There are many names for lice that do not respond to traditional treatments for head lice.
We’ve heard parents at their wits’ end call us and use phrases like, “those darn bugs” or “those annoying little insects” and many others (most times those alternate names contain words not suited for this blog…) But the one phrase that perhaps is the most common is, “Super Lice.”
As in, “I’ve tried everything at the store and nothing’s working! These must be some kind of Super Lice!” We’ll go ahead and blame the media and internet hype and hyperbole for that one.
Super Lice? Really?
The phrase almost conjures up images of little bugs in spandex and capes with big letters embroidered on the front…”SL”! Contrary to popular belief, there really is no such thing as super lice. There are only lice. And yes, some of these lice have developed a resistance to traditional treatments with insecticides and other poisonous chemicals. This does not make them super. It makes them stubborn survivalists and it means that we need to get smarter about how we eradicate the little guys.
How Do Head Lice Become Immune To Some Traditional Treatments
As more and more research comes out around the country, it becomes clear that the head lice affecting children now are not the same as the lice that affected their parents. The bugs got tougher. Common over the counter medications and shampoos no longer have the same effect on lice. They don’t always kill them. And they definitely don’t do much about their eggs (or nits).The bigger surprise is why it took so long for everyone to notice. The best researchers and scientists across the country say it only takes three to five years for lice to build an immunity and adapt defenses to a new pesticide- based product. The same way that viruses and bacteria can become immune to antiviral and antibacterial medications, the head lice have evolved (rather quickly) tougher exoskeletons and other defenses to help them survive against the most common pesticides. This often leads parents to try multiple treatments with poisonous chemicals to eradicate the bugs.
Parents’ efforts are usually thorough, but still the bugs persist. It’s not the parents fault or even the fault of the product. People are using outdated weapons against an enemy that’s been around and adapted for survival over millennia.
What Does Work?
As is usually the case, when Mother Nature poses a problem, she provides the solution.
We just have to know where to look. Research into substances that can be found in nature and can destroy lice has intensified in recent years. This research has yielded results showing that there are some common, naturally occurring products we can use to treat and kill lice.
These ingredients include:
Various Enzymes & Proteins
Tea Tree Oil
When properly mixed, these ingredients have been shown to kill lice. And the best part is that because they occur naturally, the lice cannot build up an immunity to them. These are the weapons nature has given us to defend against lice and when we harness them correctly, they give us the upper hand and allow us to beat those little bugs.
Finding Products That Kill Lice Is Only Half The Battle
If your child is around an area where there has been a report of an infestation, it’s important to remember to not share clothing (this includes going to the mall and trying on new outfits), headwear, sporting goods equipment and other items you or your child use every day (hair care products, etc.). Even hugging people can let the lice attach to your hair. There are also some ways we can protect ourselves naturally from an infestation in the first place. For instance, did you know that peppermint is a natural lice repellent? Head lice do not like the scent. When they smell it, they stay away from it. Using a shampoo or conditioner that is lightly scented with peppermint will provide a natural defense for your hair and head against lice. A little prevention can go a long way. Remember, there’s nothing “super” about these lice. And even if there were, it wouldn’t matter. Mother Nature has given us a little Kryptonite.