Accessibility links

Cleanser Used to Cure Head Lice

Head lice affects hundreds of children each year, sending them home from school with itchy scalps. Now, curing head lice may just have gotten a lot easier. A doctor from the U.S. has come up with a new method to fight the parasites.

A California dermatologist says he has a simple way to ward off head lice, small parasitic insects that live on the human scalp and often spread rapidly among school children. The treatment is called Nuvo, and it works by using a lotion that suffocates the lice.

Dr. Dale Pearlman published the results of his study and patented his method. "I did what's called an 'open clinical trial,' which means you take on all comers and you treat them with something, and you see what cure rate you get."

What he got was a 96 percent cure rate. But he did not disclose the fact that the lotion was not his own formula, but rather, a widely used over-the-counter facial cleanser called Cetaphil.

Pearlman received some criticism after he revealed his secret, but he defended his costly Nuvo treatment, saying it included an office visit, research materials and treatment supplies.

"I was not selling for $285 a $10 bottle of Cetaphil cleanser,” said the doctor.

There are other treatments available for head lice, but as parasites become more drug-resistant, many parents are eager for non-toxic options.

Now Dr. Pearlman has published his method online, so parents can use it free of charge.

"I want to share this, it's too much fun,” he said. “Parents are too happy when they learn about this, so I decided to just give my invention away."

The treatment involves soaking the hair and scalp with Cetaphil, and then using a hair dryer to dry the lotion in place.