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Another louse-y product not living up to its claim

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It’s not often I get to write a blog post that causes phantom head scratching. Before I tell you why, fair warning: If you have kids, or simply like to huddle with friends for the latest and greatest selfie, consider this a cootie alert for: deceptive head lice repellent!

The FTC recently negotiated a settlement with Lornamead, a company that makes a head lice repellent called Lice Shield. The FTC alleged that the company misled consumers by exaggerating claims that its scientifically proven shampoo, stick and spray products infused with essential oils would prevent or reduce the risk of getting head lice, especially in children. But the people who bought it got stuck with an expensive product that had not been scientifically proven to shield anyone from infestations – and left them literally scratching their heads.

What can you do to avoid and treat head lice?

  • Do weekly lice checks on your kids. School children who play or talk with their heads close together may be more likely to get lice. Minimize infestations during the school year by setting up weekly head checks at home to look for – and comb out – any nits or lice.
  • Watch those head-touching smartphone selfies. Lice don’t jump or fly, but they are fast crawlers. And they spread from head-to-head in the same amount of time it takes to snap a selfie with someone. Do a head check soon after you huddle.
  • Check out FDA-approved treatments for head lice, along with steps for safe use. Head lice can happen to anyone. Lice don’t care how clean your hair is, your overall hygiene, or your economic status. Arm yourself with information about the most effective treatment options available.

Feel free to get nit-picky about products you buy that don’t live up to their claims. Report them to the FTC.


Great news about FTC taking to task manufacturers for exaggerated claims. The recommendations presented in this blog, however, need to be revisited. Will weekly lice checks minimize infestations of lice? That's a nice thought, but it isn't based on objective findings. What about 'selfiies'' as a means to facilitate transmission of lice? That has received a lot of press, but it is similarly baseless. In reality, there's no practical way to prevent a child from being exposed to head lice. Cases of head lice are massively over-diagnosed. Perhaps the best advice would be to carefully confirm the identity of a presumed head louse before considering any treatment, and then to treat only when live lice are present and with a product that has proven efficacy.

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