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 Health Information

10 Day Hair Conditioner Treatment of Head Lice


Head Lice can be more easily removed by applying plenty of hair conditioner to dry hair before coming to remove live lice and eggs (nits).  Any type of hair conditioner may be used, including generic “home” brands, together with a metal fine-tooth “nit” comb.


How does it work?

The hair conditioner works by immobilising the lice so that it is easier to trap them in the teeth of the comb.  Without hair conditioner to slow them down, lice can be difficult to catch – they can run about 30cm in 60 seconds.  Hair conditioner also reduces friction, making combing easier, especially when using the metal fine-tooth “nit” comb.  Even if only one or two lice are missed, they can lay about 6 eggs per day, and the cycle of infestation will continue.


Why the 10 day treatment period?

Generally, eggs (“nits”) will hatch 7-8 days after being laid on the hair shaft.   However, some researchers have found that a few eggs may hatch as late as 9-10 days after being laid.  The 10 day period is therefore recommended as the most effective time to break the reproductive cycle of the head lice.


What to do:-

  • Apply plenty of hair conditioner to dry hair until saturated.

  • Comb through with an ordinary comb or brush to remove tangles.

  • Section and comb the hair thoroughly with a metal fine-tooth “nit” comb in 4 directions – forwards, backwards, left and right.

  • Wipe the comb on a white paper towel between each directional comb to check that the dark adult lice or the paler hatchlings are being removed.Hatchlings are young lice which emerge from the eggs.You may need to use a magnifying glass and a strong light to see the lice and eggs.

  • Using white hair conditioner may make it easier to see the head lice.

  • Rinse the hair conditioner out and dry the hair.

  • Repeat this process daily for 10 days to cover the hatching period of the eggs.This removes the hatchlings which emerge from any missed eggs.

  • Check your findings for adult head lice each day after commencing the 10 day combing period.If any are found this will be a new infestation.You will need to start again from day 1, as new eggs may have been laid.

  • Check for lice re-infestation once a week for at least 4 weeks after completion of the 10 days treatment.Hair conditioner makes the inspection easier.

  • Check all other household members for head lice infestation using the method described above.


How to remove eggs:-

Some eggs will be removed by combing, but others are harder to detach.  You may need to use your fingernails to remove as many eggs as possible from the base of the hair shaft near the scalp.


Remember, only those eggs within 1cm of the scalp will hatch.   Those eggs which have grown further out with the hair shaft will already be hatched or dead.

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