Does Lice Shampoo Work?

Does Lice Shampoo Work?

For parents treating their child with lice, it can be overwhelming to carefully select a lice shampoo, only to discover that it doesn’t work. At Fresh Heads Lice Removal, we often talk to parents who tell us that they tried using lice shampoo on their child, and it either didn’t kill the lice, or the lice returned. These parents express frustration over wasting time and money using a product that they feel made false claims of effectiveness.

There can be many reasons for a lice treatment to not be effective, so we’ll take a look at the possible reasons. It’s important for parents to realize that not all lice treatments are created equally. Unfortunately, many products boast claims that are unscientific at best, and downright dishonest at worst.

Traditional Lice Treatments

Traditional lice shampoos face challenges to their effectiveness due to the room for error in clinical trials. Many also face the risk of making false claims.

Room for Error in Clinical Trials

Many times, during the testing for a lice shampoo’s efficacy, the lice are placed into a petri dish with the product. The reduces the accuracy of the test, since the lice are no longer in their natural environment. They have been taken away from their source of food, and can no longer cling to strands of hair.

When the trials are conducted with people, many times the trial is not structured to follow up with them. The participants use the shampoo, state if it worked, and then leave. No one comes back to them weeks later to find out if the lice came back.

False Claims of Being “Pesticide-Free”

Head louse treatments are referred to as ‘pediculicides’ because they kill lice, but it is important to remember that lice are both insects and pests. This means that if a traditional lice shampoo effectively kills lice, it contains an insecticide or pesticide.

Understanding these distinctions is important as you select a lice treatment for your child. Don’t be fooled by lice shampoos that make false claims of being “pesticide free” or “insecticide free” on their labels.

Homeopathic Lice Treatments

Homeopathic lice shampoos face challenges to their efficacy due to the fact that they are not subject to testing by the FDA, and that they have ineffective modes of introduction.

Exemption from FDA Testing

Homeopathic lice shampoos make claims to “kill lice naturally” using plant extracts or other naturally occurring compounds. These products are marketed differently and not subject to the same FDA approval process. Because of this, many of these lice treatments are never even tested on lice in the formulation offered for sale.

Ineffective Modes of Introduction

Another common reason for a homeopathic lice treatment to not work is its strength and mode of introduction. To be effective, active ingredients would need to either be absorbed through the exoskeleton the louse or must be eaten to be toxic to the louse. It’s possible that in a homeopathic lice shampoo, the active ingredients wouldn’t retain its insecticidal activity after being rinsed off because it wouldn’t be in contact with the lice long enough to be toxic to them. It is also unlikely that lice would ingest anything that did not come from the blood of its host.

Safe and Effective Lice Treatment

Selecting an effective lice treatment for your child can be overwhelming. We pride ourselves on being a lice service that your family can rely on to help you safely diagnose, treat, or prevent a full-blown lice infestation.

We are committed to safely and quickly removing head lice so your child can return to normal life as soon as possible. We help you select the most effective lice treatment option for your child so that we can help get your child the relief they need at an affordable price. If your child’s lice treatment is not working, contact us today—we’d love to help!


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