Lice: Can They Be Treated With Mayonnaise Or Oil? Experts Reveal

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Have lice been bothering your family lately? You are not alone. Professionals in New York and surrounding areas say they’ve seen an unfortunate increase in outbreaks of these sticky insects that live in hair.
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“There was a resurgence of lice last year. But this year it’s been worse than ever,” Adrian Picheny, of the New York City Lice Treatment Center, told Gothamist in late December.

So what should a parent do when their child brings home lice? Many turn to strange treatments, such as dipping their child’s head in mayonnaise or vinegar or washing their hair with olive oil.

But do these spices really rid hair of lice? See what health professionals say are the best treatments.

Olive oil

Although the CDC states that it has “no clear scientific evidence” that olive oil is an effective treatment for head lice, some medical experts and health departments are in favor.

The Barron Area School District in Wisconsin published a lice guide for parents that details an olive oil treatment that should be repeated every four days. Olive oil can suffocate and kill lice. Users should wear a shower cap overnight to suffocate the lice, which can survive without breathing for hours.

The oil also helps remove lice eggs from the hair, experts add. White vinegar can go a long way in breaking down the glue that a female louse uses to lay her eggs. For its part, the Gibson County, Indiana Health Department has instructed that the use of olive oil should coincide with a three-week life cycle of lice. The organization recommends using olive oil on days one, two, three, nine, 13, 17 and 21.

Mayonnaise

Like olive oil, the CDC can’t say mayonnaise has been proven to kill lice, but experts say it can be helpful because thick, jelly-like substances clog the holes where lice breathe.

They suggest applying it overnight and putting it on with a shower cap before washing it off the next morning and starting the process again a week later. According to the pediatrician, petroleum jelly or styling gel also works.

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