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Treating Head Lice With Toothpaste?

With head lice on the upswing, thanks largely to growing immunities to conventional treatments -- specifically lotions and shampoos made with insecticides like malathion and pyrethrins -- one New York research group may have discovered a less lethal conventional chemical agent to beat it.

Common hair shampoo combined with menthol propyleneglycol carbonate (MR08), a menthol derivative used as a cooling agent in toothpaste, was found to prevent head lice from clinging to human hair about 90 percent of the time. MR08 works differently than other conventional treatments in that, the head lice removed from hair remained alive after treatments but were unable to reattach or re-infect the host.

With MR08 still on the drawing board, however, your best bet for treating head lice -- a common parasitic infection of your skin -- is a milder, safer strategy: Applying essential oils like anise and ylang ylang to the infected areas.

Medical News Today September 11, 2006

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