Health & Wellness

Lice Remedies Under the Microscope


CRANFORD, NJ - In a recent research study summarized earlier this month, it was reported that over the counter lice treatments are no longer effective in half of the United States. The researcher responsible for these statistics, Kyong S. Yoon, PhD, assistant professor in the Biological Sciences and Environmental Sciences Program at Southern Illinois University, has been gathering samples from all 25 states since 2000 and has identified the gene for pyrethroid pesticide resistance in lice.

While his research is continuing he has thus far concluded that over the counter lice treatments don't work in many cases. Lice is commonly treated by a group of insecticides called pyrethroids, but Yoon notes that lice populations can develop a trio of mutations that make it resistant to pyrethroids.

News of this research is not surprising to local lice remedy businesses who have been treating lice for years. Lisa Rafal, who works from her home base in Scotch Plains, on a mobile basis, adds, “This is something that people in my field have known for years, but the anecdotal evidence wasn’t enough to get people to pay attention.”

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Rafal, owner of NJ Lice Ladyuses a comb and non-toxic product manufactured in NJ, not an insecticide. 

In the article Yoon goes on to say, "The remedies on store shelves aren’t always doing what they’re supposed to do and all prescription lice treatment remedies are of varying levels of toxicity, some may be carcinogenic and they don’t remove the lice eggs or nits from the hair. In contrast, using a product containing dimethicone, a harmless, non-toxic silicone oil, and a good quality nit comb (not often found in drugstores) is a safe and effective way to handle the problem."

Lice Lifters, a franchise company since 2010, opened its Cranford location in 2014. Lice Lifters founder, Michele Barrack, started the company after she and her daughters all had head lice for months and could not get rid of it with the other the counter products. 

Barrack comments, “I knew that there needed to be a safer, more effective, way to get rid of the this pesky problem. I developed the Lice Lifters Treatment, which uses all natural, pesticide free products to remove lice eggs and eliminate all live bugs in one quick treatment."

Lice Lifters has been asked on several occasions to be part of the type of research Yoon conducts to explore the lice remediation process and believes their product to work better than others. 

Barrack adds, "More than 55% of our clients have tried to use the pesticide products before they call us.  Most clients even believed that by using the products, they had gotten rid of lice, only to find out that a month or two later, that the treatment was unsuccessful and the infestation was worse than before.”

Back to school is a popular time for lice to occur and spread, Rafal provides some advice for helping to avoid contact, "Lice actually prefer clean hair but will go into a dirty head as well, but it's not about hygiene. Peppermint and citronella are known to be effective at deterring lice but there is no guaranteed way to prevent it. Girls should wear their hair back when possible and boys should keep their hair neatly trimmed. Children should be taught to avoid head to head contact with friends and not to share personal items like hair brushes and hair accessories or hats/helmets with friends." 


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