Head Lice, Part 2

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by emotionallybankrupt, Dec 23, 2009.

  1. emotionallybankrupt

    emotionallybankrupt New Member

    About a month ago, I got a lot of good feedback from you about how to handle a head lice problem without the harsh chemicals. The only problem was that I had already used the over-the-counter chemical treatment before I started asking questions.

    Now we can't get over the after-effects. No lice :) but the scalp irritation, itching, and flaking just won't stop and are possibly more bothersome for her than the lice were before. She's always had sensitive, eczema skin, which is all the more reason the chemicals were a horrible idea for her. I went back to her normal shampoo, thinking that trying anything new was probably a bad idea, but this is getting worse, and I have to do something.

    Really. Absolutely no lice or nits. I've been a compulsive checker since the itching has gotten so bad.

    I know there are a variety of shampoos out there to help with itchy scalp (and there was a thread about that about the same time as my nit thread), but I wonder if any of you have experienced this and may have a specific recommendation based on what I know caused the problem. Thanks!
  2. Lothlorien

    Lothlorien Active Member Staff Member

    No lice problems, here, but I have the itchy dry scalp and posted about it a while ago. The things that have helped are Scalpicin with hydrocortisone, Nizoral (but only occasionally, because it's murder on your hair) and oil treatments (particularly plain mayonaise, but I'm going to buy Cholesterol, which you can find where the sell hair products for Af/Americans in the store. I don't mind the mayonaise, but the smell of it gets to me after a while. Put a cap or a plastic bag with a clip over the hair so that it protects your clothing. It washes out with regular shampoo.

    My problem hasn't completely resolved, but it's better than it was.
  3. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Take some olive oil and get it warm. Not hot, but not cold. gently apply it to the scalp while her hair is damp (but not freshly washed). Gently work it into the scalp. If her hair is long don't worry about getting it all oil covered. You want the scalp oil covered.

    Then let it sit for 5 minutes, rinse, shampoo, rinse and repeat shampoo if needed.

    If at all possible do NOT wash her hair daily.

    Wiz used to get a head full of what looked like cradle cap but was eczema. I finally got some of the volumizing shampoo that has dimethicone in it (used the beauty supply store version of the stuff). I would wash his hair, rinse, lather again and let it sit for 10 minutes. then I would put conditioner on his head (same brand) and let it sit for 10 minutes.

    The products in the shampoo cleared it up in less than a month. I had done all sorts of prescription and home remedy things and this is the only one that worked.

    For the angry scalp after teh chemical treatment, you might consider applying cortisone cream to her scalp. Part the hair, put it on the scalp that you see, make a new part, etc... until the head is treated.

    I am sorry it has irritated her skin so much.
  4. emotionallybankrupt

    emotionallybankrupt New Member

    Thanks for the feedback. It sounds like the most benign of the ideas would be the olive oil. I can't imagine there would be anything to react to there, and her skin is obviously very reactive. I sure wish I had some olive oil. I'm going to brave the grocery store on Christmas Eve to get olive oil. THIS, Susie, is trust! Does the olive oil give relief on the first treatment if it's going to work? I'm wondering how much of that I should try before moving to step #2.

    I'm thinking the Scalpicin maybe should be the next try, since it has the hydrocortisone in it. Then, I'll move to the other products if we haven't solved the problem.

    We haven't been washing every day, because of the dry skin issue, but over all everything was under control until we got on the Nix roller coaster.:itching:

    Susie, do you have a brand name to recommend on the shampoo, or just to look for the dimethicone as the active ingredient?

    By the way, I wish I could stomach the mayo idea, because that too would be a very benign treatment, but I absolutely HATE mayo--smell, taste, everything about it! Are you sure chocolate wouldn't be a possibility? We could console ourselves with the treatment leftovers! :bigsmile:
  5. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    A herbal additive you could use with the olive oil, as long as she isn't going to react to it, is rosemary oil. You would need to dilute it in the olive oil. Essential oil of rosemary is one of the cheaper essential oils. For a very sensitive scalp I would only add about five drops to about 50 ml olive oil. The recipes I have say to ad a lot more, about 10 ml in 50 ml, but I think that's way too much. Five drops will smell nice but also works to reduce inflammation and stimulate hair follicles (allegedly). I've used a rosemary oil/almond oil rub on husband's head. Olive oil is good but it has a stronger odour. Almond oil is also more penetrating. Macadamia oil is also good but not as penetrating as almond oil. When I say "penetrating" - I am referrin to viscosity. You need a lihter viscosity oil here if you can get it, and for sensitive skin it should be vegetable-based. Mineral-based products tend to be very drying on sensitive skin, which is why I stopped using baby oil on my kids and switched to a more standard cooking oil. Not only is it healthier, it's also a lot cheaper!

    I hope you can help her. I agree, those chemical nit shampoos were not sold to make your scalp feel better, their main aim is to kill the nits and lice. And it often takes strong chemicals to do that.

  6. emotionallybankrupt

    emotionallybankrupt New Member

    Thanks, Marg. I'll add rosemary oil to the shopping list for tomorrow.
  7. GoingNorth

    GoingNorth Crazy Cat Lady

    When I was growing up, we used vegetable shortening for itchy scalps (and other places). It goes on easier and stays put.

    Nowadays I use "light" olive oil for itchy places. There's no need to buy "gourmet" olive oil or extra virgin oil. Whatever is cheapest is fine.

    The light oil is soothing, is absorbed well, and has very little odor
  8. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Agreed, GN. Vegetable oil in any form. Like the vinegar I use in the laundry, the cheapest and simplest is generally the best. Save the expensive stuff for the salad.

    Be careful with the rosemary oil, make sure it says "essential oil" and not "perfumed oil" or "massage oil". Although massage oil would be OK, but it's usually a sing they've diluted it, and you don't know what with. Or sometimes it's a substitute. Mostly though, they do this with the more expensive essential oils like rose oil. Lavender oil and rosemary oil are among the cheapest essential oils (so is ti-tree, or melaleuca, and eucalyptus oil). Actually, ti-tree oil would also be really good in the mix - added on its own or with rosemary oil, ti-tree reduces inflammation, is antifungal and mildly antiseptic. It's also sold in Australia as a natural treatment for head lice although in my experience it won't work well enough, we were dabbing it on difficult child 3's head for months and he caught head lice while we were treating him for an ongoing scalp wound.

  9. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I prefer olive oil but have used whatever oil is on hand. I would not make a special trip to get olive oil unless I was out of oil totally. Solid vegetable shortening is also fine, but it is harder to wash out. With our hair it takes Dawn to get veg shortening out. Not so for oil.

    I think the shampoo we used was call vavoom or the generic version of it (problem generic version cause I am cheap cheap cheap).

    You may want to do that as a last resort though. You can get an ointment made by Monistat that is called chafe relief ointment (or cream, I forget which - it is the same thing). It is a cream made of dimethicone and it might work instead of the shampoo. Monistat Soothing Care
    Chafing Relief Powder-Gel is the name and it is $8 for a tube on drugstore.com. I would either dab the stuff on her scalp or mix it with shampoo, just to try.

    What you might try is to get some of the generic gas drops for babies. They are simethicone. Add a few droppers to whatever shampoo she does not react to. Then use it the way I suggested. I think it would be less likely to irritate her further than the volumizing shampoo.

    The drops are sold with antacids in the pharmacy section under the name mylicon, gas x, little tummies, etc.... There are generic versions.

    I hope this or someone else's suggestion works.

    Oh, if the skin is really irritated, like a chemical burn, you might try some milk of magnesia or even a paste of baking soda and water on it. Not sure what it will do to her hair, but if it is sort of a chemical burn it might help some.

    Mixing oatmeal and water to make a sort of mask for her scalp might also help. It is great for irritated skin elsewhere (I just had a nasty reaction to a new "improved" version of my deodorant and sat with a paste of oatmeal and water on them for a few minutes several times and by the 4th treatment it was pretty much gone.