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No Lice Shampoo for MY Daughter

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Momlogic's Julie: When my daughter got lice, I freaked. In fact, I freaked so much, I even wrote a "lice diary" for this website. After that initial round, the lice were kept at bay for a while. But then we found another one on my daughter's head.

God, no.

We repeated the same process again ... non-toxic lice shampoo, cleaning everything in sight. When she got it for the SECOND time, we repeated the process ... but were beginning to lose faith in the system.

I had resisted prescription lice shampoo because it was so toxic. I had read the story of Jesse, a boy who got leukemia after using lice shampoo. His mom is convinced his illness is related.

Lindane (the key ingredient in lice shampoo) has been banned by the EPA. All uses of this compound have already been banned in at least 52 countries, and its use is restricted or banned in most of Europe.

But I have been told by many people that prescription lice shampoo is the only thing that will kill the lice. The problem is: I'm scared this might kill my child. Am I over-reacting, or should I continue to go the non-toxic route if it comes back a third time?


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91 comments so far | Post a comment now
Been there January 18, 2009, 7:29 AM

Yes, you are overreactting-sorry, call em like I see them. I have two girls, older now in a school system where lice was a constant. They had long hair and we got no where until we got Rx for “Ovide”. Stop wasting your time and putting your child thru hell and treat her! “Jesse’s” mom is just another mom looking for a blame to something that is sad, but happens. Our bodies are not perfect.
When I was a young mom I worried about everything too, but you have to stop that!!!! Wishing you the best!

Anonymous January 18, 2009, 7:47 AM

My three girls got lice from school. I treated them with over the counter products. We washed EVERYTHING in sight that could harber the eggs. We got rid of the problem without prescription medication but it was alot of work washing and combing out the girls long hair. Try some of the old fashioned methodologies like olive oil and mayonnaise. There is tons of information out there and it works.

done that... January 18, 2009, 8:13 AM

I had an outbreak several years ago and we battled it for ever it seemed. I tried the mayonnaise treatment on the second outbreak before I went back to store and got the over the counter version. What I found worked was buying different combs. The plastic ones that come with the shampoo are cheap and my childrens hair was so thick it kept breaking the the teeth on the combs. I bought combs that had metal teeth at CVS and that allowed me to get all the nits successfully. I now know the term “nit picking” to the fullest! It is a laborious process!!!!

HB January 18, 2009, 9:02 AM

hello….when my daughter was 6…she got lice in school….yes i did use the over the counter shampoo….BUT this is what really cures it…you have to spend HOURS going through each strand of hair…you squeeze each nit ..looks like a white sticky tiny thing on the srand of hair…you remove it and place it on a wet paper towel…you will then see it turn dark as it is a tiny unborn egg…it works….you have to remove every single one of these…so new ones dont hatch…we never had another outbreak…i am a grandma now and my “child” is 31 !

good luck!

Susan January 18, 2009, 9:10 AM

Many years ago, my four children got lice from kids at school and by sharing a hairbrush. We used Quell shampoo to get rid of them, washed everything and painstakingly combed every nit out of their heads. It was quite an event. If this happens, short haircuts are advised if they keep getting reinfected. Especially for boys, get the crew cut. Easier to spot and get rid of. For girls, shorter hair is better; kids may even put on someone else’s hat at school, or share a scarf or article of clothing, a brush, even hugging someone else or getting too close.
And all the while, I thought the kids had dandruff! Except it got worse and they were scratching their heads over it. Glad it was only a one time problem.

Heather January 18, 2009, 10:21 AM

An old friend of the family used to swear by rubbing alcohol… and then intense conditioning with Infusium. Fortunately I haven’t had to try it but I’ve heard that the alcohol gives brilliant results.

chris January 18, 2009, 10:22 AM

don’t do it…it not necessary my girls both had lice last year. we finally got rid of it with a VERY good lice comb from Amazon.

Upstatemomof3 January 18, 2009, 10:27 AM

I have had lice twice in my life. Once as a young child and once as a teenager. It is beyond gross. My mom used prescription lice shampoo when I was a kid and it did not work the first or second time - it took three doses to work. When I was a teenager my step-mom bought RID - it worked on the first try. SO, I don’t think it is the prescription shampoo I think it is just the persistence of the louse. I don’t think I would use the prescription if I had any concerns about it. I would just keep staying the course with the non-toxic stuff. Also, just FYI - people say washing everything is a good way to get rid of those buggers but they cannot live off of the human head so if they are coming back it is a reinfestation not because she put her head on a stuffed animal or the carpet where one was lurking. Good Luck.

SJ January 18, 2009, 10:56 AM

My daughters had it really bad, the school nurse told me about Lice Ice. That stuff really really works, its not toxic and safe enough to use everyday. You can mix it with water and spray where ever you think your child has been. Pillow, car seat, places like that. The upside to that is you can only buy it at Walgreens. Good luck!

Kristy Amjad January 18, 2009, 11:26 AM

My daughters had lice about 4 years ago. I spent more than 300.00 on treatments and NONE of them worked, not even the old-fashioned home remedies. Out of desperation, I came up with one of my own. A last resort. My mom and I coated their heads with Vaseline and had them keep it on overnight with a shower cap over their hair. The next morning a good washing with Prell. It was a challenging to get out the Vaseline though. We had to put cornstarch on and let it sit to soak up the residue. It worked!! No more lice. What a relief it was. Try it.

Julie W January 18, 2009, 12:37 PM

A friend found a company that comes to your house and expertly removes the lice. Their remedy had her dousing their hair in olive oil and covering with a shower cap every night for a week or so.

I can’t believe that a a few exposures to the lice shampoo could be that harmful, but if I have the option of olive oil and I am to try it.


Geralyn January 18, 2009, 12:48 PM

I have just survived three rounds of lice on my child….the only thing that works- prescription or not..is making sure that you go through every hair on your childs head and remove all of the nits…I learned this the hard way…it takes HOURS but it is worth it…buy LICE MD, a non toxic treatment….it makes it so easy to see all of the nits and you can use it as often as you like….Good Luck!

Martin January 18, 2009, 2:20 PM

Now they are talking about ‘super lice’ that are resistant to all the approved toxic treatments. I wouldn’t even try with lindane or any other prescription or OTC insecticide.

The key to using non-toxic methods effectively is to be methodical and also frequent enough to interfere with the life cycle of the lice.

Kate January 18, 2009, 2:53 PM

Lice like clean hair. So the problem might not be with your home or with your shampoo. It might be that your daughter, lice-free, keeps going back to the place that harbors the lice: school. Not every parent is vigilant with lice, and not every parent knows exactly what to do when their child has lice, so the child sitting next to your daughter in class could have lots of lice that hop, skip, and jump over to her clean head. You might want to alert your child’s teacher and then put her hair into a tightly braided ponytail so the lice have less surface area to grab on to.

Diane January 18, 2009, 3:09 PM

My 2 daughters had lice and we tried several treatments and cleaning the house to no avail the lice kept coming back until i put the dogs flea shampoo on their hair…it works for Fluffy and the kids.

kristy January 18, 2009, 3:19 PM

I am amazined no one has mentioned tea tree oil. Stuff is amazing. I use it for so many things. If your gut tells you no chemicals. Don’t do it.

concerned mom January 18, 2009, 3:24 PM

Lindane is blackboxed by the FDA with strong warnings to be used with CAUTION on anyone under 110 lbs.

There are many over the counter treatments that are less toxic, and like others advised get a good metal lice comb.

Also would strongly advise NOT to use flea treatments etc. These are pesticides/insecticides and could cause harm to children.

As for the story about Jesse, this is not a Mom looking for something to blame.

My son has permanent neurological damage from lindane which is verified by many EEG’s which show a long list of seizure’s etc.

Please all parents and health care providers, choose the least toxic treatment out there.


Stacey January 18, 2009, 3:25 PM

You can get Quit Nit form a drug store which is an herbal repellant for lice. Good luck!

W.C. January 18, 2009, 3:58 PM

We are from Europe and as kids we were infected once except for my sister who got it twice. My mom soaked my sister’s head in red wine vinegar and put a plastic bag over it. The next day all the dead critters came off with water. She had to wash her hair very good with a strong shampoo, but we never again had lice!This was over 20 years ago! I will do this with my own kids!

trina January 18, 2009, 5:23 PM

it is true that lice are becoming resiliant to the shampoos and treatments. mayonaise and vinegar treatments don’t really get rid of the problem they just sort of smother it or make the lice dormant. to get rid of them you have to remove every single nit in the childs head, clean all the sheets, towels, blankets,brushes and combs. i even suggest spraying the couch, car seats with the spray that comes in a good kit. also the metal combs do work the best and tree tea oil helps make the nits easier to comb out. i work in a school where i had a child tell me mom used raid in her hair to get rid of them. didn’t work they were still crawling around her poor head. had another mom dye her childs hair so you couldn’t notice the nits. one mom would clean the childs hair that came to school but not the younger siblings. if your gonna do it do it right. and put braids or pony tails in those girls long hair


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