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Super Lice Treatment OTC Resistance Head to Home

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Last updated 06/28/2023

A new drug was approved by the FDA in 2020 due to an increase apparently during the pandemic. Xeglyze is a formulated lotion that kills head lice eggs. Super Lice Treatment learn more.

Your child came home with head lice. You know you have to treat this pronto. But should you turn to over the counter, natural remedies or your pediatrician? What is the latest in effective treatment options?

Head lice aren’t particular about which head they make home. They can plague any race, religion or social class. Although it’s an embarrassment head lice are not your child’s fault.

Medicated shampoos generally work. However, reports are that lice are becoming resistant to these. If not treated quickly and correctly the first time, lice continue to lay eggs and multiply.

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What are Super Lice?

Well, they aren’t superheroes of the lice family but regular head lice. However, symptoms and risk factors are the same. Traditional over-the-counter products containing certain active ingredients have been used over the years.

These are chemicals that have been used to kill head lice. A prescription is not needed, and products are available at your local pharmacy or drug store. Further, the lice have a genetic mutation that creates a resistance to otc treatments.

As a result, overtreatment and misdiagnosis have adapted lice with genetic twist. Parasites having built this resistance are referred to as super lice. To sum up, they are identified by this fact that traditional treatments won’t kill them.

After trying a couple treatments and lice are still multiplying, they could be super lice. That is to say, they have built a resistance to the treatments you have tried.

Lice Study in England

Avoiding dangerous chemical pesticides including Malathion and Pyrethoids for natural may be a consideration. These can be dangerous for school age children because they affect the kid’s nervous system in addition to the lice. The biggest draw for parents is the belief products are fastest, cheapest, most effective and a single application.

Lice combs were used by researchers to collect hundreds of lice from children. As a result, 3000 lice from elementary schools across Wales were taken. Over the counter topical applications were done to treat lice testing their resistance of the chemicals.

The findings were 80 percent of the lice observed had a resistance to the treatment. Thus, four out of five head lice showed resistant to regular over-the-counter treatments.

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Super Lice Treatment Facts

It is recommended to treat head lice on the persons diagnosed with an active infestation. This is when live (crawling) lice have been observed. Likewise, the complete household and others who had close contact should be checked.

Anyone who has live lice on their scalp should also be treated. Some experts say prophylactic treatment is important for those sharing the same bed with an infected person. In conclusion, all infested individuals in the home and close contacts should be treated at the same time.

Considering buying an over-the-counter product and repeating the application you could be better off seeking your pediatrician’s advice. On the other hand, prescriptions could cost more and not always covered by health insurance. So, check your coverage first before scheduling an appointment.

Applications can vary, understand what is required. Most importantly, read instructions carefully for the product you have chosen. Know the time in between applications if repeating.

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What are Pediculicides?

This is a medication given to treat head lice. Pediculicides include neurotoxin (chemical to alter the structure or function of the nervous system) which paralyzes then kills the parasite. Due to the side effects of these medicines, they are prescribed less frequently.

What are Ovicidal?

Ovicidal is a chemical to kill the eggs of insects or mites. In order for a product to kill the eggs of lice it requires to be listed as an ovicidal.

FDA Approved Treatments

Head lice treatments that are FDA approved include nonprescription and prescription drugs. These contain ingredients to repel, stun or kill live lice.

These treatments are:

  • Shampoos
  • Conditioners
  • Lotion products

FDA approved over-the-counter lice treatments contain these active ingredients:

  • Permethrin 1% lotion
  • Pyrethrins
  • Piperonyl butoxide

Further, some are available in kits along with a small, fine-tooth comb. Lice removal combs or similar devices employed to destroy lice and nits can be purchased separately. Many of these products can’t be applied to children younger than age two. So, read the product label carefully.

Inform your health care provider or your pharmacist about your child’s age and weight when inquiring on a treatment. Most importantly, treatments should be performed on children with an adult’s direct supervision.

Prescriptions to Treat Head Lice

These are only available as a prescription from your doctor:

  • Benzyl alcohol 3%
  • Ivermectin 0.5% lotion
  • Malathion 0.5%
  • Spinosad 0.9% suspension

Consult your doctor about any concerns before using these medications.

Super Lice Treatment Essential Oils

There is no regulation on essential oils by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) and they usually just repel the insect. Certain oils shouldn’t be used on young children, pregnant or nursing mothers. So, check for any contradictions first.

Some oils such as tea tree can cause skin irritation or allergic reactions. Therefore, do a patch test first before applying to the scalp. And wait 24 hours for any reaction to possibly occur.


Citronella is actually a tall grass from Sri Lanka and used in many insect repellants. According to Amrita Aromatherapy it actually kills head lice when put on your scalp. To sum up, it has a pleasant in vigorous citrus fragrance. And with some this herb may cause contact dermatitis on the skin.

To use for head lice:

  • Place 2% of citronella essential oil in carrier oil or an unscented skin care product
  • Massage this combination onto the scalp
  • Let this sit for at least an hour
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Ylang Ylang

Ylang ylang oil is produced from the flowers of the herb cananga odorata genuina. Further, it has a very sweet scent. This can be combined with other fragrances to make a spray for the scalp.

The essential oil has insecticidal properties that aid in killing head lice. Also, as an anti-inflammatory it helps diminish redness of the scalp caused by the infestation.

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From the mint family has a powerful somewhat spicy scent to deter head lice. Read safety precautions when using peppermint. In short, herb is widely recognized. Drops should be added to carrier oil.


Another mint cousin, spearmint is anti-fungal and antibacterial, and is effective against lice. It is mainly produced in the US. Likewise, it contains menthol to cool itching caused by this parasite.

Tea Tree (aka Melaleuca)

This herb is used to fight bacterial, viral and fungal infectious organisms. So, it is used in a wide range of products. Tea tree has a potent antiseptic smell. It can be used to treat bug bites.

Head Lice Removal Services

To avoid the headache, you could consider this option. Above all this is a quick, safe and easy treatment. Head lice removal services utilize a device that applies microprocessor controlled heated air.

The scalp is examined by a clinician. This includes 30 minutes utilizing the device to kill and remove lice. In short, there is a one hour minimum.

Thirty to sixty minutes may be spent combing out the dead lice and eggs. If additional combing is required, it is billed in 15-minute increments. After that an oil application could be applied.

Services are FDA-cleared, and pediatrician approved. Clinical studies have been performed on these services.

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To Prevent Re-Infestation

Other measures can be added with the pharmacologic treatment. However, these are not generally required to get rid of the head lice infestation.

Doing the Laundry

It’s a good decision to wash everything you can. It can’t hurt right? And this includes items from the entire household.

Clean items worn or used by the infested individual within the two days just before treatment began. Hats, grooming tools and towels that have had contact with the infested person’s hair should not be shared. Some things can be machine washed and dried. So, utilize the hot water and hot air cycles.

Heat exposure of five minutes of temperatures higher than 53.5C (128.3F) will kill lice and eggs. Items that can’t be thrown in your wash dry clean or enclose in a plastic bag for two weeks. Certainly, all those stuffed animals can be washed too. It will be time consuming but worth it for your comfort and to keep lice away.

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Do Daily Head Checks

Once you get rid of those nasty buggers keep them gone for good. Use a nit comb once a day on your child’s head to check for lice. Above all, wet the hair first to stop the lice dead in their tracks.

The wet method also makes it easier for you to spot and remove lice. After that, two weeks without observing an egg should mean it’s all good.


Vacuuming furniture and floors can take away hairs, including nits that have fallen from the infested person. To prevent extended infestation vacuum upholstery, carpets and drapes. In short, this is essential when battling head lice. Don’t forget to remove the vacuum bag outside to the trash right away.

Wrapping it up

You could be dealing with a genetic mutation called super lice. Traditional over-the-counter treatments haven’t been working. Furthermore, some treatments only repel the parasite and not kill it.


Mary is the founder of All About Our Skin. Former esthetician and CPC. Enjoys researching skincare and has been studying our skin for the past fifteen years.

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