Getting an infestation of head lice is every parent’s nightmare. These tiny insects can cause itchy irritation and be difficult to fully remove. When faced with an outbreak, using an effective lice killing spray is critical to getting the situation under control fast.
Two popular over-the-counter lice removal treatments are Licefreee Instant Lice Elimination Spray and Nix Permethrin Anti-Lice Treatment. But how exactly do these sprays stack up against each other?
Here’s an in-depth comparison of Licefreee and Nix to help you decide which lice killer is right for your family.
A Brief Comparison Table
|Kills lice and eggs?
|Kills live lice (not unhatched eggs)
|Approved for children?*
|Number of applications needed
|Light alcohol smell
|Price per bottle (MSRP)
*Always consult product instructions and your pediatrician before treating children
As the table shows, while both Licefreee and Nix work to eliminate lice, the two sprays use different active ingredients and methods to achieve this goal. Key differences include:
- Formula type: Licefreee uses benzyl alcohol to essentially suffocate lice, whereas Nix relies on the pesticide permethrin to kill lice via toxicity.
- Eggs treatment: Licefreee claims to kill both live lice AND unhatched eggs in a single use, while Nix only kills live crawling lice and requires a second application about a week later to kill newly hatched eggs between the first and second treatment.
- Approved ages: Nix can treat those as young as 2 months old, while Licefreee has a minimum age of 2 years.
- Odor and flammability: Licefreee has an alcohol-based formula with a light smell and contains flammable ingredients, requiring it to carry a warning label. Nix is unscented and non-flammable.
- Price: Licefreee typically costs several dollars more per bottle compared to Nix.
Understanding these key differences can help you determine which lice spray may be the best option for your situation.
Using Licefreee Spray To Eliminate Lice
Licefreee is an over-the-counter lice treatment spray that claims to kill head lice and eggs in a single 10-minute application. It uses a proprietary form of benzyl alcohol that essentially suffocates lice by restricting their ability to close their respiratory holes and produce energy.
Here’s an overview of how to use Licefreee per the manufacturer’s instructions:
- Start with dry hair before applying Licefreee spray. Tilt head downward while saturating hair and scalp thoroughly from roots to ends. Use entire bottle.
- Let product soak for 10 minutes while lightly massaging into scalp and along hair shafts. Pay extra attention to the nape of the neck and behind ears.
- After 10 minutes, use a fine-tooth comb to distribute product further and help remove dead lice or eggs. Repeat combing every few minutes during the soak time.
- Rinse out all spray residue with warm water and regular shampoo without using conditioner. Towel dry.
- Examine hair in bright lighting to look for stray lice or eggs. Reapply a second treatment if necessary in 7-10 days.
The company states that one bottle of Licefreee spray should treat even long or thick hair in most cases. The product has a light alcohol odor during application that goes away afterward.
As Licefreee contains flammable ingredients like benzyl alcohol, the product label contains warnings to keep it away from open flames, cigarettes, cigars, pipes, etc.
An advantage to Licefreee is it requires only a single soak and rinse application to fully interrupt the life cycle of lice, without needing a follow up days later. Its formula is designed to swiftly kill active lice AND stop existing eggs from hatching. This can help provide immediate relief and cut down on hassle.
However, some user reviews suggest Licefreee may not remove 100% of eggs for certain hair types or severe infestations. Having realistic expectations and following up with thorough nit combing, plus re-treating if necessary, is important for success.
Using Nix Permethrin To Kill Lice
Nix uses the active ingredient permethrin, a common synthetic pesticide also found in certain creams used to treat scabies and other skin conditions. It works by paralyzing and eventually killing lice through neurotoxicity.
The National Pediculosis Association recommends the following technique when using Nix:
- Apply Nix liquid generously to damp hair until fully saturated. For shoulder-length hair use half the bottle; use the full bottle for long, thick or curly hair.
- Let Nix soak on the hair for 10 minutes but no longer. Rinse thoroughly with water afterward.
- Towel dry hair. Remove any remaining nits by combing small sections at a time with a nit comb.
- Repeat the entire Nix application process 7-10 days later to kill newly hatched lice before they can reproduce. Removing all nits between applications is critical.
As a pesticide-derived treatment, Nix only kills live crawling lice present when first applied. Any unhatched eggs will remain unaffected during the initial use.
This means a repeat application is always required about a week later to ensure newly hatched lice are eliminated before they mature and spread. Properly combing out the nits between applications is also vital.
An advantage of Nix is that, as a widely used treatment for decades, its effectiveness when applied thoroughly and for repeat applications is well clinically studied.
However, some lice resistance to permethrin has developed over time.
Using an adjunct nit combing regimen helps minimize treatment gaps.
Also, while rare, skin irritation or allergic reaction is possible with permethrin. Always test on a small area of skin before full application.
Compared to new benzyl alcohol formulas like Licefreee, Nix seems to remain less consistently effective for some, especially with just one application. Yet, Nix continues to provide a cheaper, legacy option for lice removal that works for many families when properly applied.
FAQ About Lice Sprays
Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about using lice killing sprays and related lice removal products:
According to the company and many customer reviews, Licefreee is highly effective when used as directed to saturate hair during the 10-minute treatment period. Clinical trials found it killed 100% of live lice. The spray is designed to also kill unhatched eggs. However, Licefreee’s effectiveness can depend somewhat on hair type and thickness. Using a follow-up combing regimen improves results.
No lice sprays are scientifically proven to prevent head lice long term. Frequent hair combing at least once a week plus avoiding direct head-to-head contact with anyone showing signs of lice are your best preventative tools. Tea tree oil hair products may help repel lice in between exposures.
Both Licefreee and Nix are considered safe and effective options when applied thoroughly as directed by an experienced user. Licefreee offers the advantage of quicker kill times and combating eggs in one step. But two well-timed applications of Nix plus combing also continues to work well for many. Consulting your doctor can help determine the optimal treatment plan.
Products designed to chemically suffocate head lice like Licefreee provide among the strongest killing effects in a single application. The active ingredient benzyl alcohol is very effective at rapidly immobilizing lice and halting egg hatching when applied concentrated on the scalp and hair correctly. This avoids relying only on toxicity for results. Proper technique remains vital for success.
Getting rid of head lice can be challenging. Using an effective delousing spray as part of comprehensive removal efforts is key. Both Licefreee and Nix have benefits and downsides when treating an active lice infestation.
Take time to evaluate your specific circumstances and expectations when deciding if one lice killer may be better suited over another to get your family lice free fast.