The first step in treating head lice is to remove all live lice from your child’s hair. While some people may use pediculicides, these aren’t recommended for young children. In such cases, you’ll have to remove the lice manually. If you’re unsure whether to use these treatments, consult a health care provider.
Permethrin comes in a cream and a lotion that you apply to the scalp and hair. It’s usually applied once, but you might have to repeat this process more than once. If the lice remain, it might be necessary to use a different product.
It’s important to apply the lotion to a child’s head. The lotion is made with benzyl alcohol, an aromatic alcohol that’s approved by the FDA for the treatment of head lice. However, it’s not an ovicidal product, so it won’t kill newly-hatched lice. The lotion is usually meant for use on children 6 months and older, but it can be irritating to the skin.
It’s also important to wash the affected area thoroughly after the application of the topical solution. Permethrin is absorbed into the skin to a maximum of 2% percutaneously. While there have been no comparative studies, it’s considered more effective than pyrethrum for controlling lice infestation. In addition, there’s no evidence of embryotoxic effects.