Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Ordinary conditioner removes head lice eggs as effectively as special products

Date:
February 25, 2014
Source:
Entomological Society of America
Summary:
Some shampoos and conditioners that contain chemicals or special oils are marketed as nit-removal products for head lice eggs. However, new research shows that ordinary hair conditioner is just as effective. Eggs from head lice, also called nits, are incredibly difficult to remove. Female lice lay eggs directly onto strands of hair, and they cement them in place with a glue-like substance, making them hard to get rid of. In fact, the eggs are glued down so strongly that they will stay in place even after hair has been treated with pediculicides -- substances used to kill lice.

This shows an egg from a head louse, Pediculus humanus capitis, cemented to a human hair.
Credit: Entomological Society of America

Eggs from head lice, also called nits, are incredibly difficult to remove. Female lice lay eggs directly onto strands of hair, and they cement them in place with a glue-like substance, making them hard to get rid of. In fact, the eggs are glued down so strongly that they will stay in place even after hair has been treated with pediculicides -- substances used to kill lice.

Related Articles


Some shampoos and conditioners that contain chemicals or special oils are marketed as nit-removal products. However, new research just published in the Journal of Medical Entomology shows that ordinary hair conditioner is just as effective.

In an article called "Efficacy of Products to Remove Eggs of Pediculus humanus capitis (Phthiraptera: Pediculidae) From the Human Hair," scientists from Belgium gathered 605 hairs from six different children. Each hair had a single nit attached to it. Approximately 14% of the eggshells contained a dead egg, whereas the rest were empty.

They then tried to remove the eggs and tested the amount of force needed to do so. They found that nits on the hairs that were left completely untreated were the most difficult to remove. Eggs on hairs that had been soaked in deionized water were much easier to remove, as were the eggs on hairs that had been treated with ordinary hair conditioner and with products specifically marketed for the purpose of nit removal.

However, they found no significant differences between the ordinary conditioners and the special nit-removal products. In all cases, less force was required to remove the nits after the hair had been treated, but the effectiveness of the products was essentially the same.

"There were no significant differences in measured forces between the ordinary conditioner and the commercial nit removal product," the authors write. "The commercial nit removal products tested in the current study do not seem to have an additional effect."

The authors hypothesize that the deionized water was effective because it acts as a lubricant, so less friction is needed to remove the nits from the hairs. The same goes for the conditioners.

"Treatment with conditioner reduces the coefficient of friction of undamaged and damaged hair," they write. "As a consequence, conditioners will facilitate nit removal."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Entomological Society of America. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Lapeere, Hilde; Brochez, Lieve; Vander Stichele, Robert H.; Remon, Jean-Paul; Lambert, Jo; Leybaert, Luc. Efficacy of Products to Remove Eggs of Pediculus humanus capitis (Phthiraptera: Pediculidae) From the Human Hair. Journal of Medical Entomology, February 2014 DOI: 10.1603/ME13106

Cite This Page:

Entomological Society of America. "Ordinary conditioner removes head lice eggs as effectively as special products." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 February 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140225143941.htm>.
Entomological Society of America. (2014, February 25). Ordinary conditioner removes head lice eggs as effectively as special products. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140225143941.htm
Entomological Society of America. "Ordinary conditioner removes head lice eggs as effectively as special products." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140225143941.htm (accessed October 24, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, October 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Breakfast Debate: To Eat Or Not To Eat?

Breakfast Debate: To Eat Or Not To Eat?

Newsy (Oct. 23, 2014) Conflicting studies published in the same week re-ignited the debate over whether we should be eating breakfast. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Fears Keep Guinea Hospitals Empty

Ebola Fears Keep Guinea Hospitals Empty

AP (Oct. 23, 2014) Fears of Ebola are keeping doctors and patients alike away from hospitals in the West African nation of Guinea. (Oct. 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Despite Rising Death Toll, Many Survive Ebola

Despite Rising Death Toll, Many Survive Ebola

AP (Oct. 23, 2014) The family of a Dallas nurse infected with Ebola in the US says doctors can no longer detect the virus in her. Despite the mounting death toll in West Africa, there are survivors there too. (Oct. 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Orthodontist Mom Jennifer Salzer on the Best Time for Braces

Orthodontist Mom Jennifer Salzer on the Best Time for Braces

Working Mother (Oct. 22, 2014) Is your child ready? Video provided by Working Mother
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins