woman scratching scalp

Q. Two years ago my entire family had a severe case of head lice, including my 4-year-old daughter, 6- and 10-year-old sons and my wife. (I was spared.)

We settled on the Cetaphil method. It worked 100 percent. We didn’t even need to clean the sheets, vacuum the house or wash the slipcovers.

Two years later, all three children caught lice again. Once again, the Cetaphil method worked perfectly. I convinced two friends to try the Cetaphil method and they had 100 percent success.

I have no issues with chemicals. We were just desperate and our pediatrician recommended this method. I URGE anyone with a family lice problem to use it!

A. To treat lice, Cetaphil skin cleanser is applied liberally to the hair and scalp. Use a blow dryer after application. (It will form a hard shell on the hair.) Leave the hardened Cetaphil on the hair overnight and shampoo it out the next morning. All the lice should be dead (Pediatrics, Sept. 2004). The procedure can be repeated a week later, if needed.

In addition to avoiding toxic chemicals, this “shrink-wrap” method that suffocates the lice eliminates the need to comb out the nits by hand, a tedious procedure for both parents and children. Thanks for your testimonial.

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  1. Jenny

    Are the nits supposed to fall off? I did this to my daughter, and the nits didn’t loosen. Are they dead or will they still hatch?

    • Terry Graedon

      They might hatch, but if you repeat the treatment in a week, that should kill any nymphs that have hatched.

  2. Anndi

    Does it have to have coal tar?

  3. CDS

    JCW, I went to a CVS Pharmacy (in NC). I don’t know if you have CVS where you live, but the name on the bottle is “CVS Pharmacy gentle skin cleanser.” It says it’s for all skin types, cleans and softes, Non-irritating. It also says, ” Compare to Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser.”
    My lice was not confirmed, meaning that no one was able to find any on me; but since there had been lice in my building (I work with children) and my head itched all night, I decided to treat myself and my home anyway. I have not itched like that since I did the treatment.
    I looked at a grocery store called Harris Teeter but could only find Cetaphil, not the generic. Keep looking, I hope you get better soon. Keep me posted.

  4. MAA

    You need to make sure the hair is dry otherwise the Cetaphil may rub off. I have spent up to 30 minutes drying long hair. The more you can comb out the faster he hair will dry.

  5. jcw

    whats the name of the generic store brand? All I could find was the cetaphil face cleanser, so I’m curious to know what you used and if the problem is gone. I used the face cleanser last night and nothing happened.

  6. CDS

    To jcw: There is one way to find out if they are comparable. Look at the list of active ingredients and see if they are the same (and in the same order). I bought the generic store brand after checking the ingredients and noting that they were the same. I saved a few dollars.

  7. jcw

    and i would say, maybe sleep on it?

  8. jcw

    i am wondering the same thing. and also, does it matter if you use cetaphil face cleanser? i couldnt find the skin cleanser, wonder if its the same thing?

  9. CDS

    How long does it take for the Cetaphil/blow dryer to form the hard shell? I blew dry for 20 minutes on hot and my scalp couldn’t take any more but there was no hard shell. Did I not do it long enough?

  10. JW

    Another suffocation method is 1/2 to 1 cup of any vegetable cooking oil. Thoroughly soaking the hair and neck (this is messy) – comb or rub in to ensure every hair is coated. Child then sleeps the night with a swimming cap or shower cap on. Comb hair – and if your child can stand it you can comb with a nit comb – but actually they will be dead – just a few washes and they detach and are gone. Cheap, no chemicals and effective – I got this tip from an entomologist.

  11. MAA

    My kids have brought lice home twice in the past year. After RID did not we used the Cetaphil method recommended by our pediatrician. It worked well both times. I much prefer suffocating the lice rather than using harsh chemicals on my children’s hair and scalp.

  12. MAOM7

    I swear by the Denorex method, myself. Lather up the hair with it, put on a plastic cap and do something fun for ten minutes, then rinse and style as usual. Repeat every third day for two weeks. Works every time, does NOT hurt the skin or the child, and kills the lice. This was my solution after RID didn’t work. Our pediatrician was not supportive, but he didn’t have any other ideas, either.

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