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Nits in long thick hair

(48 Posts)
GarthNader Mon 22-Aug-16 09:18:15

Hi,
I have 3 children (DD 3 and 7, DS 5). At the end of the last term they picked up nits and we just can't get rid of them.
We tried using conditioner and the gritty nitty comb but DD7 is a major problem because she has very long, thick and often matted hair. She's a tomboy and has never liked having her hair brushed and it seems to cause her physical pain to brush, worse if we find a knot (which is often because she won't brush daily, or even weekly). Nit combing her hair takes hours of her just crying. Even brushing it before putting in conditioner doesn't work because it manages to knot itself up and then the knots cause her lots of pain when trying to brush and comb through later. I did manage to get her into a bit of daddy/daughter grooming time where I'd sit her down and brush through her hair and she did start to enjoy this so I might try that to get her more used to having her hair done, but dry smooth hair is far easier to brush than using a tiny comb on conditioned hair.
I bought some Full Marks 5 minute solution while my wife and children went away for a week and that worked great for me so I did the whole house when they came back and dozens of them dropped out of my DD7's hair without doing anything but unfortunately they are back again and we've now found out that they don't kill the eggs.
I really don't like to torment her with painful combing every few nights but want to get this sorted. Has anyone got any ideas.
My current thoughts on an approach is to use the Full Marks to kill the ones that are alive now and then see if we can get a combing regime in place but I just don't know how to tackle my eldest.
Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

insan1tyscartching Mon 22-Aug-16 09:28:20

I'd have her hair cut shorter to start with if she is unhappy about having it brushed. I used Hedrin left on for the maximum amount of time which worked for dd. You have to use it three weeks running in my experience to get rid of them but dd only ever had a couple as I combed every week as well.

GarthNader Mon 22-Aug-16 09:36:09

We've brought up having her hair cut but I think she sees her long hair as part of her that shows she's a girl. She's been mistaken for a boy before because of how she dresses and I think her hair makes her feel more comfortable to be who she is.
I forgot to say that we also used Headrin over night, can't remember the name, but it didn't work at all for us. We thought we'd really got it sorted when this Full Marks solution had them falling out on their own but it didn't last sad

SleepFreeZone Mon 22-Aug-16 09:39:10

Thing is she can't have it both ways. She either keeps her long hair and accepts you need to brush it regularly to get rid of the nit eggs. Or have it cut into a more manageable style so the maintenance is less. Those are her options. Or keep the nits of course!

GarthNader Mon 22-Aug-16 09:49:27

Ok. I'd like to try and find a way to get a nit comb through thick hair before doing that to her, if I can.

dementedpixie Mon 22-Aug-16 09:54:17

I don't like the nitty gritty comb as it just rips out dd's hair. Maybe try a different comb to see if she tolerates it better

dementedpixie Mon 22-Aug-16 09:55:16

Try using one of those hair oils as a detangler as they work for dd's hair too

dementedpixie Mon 22-Aug-16 09:57:56

www.chc.org/homedir/faq.cfm - these combs are apparently available on prescription too

OutOfTime Mon 22-Aug-16 10:00:47

My dd sounds like yours especially the hair brushing drama !she also has super thick hair. Thankfully no experience of nits (yet!) but The only thing I've learnt with brushing over the years is regular trims help and brushing is non negotiable every morning. I treat it the same as teeth brushing (which she also hates!). Also lots of conditioner and make sure the brush thoroughly when wet, sectioning it off. Tying it back for sleeping helps but mostly she refuses this. We've got a hair apt next week I'm considering asking if there is anything they can do to thin it out a bit!

TitsTingle Mon 22-Aug-16 10:02:47

I've had the same problem.
All that worked for me was coating it in coconut oil section it then put the timer on my phone and spend ten minutes on each section with a nitty gritty while they watch something on the iPad.
Also straightening it helps make it smoother. But all that really works is persevering with the combing.

TitsTingle Mon 22-Aug-16 10:03:55

Also there are videos on YouTube showing you how to nitcomb properly.

GarthNader Mon 22-Aug-16 10:07:32

That's the exact problem where the nitty gritty comb rips huge clumps of her hair out. I'm not surprised it hurts her.
Detangler oil sounds like a good idea. I'll look that up.
I think that comb looks like the metal one that comes with the Full Marks but I'm not sure. We have a few combs. Two Nitty Gritty combs and some shorter toothed combs from Full Marks.

MovingOnUpMovingOnOut Mon 22-Aug-16 10:12:30

Hedrin 15 min spray and combing every two days does work but you have to be dedicated.

Brush the hair through first and then do the combing out with conditioner. When you brush, if you hold the hair above the tangle while brushing it out it doesn't hurt anywhere near as much. Comb in very small sections.

Let her watch tv or play on an iPad while you do it.

You do need to treat everyone at once and hat and helmets can habour the lice if the infestation is very bad so put those in the freezer or quarantine for a few days if you cannot wash them.

I'm fairly sure Hedrin is meant to be reapplied after a week if more nits or lice are found.

Prevention helps massively so tying back hair and avoid heads touching where possible.

BigginsforPope Mon 22-Aug-16 10:21:47

My DD has very thick, slightly wavy hair and I do feel your pain in regards to gettig rid of nits. DD is now 11 and still seems more prone to getting and keeping them than my other dc.
DD is supposed to brush her hair twice daily however if she has nits she scratches which makes her hair very knotty. This is how I nit comb my dd. I use a nitty gritty comb and orginary conditioner. I start with dry hair which I brush using a tangle teaser and an ordinary hair brush to get all the many knots out. Then dd sits in front of me and I section her hair. Top half in a bun, lower half in a clip, starting from the nape of the neck with approx 2 cm of hair. Apply conditioner to the dry hair and smooth it in. Comb through using a large comb and then a smaller one, then use the nitty gritty wiping it clean every time. Repeat working up the back of the head in small sections.

I find that the nit lotions/sprays/gels don't work on dd because they can't penetrate her hair well enough so I haven't used them for years.

happyinthesunshine Mon 22-Aug-16 10:24:34

Absolutely with you on this topic. My DD has long fine (horribly easy to tangle) hair. After living the nit experience frequently during years 5 & 6 I discovered a conditioner that make life and louse removal easier.
We use copious amounts Loreal herbal essence coconut blue conditioner. I use about 125ml a go , so a big bottle lasts 4 washes. I put her hair up in a clip and let it work for about 10 mins. Using wide tooth comb go through. Then using a medium tooth comb go through, then a small toothed comb until I can use the bug buster kit from the doctor ( available free on prescription ).
This works. And I find the long fine hair is then easy to brush out when dry. If it's kept in a plait it doesn't tangle badly for the next wash.
Another tip that I was given is to spray the hair with hair spray before school or activities. It stops the lice climbing on apparently.
Good luck, I understand the trauma. It's very distressing when your child has sensitive scalp and long tangled hair. flowers

happyinthesunshine Mon 22-Aug-16 10:28:41

I should add DDs hair is very thick, each strand is fine but she has a huge volume of hair to brush through.

Cherylene Mon 22-Aug-16 10:38:32

I would do what others have said;

smother in conditioner (in my experience a cheap one was not good - used l'oriel, but any one that produces very slippery hair will do). Reapply throughout the process as necessary.

use a detangling wide tooth comb then a narrower one then a normal one and then the nit comb

I always found the ones from the pet shop best. This is because they are wide enough to cover a larger area and have long enough teeth. They also make them with comfortable handles which makes the job a hell of a lot easier. Why do nit combs so often have no handles???????

When they go to school, put hair into a HIGH pony tail and plait it with a hair band round the front hair. You will need the thick cheap hair gel from Boots to help with this if you have used very slippery conditioner. The lice will climb aboard, lay eggs under the pony tail or band where it is warm. When the hair is taken out, the eggs will no longer be against the skin and kept warm and die off. You will find them half way down the hair shaft and wonder WTF they are doing there when they have not had lice grin This does not guarantee no headlice, but it sure does slow them down, expecially if the poor child is being reinfected daily.

Short bob with a fringe is the worst hair style for catching lice.

WhoKnowsWhereTheTimeG0es Mon 22-Aug-16 10:43:53

We also had this problem. Does your DD swim regularly? We discovered that switching to swim shampoo transformed the condition of DD's long, tangly hair. Previously you could spend half an hour tangle teasering it and by the time you finished the first side would be knotted again, it was just awful, now it untangles much more easily and doesn't retangle as fast, it has made our lives so much easier and less painful.

GarthNader Mon 22-Aug-16 11:23:22

No, she rarely swims but I'd say that the way her hair is matted, it's similar to how it would be if you went swimming, got out and just left your hair.
The hair happyinthesunshine described sounds exactly like my DD's. Huge volume but fine like angel hair.
I'm not sure we have many hair clips, due to her not being girly in most areas, but I could go and grab some to help.
I don't quite understand the high pony tail and hair band. Do you mean high up the back of her head, and leave a hanging plait then put an alice band on the front of her hair?
I don't think she'd get on well with a short bob. When she was younger my MIL cut her fringe to get hair out of her eyes, against my wishes, and it was terrible. I wanted her hair to get past that length so she can clip it out of the way, which it now is and that's easier for her. I think the weight of her hair now pulls her hair down to make it flatter but in a bob I think it might just frizz out sideways and look like a lampshade.
My wife just spoke to her doctor and they can give us some free strong stuff to kill nits so she wants to go and get that. I think that combing is the most effective remedy, if we just get it done smile
I feel so sorry for her. I don't seem to get more than one or two if any, possibly because of short hair, I don't know. My DS sometimes has them but not many. He has long hair for a boy but still short. My DD3 doesn't seem to get them much at all. It's just DD7 that has huge amounts of them. Maybe the volume of her hair also provides lots of heat and they like that.

Cherylene Mon 22-Aug-16 11:55:31

Yes - high up at the back of her head. And a stretchy fabric Alice band, not the plastic sort.

Combing works very well, but not if they are being constantly reinfected. I would stick to once a week for maintenance. I have a friend whose daughter has lots of allergies so the nit solutions were not good, and too much combing made her head bleed.

Long term a layered style might work better if you can find a good hairdresser. My advice on a bob was NOT to have it. My DDs had really, really straight hair and it looked really cute, but it is definitely 'come hither' for lice wink

GarthNader Mon 22-Aug-16 12:10:46

I thought that was what you meant but wasn't sure smile

While they were at school I wasn't as worried about the treatments not working because of reinfection but now they are off school I was hoping that we'd be able to get rid but it seems not.

Thankfully her head hasn't bled yet but she is very sensitive. I remember when she was very young that strong winds blowing her hair used to upset her scalp.

I sometimes put her hair in a small knot to stop it waving around. I'm not sure what it's called but I gather her hair like a pony tail, put the hair band on and then fold it a few times and put it through the hair band again so it stays together in a small space. I'm not sure how to do a proper bun, which may be better. I'll have to read up on girl's hairstyling :D

insan1tyscartching Mon 22-Aug-16 12:31:36

Some children seem to be more susceptible to head lice I think. Ds2 never got them but ds1 did and dd1 never got them but dd2 did. Ds2 has black hair but ds1 is fair, dd1 was never into close contact with her friends where dd2 is a cuddly child so I think that makes a difference too.
It becomes a problem when parents become aware of where the lice are coming from (and if dd has more than just a couple it will be noticeable) and tell their children to stay away (I've done that myself when I've seen a child whose head was crawling with lice) so it needs sorting before they go back to school really.

MovingOnUpMovingOnOut Mon 22-Aug-16 12:47:01

I wasn't as worried about the treatments not working because of reinfection

And I think we've found the problem. It is not normal to have one or two nits or lice. You need to get rid of all of them. Once they become infested it's so much harder and for children with Afro, curly or long, fine hair where it pulls it is even more unkind.

I am agog that you are only really tackling them because it is the holidays. You need to eradicate them and then keep on top of them and a low level of nits is not normal or OK.

Have you treated everyone in your household at once? Have you changed bedding after treatment? Washed all hats? Quarantined helmets? Have you carefully followed the instructions on the treatments and retreated as per those instructions? Because you need to do all that. And then you need to comb everybody every two days until there are no nits or lice. Then weekly maintenance combing to keep on top of it.

They won't get reinfected if everyone treats them properly. They will get reinfected if you take a half arsed approach to getting rid of them and your children are constantly harbouring lice.

sadie9 Mon 22-Aug-16 12:48:44

Good strong chemicals are the only way to go in my book, especially if the hair is thick and matted. Kids that age won't allow you to comb endlessly for hours every day. You'll be lucky to be allowed to comb once a week.
The over the counter treatments have to be repeated every 3 or 4 days as one application rarely gets them all. It says on the bottles repeat a week later but it needs to be sooner.
Otherwise you keep thinking they are getting re-infected but it's just the original ones haven't gone away.
So elimination with the strong stuff from the chemist and then combing once a week as routine throughout the year. You could get a game on the tablet/phone especially for the combing and see how high can they score...or some such.

GarthNader Mon 22-Aug-16 13:22:49

MovingOnUpMovingOnOut, Yes, we are doing those things. What I meant about the reinfection was that I assumed that we weren't getting rid because she was being reinfected from school, and that still may have been the case. I know that others in her class were infected and have even become infected during the holidays (we've not seen them so nothing to do with us). We also weren't going easy on this during the term time. We were doing conditioner combs every 2-3 days on the whole household for something like the last 4 weeks of school and used headrin a few times during that period too but they wouldn't go away.

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