As per Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 6 – 12 million head lice infestations occur every year among children of about 3 – 11 years of age. (1) Sharing things or head to head contact with an infected person are the primary causes of head lice infestation.
The primary discomfort caused by head lice is urge to scratch. Constant scratching can lead to open sores and infections in the scalp. And the worst part is that head lice have become resistant to over-the-counter solutions and the pesticides present in them have toxic effect on humans.
If you are searching online for natural treatments for lice, then you might have encountered various recommendations like mayonnaise, tea tree oil or rubbing alcohol. But the most common and highly recommended ones will be mayonnaise.
Mayonnaise for Treating Head lice…? Surprised…? Though some of the studies consider it to be not so effective enough, many parents have experienced positive results by using it.
Can Mayonnaise Really Work in Removing Head lice?
Mayonnaise mainly contains egg yolk, oil, lemon juice and vinegar. All the ingredients are combined and whipped to get a creamy consistency. And this consistency acts as a boon in warding off the infestation.
For Head Lice: The viscosity of mayonnaise suffocates and restricts the breathing of head lice and nymphs. (2 , 3) Nymphs die out of less respiration in no time. However the head lice become drowsy and reach to a state similar to coma. And when you comb, they easily fall off the hair.
For Nits or Head lice Eggs: Sadly, mayonnaise cannot kill the nits because it cannot penetrate into the hard protection layer of the eggs.
So, combing out the nits with a good lice comb is required once the head lice are removed. (4) Or else, as the nits hatch in a few days, by repeating this process twice in a week for 4 weeks can kill the nymphs quickly. As the nymphs are killed before they grow into reproduction age, you can eradicate the infestation completely.
How to Use Mayonnaise to Kill Head Lice?
There are different ways of using mayonnaise. As per our recommendation, it is always better to use mayonnaise in combination with other effective ingredients that can boost up the treatment level.
We have mentioned the methods of using it alone and with other effective ingredients as well. You can choose any one as per your convenience or infestation level to treat the head lice. (5)
Note: For children below 5 years, avoid leaving the application overnight. It is better to leave it only for 5 hours maximum.
- Saturate your hair right from the scalp to the ends with mayonnaise.
- Tie the hair and cover the head with a shower cap.
- Leave it overnight and wash your hair normally in the morning.
- While it is still wet, comb the hair thoroughly to remove the head lice.
- Repeat the process 2 times in a week.
2. Mayonnaise with Coconut Oil
The viscosity of coconut oil suffocates the head lice and makes it harder for them to roam freely. Coconut oil also acts as a repellant against head lice in future.
- Combine mayonnaise and few drops of coconut oil.
- Apply the mixture to the hair right from the scalp to the ends.
- Cover with a shower cap or swimming cap and leave it overnight.
- In the morning, using a blow dryer dry your hair.
- Apply shampoo and leave it for 30 minutes.
- Comb through the hair to remove the head lice.
- Wash the hair normally.
- Repeat the process 3 times in a week.
3. Mayonnaise with Vinegar and Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil is also considered one of the effective treatments for head lice because of its pesticide property. Vinegar contains acetic acid which kills the head lice and dissolves the gum of the nits that helps it to attach the hair shaft.
- In a bowl, mix mayonnaise, 10 drops each of neem oil and tea tree oil.
- Add a dash of vinegar and mix well.
- Apply it onto the hair from the scalp to the ends.
- Leave it on for at least 2 hours.
- Wash the hair thoroughly with shampoo.
- While the hair is still wet, comb the hair to remove the dead lice.
- Repeat the process 2 times in a week.
How Long Should I leave Mayonnaise on The Hair?
Some people may leave the application for 2 – 3 hours. Doctors recommend it to leave the application for at least 8 hours to get effective results. The longer you keep it the better result you will get. But for kids of age less than 5 years, it is recommended to leave the mayonnaise application less than 5 hours.
Can I Leave the Mayonnaise Overnight?
Yes, you can leave it overnight. But some people believe, leaving it overnight can make the head lice active again as the effectiveness of mayonnaise reduces. As there are contradictory statements for this, it is better to try it once. If you are getting any results after leaving overnight, then try again by leaving it only for 8 hours but not less than it.
Which Mayonnaise is Good for treating Head lice?
It is better to use full fat mayonnaise for removing the head lice infestation. Avoid using low-fat mayonnaise as it doesn’t provide the results. The low fat content present in it doesn’t suffocate the head lice and all the hard work goes in vain.
Recommendations & Warnings While Using Mayonnaise
- Don’t use plastic wrap or a plastic bag to cover the head. As they are very toxic and dangerous elements they should not be kept on children’s head.
- Make sure to use only tight-fitting shower cap or a swimming cap.
- While tying the head with shower cap make sure all the hair strands are included without leaving any strand out as the child can suck or chew it. Mayonnaise turns rancid after few hours and toxic to consume.
Tips and Precautions for Head Lice
- Avoid head to head contact with the person having head lice. Educate your children on the same.
- Clean your hair accessories and combs frequently.
- If one person is having head lice, every person in the family should follow the treatment once in a while to prevent the infestation.
- Treat all the furniture and bed sheets regularly to remove any head lice surviving on them.
- Never try on hats or scarves before buying. Once bought, run them through hot water to remove any head lice infestation traces.
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