Before people became aware of the very real dangers of using pesticides to treat lice infestations, and back when people erroneously believed that lice could transmit disease, many people relied upon pesticides to treat lice infestations. Now, people recognize that pesticides are toxins and that their routine use in lice removal means exposing people to unnecessary dangers. Furthermore, there is mounting evidence that lice have grown resistant to the pesticides most commonly used in lice-removal treatments.
However, pesticides are not the only historic lice treatment that has been proven to be dangerous to those being treated. Among the dangerous substances that have been used to treat lice are: gasoline, kerosene, and flea and tick shampoo. Not only have these substances never been proven to be effective, they are also tremendously dangerous.
Other old school treatment methods have not proven to be dangerous, but have involved significant mess without a resulting pay-off in lice-removal. This includes the application of products believed to smother the lice prior to them being removed. These products include: mayonnaise, cooking oil, and Vaseline (petroleum jelly). While these products may not be toxic, they can be very difficult to remove from the hair. Head lice can also hold their breath for more than two hours. This makes it difficult to reach the desired effect from these products. That does not mean that the use of some oils to help hair slide more easily through a nit comb is a bad idea; however, it is not necessary to use thick products, like Vaseline or mayonnaise, in order to smother lice to make them easier to remove. Oils, including some natural oils that might deter reinfestation, can serve the same function without creating the same removal problems.
Another method of lice treatment that was common, especially when people were crowded together in conditions that made avoiding head-to-head contact impossible, such as jails, prisons, or when confined during slavery, was the shaving of heads. Lice require hair to live in, and buzzing hair to the scalp and keeping it that length could be an effective way of ending or preventing head lice infestations.
What is truly fascinating is that really old school lice treatments focused on the same approach that has proven effective in modern times; the use of lice combs to remove lice and nits. Lice combs have been found in societies as old as ancient Egypt. In fact, they have even found preserved lice on mummies in Egypt, Israel, and South America. While it is clear our ancestors struggled with lice, the presence of lice combs suggests that even ancient Egyptians realized that the only sure means of treating lice involved removing all nits and lice from people’s heads. Lice Tech N.J. believes that safe non-toxic lice removal is the only way to ensure your family’s safety.