How to treat nits the natural way
This post has come out of many people contacting me during recent times asking for a way to treat nits naturally. They are time poor and need a solution - fast! They don't want to use the harsh chemicals. They don't want to put up with the terrible smell and the fumes going in their eyes - let alone subject their child to the same treatment. They know that I provide a variety of essential oil solutions for many issues so they're wondering if I can offer the same with the nits problem. The answer - of course I can. Here is the solution you've been looking for....
Step 1 - Get everything in the wash
Gather up the child's bedding, towels and other bed items (cuddle toys etc) and put in a hot wash in the washing machine. Add a couple of drops of eucalyptus and/or tea tree essential oils to the fabric softener section of the washing machine, along with some vinegar if you don't already make your own fabric softener. For extra reassurance, put anything you can into the dryer afterwards on the 'iron dry' setting to add an extra heat cycle to the cleaning process to ensure all lice are killed. You can vacuum any carpeted areas including fabric couches as well at this stage.
Step 2 - Kill the mature live nits in the hair
This is done in one of two ways:
- The most natural way is using your regular conditioner to suffocate the nits in the hair. Soak the hair down to the scalp with the conditioner and leave it on for about 15mins or so (use a shower cap to stop it spreading to couches or chairs). The suffocates the nits so they release their grip on the hair. Once the time is up use a fine nit comb to brush all the hair out and remove all the suffocated nits.
- The less natural way is with a treatment mix from a pharmacy or supermarket that is left on the hair for 10-20mins. Reassure your child that the itching should stop immediately after this treatment as the nits should be dead. Follow the treatment up with a regular shampoo and then rinse that out. Cover the hair with conditioner next and massage deeply into the hair. Turn the shower off and use a comb (preferably a fine comb designed for removing nits from hair) to comb out the hair. You should be able to see small black dots in the white of the conditioner - show these to your child to show them that the nits are dead and being removed from their hair.
Step 3 - Repairing the scalp
Once the nits have been removed it's time to repair any damage done to the scalp from the itching and scratching your child has been doing so far. We do this for two reasons - one is that children will continue scratching because their scalp still feels itchy from the damage done to it already and two, we can continue treating any remaining eggs in the hair while we take care of the scalp.
To repair the scalp I recommend a generous dose of our hair and scalp oil but changing up the essential oils to suit their purpose. I would use Eucalyptus, Tea Tree, Lemon and Lavender (or any combination of these that you have on hand) and adapting the usual base oils to whatever you have on hand (if you only have Olive Oil in the pantry, this treatment oil can be made with that as a base and adding the necessary essential oils. The full recipe is available in our bank of free recipes here on this website.
Step 4 - Remove the eggs from the hair
Nits attach their eggs to the hair follicles usually close to the root and the scalp. Here they receive the perfect conditions of moisture and warmth. They are tricky to remove because of the 'glue' that nits use to attach them to our hair. Vinegar can dissolve that glue. Make up a mix of vinegar and some Eucalyptus or Tea Tree essential oils. To relatively dry hair apply this mix generously around the root area and leave for at least 10 minutes. Then shampoo and condition the hair as normal and brush out the hair with a nit comb. This step doesn't have to be done on the same day as steps 1-3 if your child has had enough of the treatment so far.
Step 5 - Repeating treatment to remove live nits
Keep an eye on the hair - every couple of days check it for signs of eggs and most importantly check how often your child is scratching their head. If they start scratching again 3-7 days after your initial treatment, it may mean that some eggs on their hair have hatched and are causing them to feel itchy again. It is now time to repeat step 2 again to remove any nits that have hatched. You can also repeat steps 1 and 3 afterwards if you desire.
Step 6 - Monitor
You're going to have to remain "alert but not alarmed" for the next couple of weeks. If your child starts scratching their head or complaining about an itchy head again, it's time to start the process again. Sit with your child while watching TV and check their hair occasionally. When brushing their hair daily check the roots of the hair around the face and behind the ears for any signs of eggs remaining. If you'd rather just retreat every 7 days for 2-3 weeks you can do that instead.