Lice Pesticides

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Lice shampoos or lotions usually fall into two camps: 1) chemical treatments (containing pesticides) or 2) natural lice treatments (usually containing essential oils).

Pesticide treatments come in over-the-counter or prescription lice products. These are essentially topical lice drugs that are regulated by the FDA and similar international regulatory agencies as pediculicides. Pediculicide is a fancy name for "insecticide used on lice," and is a chemical that will basically kill head lice by poisoning them. Some of these are neurotoxins similar to pesticides used in house and garden products.

Although the type of pesticides used in chemical lice treatments differs from one product to another, they share some common characteristics.

First, they all kill head lice; but for several classes of pediculicides, their effectiveness has been diminishing due to lice developing resistance to pesticides (which has been well-documented for many years now).

Second, as regulated pesticide products, they are required by the FDA to publish benefits and risks on their warning labels.

Third, as is the case with suffocation products and herbal remedies for lice, lice pesticides have a tougher time penetrating the lice eggs, also called nits. The low efficacy in killing lice eggs means the head-lice problem will probably continue as soon as the nits hatch, requiring additional applications of the pesticide products. That is in contrast to heated-air treatments by the AirAllé™ device, which kills lice and 99.2 percent of lice eggs in a single treatment.


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