Head lice are an unwanted fact of life, especially if you have school-age children. Many over-the-counter and prescription treatments for head lice are available, but most contain toxic chemicals that can be absorbed into the skin. One of the most effective methods for treating head lice is through suffocation. According to Dr. Dale Pearlman, a California dermatologist, one of the best over-the-counter products to use for suffocating lice is Cetaphil Skin Cleanser.
Fill an 8-oz. applicator bottle with the Cetaphil Cleanser. These empty bottles can be found in most pharmacies or department stores in the hair care section.
Place a towel around the shoulders of the person being treated. Beginning at the nape of the neck, apply the Cetaphil Cleanser to the scalp, going back and forth from the left side of the head to the right, and back. Be sure the tip of the applicator bottle is touching the scalp.
After the first application from back to front, put the bottle down and massage the cleanser into the scalp. Be sure cleanser is thoroughly massaged in. After this application you should have used half of the Cetaphil Cleanser that is in the applicator bottle. Start next on the right side of the scalp and zig-zag from front to back, using the rest of the cleanser in the bottle. Massage this layer into the scalp also.
Apply the remainder of the Cetaphil Cleanser to the hair if your child has long hair. (This is the 4 oz. that remain in the original Cetaphil Cleanser bottle.) Massage into the hair and scalp.
Wait three minutes. When the three minutes is up, take the hair comb and comb the Cetaphil Cleanser out of the hair. Rinse the cleanser out of the comb into a bowl. This will allow you to see the lice and nits you have removed. After you have combed out the excess cleanser, flush the bowl of water down the toilet, and clean the comb off by running under hot water and dousing with rubbing alcohol.
Blow dry the remaining cleanser onto the hair. This is the part of the treatment that actually destroys the lice. According the Dr. Pearlman, drying the Cetaphil Cleanser onto the hair shaft is essentially the same as wrapping the lice and nits in plastic and suffocates them. For this to be effective, however, the entire scalp and hair must be blow dried completely. This may take a long time, depending upon the thickness and length of the hair being treated. Continue blow drying until there are no damp spots left.
Leave the treatment on overnight. For best results while sleeping, cover the hair with a night cap or a shower cap. In the morning, shampoo and style hair as usual. Before using brushes or combs, make sure they have been thoroughly cleaned and checked for lice or nits.
Repeat the Cetaphil Cleanser treatment once a week for three weeks.