Parents, especially mums are peddled false hope by head lice products under the guise of ‘expert’ advice, whilst spending £33 million a year for the pleasure.
The press coverage given to the issue isn’t much better with its usual mixed message narrative – the issue is a growing one, head lice have developed resistance or immunity to the products, and by the way here is the range of products to use.
At The Hairforce – Lice Assassins we are all about replacing that narrative with intelligent support and that missing ingredient in all this, effectiveness.
We are a unique nit and head lice clearing service based in London, with seven other locations around the country. We have used laser logic and clever technology to create a process of clearing that does not require chemicals or pesticides, and delivers 100% effectiveness that’s guaranteed. The added benefit is that we take the entire workload off the parent’s hands.
You will see many an article that writes about someone who has tried every product on the market without success ranging from tea-tree and herbal shampoos to some really nasty chemicals. We see this same experience repeated daily amongst our substantial client base. One of the accusations levied at mums is that somewhere in every class there is a mum that doesn’t care about head lice, and because she doesn’t tackle it everyone else’s efforts are undermined. What we see is that actually, mums try very hard to do something about head lice but the products they are using – on the back of expert advice – are letting them down.
It is important to appreciate that the products are often backed by poor evidence; deeply flawed research (investigate the base sizes of much of the research and you will be shocked how low they are); and more worryingly the research – and therefore the ‘impartial’ expert behind that research – is funded by the drug companies themselves. This is the equivalent to a Ponzi scheme with concerned parents as the losers and as one journalist (Caroline Scott) has put it ‘It is an ideal market to sell expensive products that don’t quite work’.
We see the really unacceptable face of this when we clear heavy infestations – and we see a lot. The worst case we have ever seen is of a 6 year old girl whose very serious infestation had been tackled by her GP with repeated prescriptions of dimeticone (the key ingredient in Hedrin), over a long period of time. What we found was a child whose hair was brittle, whose scalp was scarred, and most distressingly whose hair was simply coming away in places when you attempted to nit comb – and who was still riddled with head lice. Repeated uses of dimeticone hadn’t solved anything and had literally siliconed the nits so firmly onto the hair that you couldn’t get all of them off. You may criticise the mother in your head when you read this, but she made repeated trips to her GP for help, and with his help put her faith in a product. Criminally, whilst she repeatedly used it the infestation was continually gaining ground.
It is important to understand that when there is a heavy infestation in the family it can be quite impossible for mum to clear. They are totally overwhelming and distressing, and many in this situation simply do not know what to do – and their GP’s will be at a total loss also. For us these jobs are particularly rewarding. A child will walk in with a helmet of eggs (the nits) and walk out that same afternoon with every louse and every nit removed. This can be a very emotional experience for the child, who will not have seen or felt their hair in its proper state for years.
This leads us to the impact head lice have on the children themselves. We see and hear first-hand how they undermine a child’s confidence, self-esteem and ability to function at school (they self-exclude from activities; deliberately sit at the back of the class and refuse to attract attention); how they are bullied in the classroom and the playground; and how they are excluded from school and other activities. We see children who have had infestations for 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 + years and whose hair is often matted with nits. We see children who have systematically withdrawn into themselves because of their fear of others judging them, and the loathing they feel towards their hair and the infestation. We also see the physical side effects – the constant scratching, the tiredness, the runny nose, and their parents will talk about their lack of concentration at school.
Whilst in the veneer of adult culture the nit problem has been normalised by its sheer volume, underneath it is affecting how our children feel about themselves and how they behave. After their first visit to us, the infestation is no longer visible. By the second appointment not only will we see a happier child, we see a livelier one. Mum will tell us how they have changed – the tiredness has gone, the runny nose disappeared, they are sleeping better and more able to concentrate. The teacher will have commented. They are restored and they can get on with their childhood.
We are in the business of doing ‘exactly what we say on the tin’ and proud of it. We guarantee to shut it all down and end the infestation. In just 2 appointments, 7 days apart – 2.5 hours of intense, forensic work – we remove everything, cutting off and shutting down the development process. We use unique controlled, heated air technology to dehydrate the nits in order to speed up the whole process, but we also remove all the nits (the eggs), because at the heart of shutting down an infestation you need to get those nits out of the hair. In contrast a parent can be many weeks, often months, and sometimes years struggling to keep it under control themselves – and that invariably can involve a lot of product. We are evangelical about delivering something that is honest, transparent and effective because mums need proper support and positive results not empty promises when they are caring for their children.
We aren’t advocating everyone should use us, because we know that isn’t possible or feasible, but what we would advocate is that mums consider the seriousness of continually using product that doesn’t work. At the end of the day Hedrin Once have used the following line in their TV campaign for a reason – ‘Hedrin Once could kill head lice and their eggs’ – because the advertising regulators who caution against unsubstantiated promises would have made them.