what consumers themselves think of the head lice treatments they have used before being cleared by the Hairforce, and what they thought of the service they used to finally get rid of their nits and head lice.