Q. Here now we have a heart-warming story about one girl’s experience with lice – so get comfy and TAKE NOTE! You do not want this to happen to you!
“Oooh-pleeze help!!!! I have an ex-boyfriend who sports a mass of locks that are his crowning glory and all that, but now he tells me he has LICE!!! What’s worse is that his new girlfriend has lice too because of him and can’t get rid of them because he WILL NOT get rid of his dreadlocks–he is a walking infestation, it is horrible, and if I am correct, there is no way to get a LARGE infestation of head lice out of a LARGE amount of dreadlocks. Now they are getting evicted from their apartment, and the nice guy who says they can move in with him is gonna get lice too!!! I do not think I need to explain any further for you to see that there is a big mess at hand. What I am asking from you is for you to send me back an e-mail that I can read to him–straight from some dreadlock experts strongly urging him that he really has no alternative, and that it is not the end of the world…he will not listen to me alone or to anyone else. I do not know how anyone puts up with him, but they do, and it is sad. For the good of humanity, please help!!!”
A. To this, my response was, obviously…
Wow, that really, totally sucks! I can’t believe how irresponsible that is of him… I’m not sure what to say, except that it is NOT right to subject other people around you to your filthy infestation – that’s not cool at all, and you would certainly not wish for someone else to do that to you! I don’t care how attached a person is to his/her dreads, it is not fair to keep them if it means that you’re going to continue spreading the problem around to other people. How totally selfish! If he’s been to a doctor and tried different medicated shampoos to no avail, then he’d better stop thinking of himself and start thinking about what he’s doing to the people around him. This one guy who got fleas from a dog cut his dreads off right away – he knew it was only hair and that it was better to do that than just live with them and spread them around. I don’t mean to speak harshly, but honestly he has to do the right thing in this situation, it’s just common courtesy! Hope that helps, and let me know how things turn out…
A. Here are also a few tips emailed us about lice removal, use at your own risk and don’t contact us about it -they are not dreadlocks.org-tested!:
“After discovering I had lice, I carefully and painstakingly took out my dreads. After NiX and RiD (lice treatment stuff) wouldn’t work, I took Vaseline and just caked it on my hair. I worked all my hair with thick globs of the stuff. Wrapped my oily, greasy hair with a towel and after about 48 hours (I think), I shampooed and shampooed until most of the junk was out and I had nary an itch! It works by suffocating the little buggers and nits until they die (bugs need air too!). Now I am lice free, so it’s a pretty foolproof method of lice removal. Just lots of grease! I did it *after* I took my dreads out, so I have no idea if it would work if a dreadie tried it. You have to completely saturate your hair with the Vaseline, so it might prove difficult to get in the little spongy gaps of air (where the lice might hide). But if someone with dreads had lice, and they could get the Vaseline into the dreads enough (without ruining the knots), it might work. But getting the Vaseline out might be a problem.
Anyway, let it be known that it is strictly by chance that I got lice while I had dreads. Having dreads has absolutely nothing to do with getting lice (although it might be more difficult to get rid of the lice if you’ve got dreads). Since my dreads were loose and young, I had the good-ass fortune to get away with not cutting my hair off.”
“I have heard of another way of possibly ridding your hair of bugs if you get them. I have no idea if it works, or its side effects, but it goes like this… Supposedly if you soak your scalp and dreads in rubbing alcohol, them put a plastic bag over your hair to trap the fumes in, it will kill all the bugs if you leave the bag on for a while. I have no idea how this might affect your dreads, or scalp, but if it is a last resort, it might be worth trying.”
“I was just reading your page on lice, and wanted you to know that there are a few solutions besides chopping off your hair. For instance, you can soak your head in tea tree oil and then put all your hair up in something airtight like a shower cap or saran wrap for a week. **A week??** The tea tree oil kills live bugs (not their eggs) so you need to keep it applied until all eggs that were in your hair have hatched and died.”
“I’ve read a bit about combating lice in your dreads. Shortly after I started my dreads I went to India. The whole time I was super paranoid about getting lice. Ironically I spent six months in India with no problem but after being home for just a few months… that’s right, I got lice. Everyone I talked to told me I would have to cut them off, but after the long process it took to just make my dreads look somewhat good, I wasn’t going down without a fight and I am happy to say that I still have my dreads…lice free. I started out with the super strong lice treatment (nix?) that claims to kill not only lice, but also the eggs. Then I went to my local organic food store and got an organic lice treatment shampoo and conditioner that could be used daily. Yeah it cost almost $15 for the both, but it was well worth it. After a week, I retreated my hair with the super strong treatment. I used the shampoo and conditioner until it was finished, but by that time, there were no more bugs in my hair. I am happy to say that I didn’t spread the bugs to anyone even though I have two roommates. Just be really careful, and as soon as you suspect that you have bugs in your head, do something. It is really easy to be in denial. It was almost a week before I really realized that yes, I had lice and something had to be done. I don’t know how my roommates, especially since one of them has long hair, avoided the bugs. I think the key is to combat them on a daily basis and that can’t be done with super strong drugstore lice treatment. So that is it. Hope it helps!”
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