As the owner of a lice removal salon, I am always amazed by people’s insistence (usually fathers, I’ll admit) to have their kids” head shaved if they think they’ve found lice. It’s a solution for some, I’m sure, but the truth is, this quick fix better be crazy short to make a difference. Here’s why it’s not everything it’s “buzzed up” to be.
Shaving the head or cutting hair doesn’t always address the issue. So many parents walk into my salon and say, “Go ahead and cut our hair if it will help with treatment”. LIce can live in as little as 3 millimeters of hair. Although it defies logic, I’ve pulled more bugs off a little boy with a crew cut than a little girl with waist long hair. During our lice removal treatments we focus most of our attention on the first five millimeters of hair where most bugs and eggs reside. They need to be close to the scalp to feed. They must lay eggs close to the head to incubate on the warm temperatures of the head. Simply cutting the hair, even crew cut style isn’t enough to treat these pesky bugs. Unless you are shaving the head (with shaving cream) the extreme cut is unnecessary and causes stigma.
Super short cuts can be traumatizing for a little boy who loves his locks, but what is really bugging me is parents who “shave” a little girl’s head. Way too often, I hear parents say they are going to shave a girl’s head. Sometimes they say it in jest and sometimes in all sincerity. Not funny. Lice carries enough stigma without a schoolgirl returning to class with an “I had lice” haircut. It is likely something she won’t ever forget or forgive. We’ve had girls not tell parents they had lice for fear that the parents would make good on a previous threat of head shaving. This results in a much more severe infestation than usual. In the state of Texas, shaving a girl’s head without her consent is considered child abuse.
I’m not entirely scissor shy however and in some cases, cutting a little girl’s hair into a cute fashionable style is a good idea. We have treated many young girls who refuse to keep their hair up or braided and who don’t take care of it. So often these same sweet girls willingly share brushes and accessories with friends. In these situations, a more manageable hairstyle may be called for. There’s a point where keeping your daughter’s hair well groomed and back makes sense for everyone. If your girl seems to be a lice magnet, shorter hair will help with treatment and maintenance in the fight to be lice free. Teach your daughters to keep it back or up, or well trimmed so it’s easy to manage. Make sharing combs and brushes a no no.
Make regular lice checks part of your family routine so you can spot a problem before it becomes an emergency.
So parents, although it’s tempting to quick fix this problem with a pair of clippers, back away from the shaver! The truth is lice happens, sometimes more to one person than another, for reasons we’ll never understand. Teaching kids to be responsible with their hair, by keeping it up or braided and keeping their proximity to others in mind is a far more kind way to help keep this out of your home and everyone healthy, happy and in good spirits. If lice happens to you, get the facts at www.madcapssalon.com and know that it is a manageable problem without resorting to drastic measures.