Head lice, which for families with school age children can become a huge nuisance, face a fresh onslaught this Autumn. A new electronic comb from Boots claims to detect and kill these small insects that live on human scalps. Insecticide-based lotions that were once popular for killing lice have become less effective as lice have built up a resistance. There were also unwelcome side effects from using strong chemicals on children's scalps. The new comb offers a chemical free alternative and claims to be easy to use. Our local pharmacy put us in touch with a family suffering a nit infection and they generously agreed to try out the comb for us.
First the good news. Our mum, Carole, agreed that the electronic comb worked. After using it on a daily basis for two weeks on her daughter's shoulder length hair, she said that the family were rid of the problem insects. However, she also said that had she not been testing the electronic comb for us, she would have given up using it after the first few days. The comb works by electrocuting particles - which could be lice or something else like flakes of dandruff - as it combs through hair. Once switched on it emits a high pitched, piercing noise which Carole said was almost as bad as the noise from the smoke alarm in her kitchen. The buzzing stops briefly each time a louse is destroyed. If it stops altogether, as it did in testing, the teeth of the comb need to be cleaned before it will restart. Carole's daughter complained of a stinging sensation from the comb whenever it electrocuted lice. The design of the comb made it difficult to run through hair, which has to be dry, without getting tangled.
Although the electronic head lice comb worked, Carole did not agree that it was easy to use. Since it kills lice, there is still the task of removing them from the scalp which means doubling up with a traditional, fine toothed, nit comb. We recommend repeatedly treating hair with tea tree hair products, leaving lots of conditioner on the hair for at least half an hour and then combing out with a traditional nit comb. If this does not work, then give Boots' electronic alternative a try.
This product was kindly loaned to us by Boots.com