How to Get Rid Of Lice Eggs (Nits)? Which Lice Comb Is Better: Metal or Electric One

Head lice. Many people believe that it is the moving ones (nymphs and adult lice) that are most dangerous. This isn’t true though! While both lice and larvae can be effectively killed with various pediculicides, all of these tricks are absolutely useless when it comes to lice eggs (nits).

Why are nits so chemical-resistant and how do you get rid of lice eggs for good? Can they be electrocuted, frozen or drowned? We’ll answer all these questions in this article.

We’ve picked the best combs for you: a metal one and an advanced electric lice comb. We’ll also warn you about useless products. Some of the unscrupulous manufacturers use consumers’ trust and desire to get rid of lice ASAP and simply deceive you! We’ll focus on the product which is well sold but is utterly useless. In the end we will share 7 valuable combing tips and 5 recommendations concerning self-protection against the infection.

Head Lice Eggs FAQ

What do lice eggs look like?

Lice eggs are called nits. They are 1/16 inch long white oval cylinders, laid by female lice. These nits stick to the hair base, very close to the scalp, only ¼ of an inch away from the root. They look like small white specks, but they are likely to be noticed on touch: the nits look like small hair dust, which is difficult to remove with your fingers. It is the strong glue secreted by females to blame as it ensures that the eggs do not fall off the hair and develop further thanks to the skin heat. Most often the nits are detected behind the ears and in the occipital area.

what do lice nits look like?

When do lice nits turn into nymphs?

Nits evolve into larvae within 7-10 days after having been laid and attached to the hair by a female. The the white eggs turn brown towards the end of this period, and this means that future larvae are already eager to hatch and to drink human blood. It is because of the dark color they are sometimes difficult to be noticed.

Nits require certain temperature to hatch. According to the information from the Pennsylvania State University, the perfect temperature for them is the temperature of human body (i.e. on the head): 95-100º F. Most eggs won’t hatch below 74º F which means that if the eggs fall off your head (for example, with lost hair ) or are removed by hand, they have no chance of survival. The scientists also explain "Since human hair grows about 1/2 inch per month, any nits found on a hair 1/4 of an inch from the scalp would be approximately 16-days old, and would have hatched already, or will not hatch". Keep in mind that even when the nymphs hatch, the nit shell remains glued to the hair.

Can you catch lice eggs from other people in the swimming pool?

No, you won’t actually catch them in the swimming pool. Although nits can survive several hours underwater, they cannot be transmitted if you swim in the same pool with an infected person. Lice (both adults and nits) hold on too tightly to the hair and don’t let go of a hair when you dive.

BUT: In rare cases the eggs can be transmitted through sharing household objects and hats, pillowcases, combs, towels, caps, helmets. That is why you should never use other people’s towels and combs in the pool!

How to Get Rid Of Nits For Sure? Methods and Products That Work and Don’t Work

The key aspect of getting rid of the lice is killing both larvae and adults to interrupt their breeding cycle. This is easier than the “seek and destroy” strategy of lice eggs removal as they keep on hatching and populating your head with new lice. During the long centuries of struggle of humanity with lice thousands of ways to remove lice eggs were invented, both effective and absolutely useless. Check out the chart below, where we bust all the myths and tell the truth, as to what really works.

How To Kill Lice Eggs: Myths And Truth

 

Method

Effectiveness in regard to nits

Comment

Pediculicide shampoos, gels, lotions

No

Pediculicides don't kill nits as they affect the CNS which is not entirely formed in nits' bodies. That is why pediculicides (even permethrin and pyrethrin-based products) kill adult lice only – read more about how to kill adult lice in our article about lice treatment.

Electrocuting

No

Despite the promises of the manufacturers of certain electric combs with electrocution function, the scientists believe that lice nits cannot be killed by electrocution on contact.

Ducking

No

When ducked, lice nits are not separated from hair and don't suffocate. They can also survive in water for several hours. You won't be waiting with your head under water for several hours, will you?

Frost

No

The nits won't survive at the 74°F temperature, but your body temperature won't reach this figure even if you go out in winter without a hat.

Head shaving

Yes

This is the most radical and brutal method which we don't recommend. Having nits is not a sufficient reason to say goodbye to your hair. There exist milder effective treatment ways.

Heating with a hair drying

Yes, but the effecte is poor

Theoretically, the nits won't survive any temperature that is drastically different from the normal human body temperature. Most of the nits will die when the head is heater to 125°F or higher. This method, however, cannot be used as a primary one. It can only be a supplement to the main one.

Nit-picking and lice combing

Yes, 100% result

Mechanical method means manual combing of the hair with a special metal comb with long and tightly placed to each other teeth. It is considered to be the most effective method which is guaranteed to have a positive result.

As you can see, it’s not like you don’t have a choice, but only combing your hair with a special lice comb will guarantee getting rid of the nits. Below we’ll outline the best models and give useful advice regarding how to properly do nit-picking without causing any harm to those who carry out the procedure.

Lice Comb Is A 100% Guarantee of Getting Rid Of Lice Eggs

Combing for nits is a long, backbreaking, but most effective way which also helps to check whether there are alive or dead insects in the patient's hair during treatment. The most important thing in this case is to be careful and be sure to comb out all the eggs, or the lice will breed again and torment you at night. But do not rush immediately to look for any comb as a mediocre one will not work.

Plastic or Metal Head Lice Comb?

Use only metal one with long teeth. Ordinary plastic combs are not suitable to comb the lice out of my head. They are useless because they bend easily and keep their teeth are separate from each other. Therefore, such a comb simply will not grip larvae and adult lice. Short-toothed combs, both plastic and metal won’t be suitable either. You might like not only ordinary metal, but also modern electronic combs, which combine the functions of a comb and a vacuum cleaner. With such a device you will not have to remove by hand any nits found as they are stored in a container inside the device.

Here are some of the models of the combs we strongly recommend! Let’s start with classic metal lice combs.

How to pick a metal lice comb?

All metal lice combs are similar as they have long teeth made of steel and tightly pressed to each other with a comfortable handle. A classic best-selling comb, however, has long been renowned by thousands of customers.

Nit Free Terminator Lice Comb, Professional Stainless Steel Louse and Nit Comb for Head Lice Treatment, Removes Nits

Nit Free Terminator Lice Comb

This comb costs ~$11.10 and is rated highly at 4.6 out of 5 stars on Amazon.com. It is a best seller in the Lice Combs category and has over 1600 customer reviews on Amazon.com.

This is quite a large item here before us; its dimensions are 3x4 inches. It is made of stainless steel and the teeth are micro-corrugated so that the nits which are firmly attached to the hair are hitched up better. There are also corrugations on the comb handle. This is made to prevent the comb from sliding out of your hands when combing very thick hair. Nit Free Terminator Lice Comb is durable enough for the manufacturers to issue a lifetime warranty for it. Its country of origin is the USA.

The buyers of this product note that it is more advantageous than many of its rivals. According to them, the micro-canals which are located on the teeth can really grip on more nits. In addition, the Terminator works fine for thin and fragile hair as well. Not every comb can do that! We weren’t able to find any complaints concerning the breakage of the comb, but we were able to find a few pieces of advice instead. The customers recommend using the comb on wet hair and remind us to combine brushing with using some non-toxic sprays and shampoos. Over 90% of the consumers consider the Terminator Lice Comb useful.

Unlike other classic combs, this one is available in sets of 2, 6, 10, 12, 24 and even 100 units for best lice treatment. The reasonable price of ~$7 per unit or lower begins when you buy a set of 6 combs or more.

Price: from ~$7 to $11.10 (depending on the number of combs in a set) Check the current price

Most metal lice combs are identical in terms of performance and only differ slightly when it comes to design. The combs cost from ~$7 to $11 per unit, and the price often depends on the number of units in set. Pick the best option on Amazon.com.

Best Electronic Lice Comb

Electronic lice combs are ambiguous gadgets. On the one hand, they facilitate nit removal and safeguard others against as the found eggs are not touched or shaken on the fabric due to the fact that some models of these devices work like vacuum cleaners and thus all lice eggs are collected in a container inside the device, which is then easily possible to flush down the toilet. But on the other hand to some people they may seem a little upmarket and far more demanding when it comes to maintenance than conventional combs. In any case, the choice is yours, and we will just cover one of the most popular models.

V-Comb - Head Lice Comb - FDA Registered - Pesticide and Chemical Free - Natural Lice Treatment for Head Lice - Out Performs other Head Lice Combs and Lice Shampoo - Removes Lice and Eggs

electronic lice comb

It is a combination of a hair brush and a mini vacuum cleaner. It is the most gentle and soft hackle because its metal teeth ends are rounded. When you comb the hair, vacuum sucking in its handle starts to work and all of the lice and nits gripped are transported into disposable soft bags. The rating of the product is medium, it is 3.8 out of 5 stars on Amazon.com.

Price: ~$59.99 Check the current price

electronic lice combWarning! Not all the electronic combs are equally efficient. The manufacturer of LiceGuard RobiComb Electronic Lice Comb for ~$21.63 promises that this battery powered comb will kill lice on contact by electrocution. Don’t fall for these empty promises though as the University of Nebraska-Lincoln scientists have tested this comb and revealed that The manufacturer claims lice trapped in the teeth are electrocuted, but we have not always found this to be true.“ That's why the result is all the same: 42% of the customers don’t consider this product effective and rating is only 3.3 out of 5 stars on Amazon.com. Also they are afraid to have some electric charge on their heads. Are you ready to spend money on such strange experiments?! Don’t do it, electrocuting doesn’t kill nits!

7 Tips on How to Use a Comb

Let’s now get back to the actual technique. Based on the NYC Department of Health & Mental Hygiene and different US universities’ scientists’ opinion, we’ve drawn up the main tips concerning nit combing:

  1. After you have washed your head with lice shampoo, dry your hair a bit before combing so that the water doesn’t drip off them. Dry your hair completely if you use an electronic comb.

  2. Apply some oil (olive or tea tree oil) or hair gel/conditioner on the roots of your hair to facilitate the process. You can use either regular hair gels, conditioners or special ones, such as ones with rosemary extract which not only facilitate comb sliding but also repel lice.

  3. Prepare: make sure the room is well-lit, pour some water into a bowl to clean the comb or prepare a dense transparent bag. Also place bright cloth under your hair (red, for instance) to make white and brown nits as well as white-grayish adults equally visible.

  4. Comb all hairs starting from the temple down to the ends as close to scalp as possible in all directions. You may find it easier if the hair is pre-divided into small strands across the head. Carefully inspect the comb for eggs and live lice, when washing it in the bowl with water or cleaning off in the bag. The procedure can take up an hour or more, especially if the hair is very thick, long and light.

  5. If certain nits cling to the hair tightly, cut these hairs with small nail scissors.

  6. Flush the water from the bowel down the toilet regularly and re-fill the bowl.

  7. After you have combed the entire head, wash your hair with regular shampoo to wash off the oil. Clean the comb (or better, boil it for 15 minutes if it is made of metal). After that you can comb another patient.

5 Tips for People Who Do Nit-Picking

As we don’t recommend self-combing, it’s important to protect the person who is going to comb a lice patient from possible infection. We have prepared several tips for these brave warriors.

  1. Make sure that you do not touch your hair while nit-picking as you can catch lice!.  If necessary, secure your hair with hair clips, bobby pins, etc. or tie it back.

  2. Take off any bracelets, rings or other jewelry when combing someone.

  3. Wear short gloves to avoid touching lice.

  4. In order to protect your clothes, wear a garbage bag over them so that it doesn’t hold down your movements and covers your front. Don’t forget to take it afterwards (over your legs and not over your head, obviously).

  5. Once you’re done, place the gloves and the garbage bag into a plastic bag and dispose of it. Wash your hands well with soap.