Despite what you see in advertisements, lice-killing chemicals and pesticides are not very good at killing lice. If anything, they can make the lice become resistant and harder to defeat. The more you apply these ‘treatments’ the worse the infestation becomes.
A better option is using a lice comb.
Lice combs are fairly effective but you have to use the right combine technique to get all the lice and nits out. They are also tedious to use – you need to comb repeatedly for hours at a time.
Another alternative if you or your child has head lice is to get a lice treatment at a salon which can cost well over £100.
Most salons use a device that blows warm air onto your hair and scalp to dehydrate and kill the lice. They then use a lice comb to remove the dead eggs and lice. The treatment is very effective.
But you can replicate it at home using a hair dryer, such as Parlux or ghd hair dryers.
Hot air for head lice
Researchers have looked at many different methods of killing head lice. They have found that the most effective is using hot air from a device such as a blow dryer.
In one study, warm air blown directly into the hair killed up to 98% of nits and over 80% of lice.
So yes, a hair dryer can kill lice. The science behind it is pretty simple.
The combination of heat and fast-blowing air dehydrates the lice and nits, causing them to die. The best part is that you only need to repeat the treatment a few times to completely get rid of the lice.
This is unlike conventional treatments that struggle to kill all the eggs, causing a persistent recurrence of lice even after treatment.
To get the best results, here’s how to use a hair dryer to successfully kill lice. These tips apply to both adults and children.
1. Wash your hair
Start by washing your hair with hot water. If you have a lice shampoo, use it. Neem shampoo also works great against lice and their eggs.
This will help remove the lice on the surface. But no matter how much you scrub your hair, you won’t get everything out. The eggs are especially difficult to get rid of.
2. Blow dry for 30 minutes
Pat-dry your hair and then sit on a comfortable chair. You are going to be there for a while.
If you are treating your kid, make sure they are comfortable. They can watch TV or read a book as you fight the little bugs.
Take a handheld hair dryer – a bonnet hair dryer doesn’t work as well – and set the heat to medium or high.
Your hair will have to take some beating but it’s only for a few days so the damage won’t be that much.
You can also just use the low heat setting if it’s the most comfortable. But make sure the air speed is at the highest setting.
Work on your hair in sections, bringing the hair dryer as close to your hair and scalp as you comfortably can. You want the nits and lice to get a full blast of hot air. That’s what’s going to dehydrate them quickly.
Do it in small sections to ensure that you blow dry thoroughly. If your hair dryer has a concentrator nozzle, use it. Highly targeted blow drying works best especially for nits hidden deep inside the hair and scalp.
Keep blow drying until you have covered every inch of your hair and scalp.
3. Use a lice comb
A hair dryer doesn’t blow the lice and eggs out of the hair. It just kills them.
So after you are finished, your hair will be full of dead critters and eggs. Use a lice comb to remove as many as you can.
4. Wash your hair
After thoroughly combing your hair, wash it one more time to remove all lice and eggs. Use a lice or neem shampoo to kill any that have been left behind.
After washing your hair, you can also apply a homemade lice remedy like apple cider vinegar to your hair. This ensures that the few that remained are gone.
5. Blow dry for at least a week
A hair dryer doesn’t get everything the first time. To make it 100% effective and to prevent recurrence, continue the blow drying routine every day for at least a week.
When you no longer see any lice or nits in the hair, you can stop the treatment. But keep checking regularly just in case.