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Ditch Dat Lice! Product Features

Did you know: head lice are a major problem for children and their parents?

The EPA estimates that 98% of all head lice are now “superlice,” completely resistant to pyrethrins and permethrin, the main ingredients in over-the-counter solutions such as Rid and Nix?[1]  Many parents have already rejected these neurotoxin-containing formulas due to the perceived hazards.  Parents who continued to use these over-the-counter solutions have reported poor results, due to the resistance that lice have built up against these two ingredients used for decades.

There are new prescription medications on the market, however, most of them are very costly.  Sklice cost $349.54 -  $374.09 for a single tube; Nyda, one of the new prescription-based products cost $69.92 in our marketplace; Lyclear shampoo cost $31.32; Kwell (which contains lindane, warranting a black-box warning label) cost $51,86-$105.05 while Lice Doctor treatments were between $325-375.

Others present severe side effects, prompting FDA-mandated "black box warnings."  The EPA tied 17 deaths to lindane in prescription pediculicide. It was this piece of information that galvanized our research: we simply could not believe that parents and teachers did not have safer and more affordable alternatives out there.  Lice affect children of all socioeconomic classes, but, especially for parents in the lower socioeconomic classes, paying hundreds of dollars for lice treatment was simply not an option. 

We wanted to find a simple, eco-friendly, easy-to-apply and affordable solution. We combined rubbing alcohol with copolymers, anticipating that alcohol would kill the lice and copolymers would thicken the solution to avoid running into eyes.  The experiment worked well.  All lice subjects died within one minute.  A sulfuric acid test confirmed a physical mode of action:  hydrocarbons were removed from the louse exoskeleton’s cutaneous wax.

Then, we tested our solution on louse eggs. We conducted 98 initial trials and found that 0% of the treated eggs hatched; whereas 33.9% of the control group hatched.  We tested our dried solution with an oxygraph and found that the dried copolymers completely prevented oxygen transfer through the egg, suffocating the embryos.

Our experiments proved that, although, lice have become resistant to chemical treatment, a physical mode of action can kill both head lice and head lice eggs.  By coating louse eggs with copolymers, we blocked the operculum of the louse eggs and prevented the nymphs from hatching, BECAUSE the copolymers formed a physical barrier film preventing the operculum from opening and the egg from hatching.

After our discovery, we fine-tuned our product, with the addition of one more ingredients.  The formula is now patent-pending.  Throughout the process, we kept our focus on finding an economical solution.  We believe that all children deserve to live lice-free.  It is our sincerely goal to get our product to every child who needs a pediculicide.

 

[1] The main ingredient in Rid is: pyrethrins; the main ingredient in Nix is: permethrin