In most states, cosmetology regulations make it against the law to cut or style the hair of someone with head lice. Yet stylists are reporting more and more cases of head lice in their salons, which can be due to the fact that most lice are now resistant to the most common anti-lice products. So what is the best way to handle the situation if you find bugs in your client’s hair? Here is a simple 6-step lice guide for hair salons.
- Confirm that what you see are lice. Identifying head lice can be tricky. A 2000 study by the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) found that people often mistake dandruff as head lice. Lice are brownish bugs about the size of sesame seeds. See the article, “Is it Head Lice or Dandruff,” to get it right.
- Don’t panic. Except for the itching, lice are harmless. Also, medical researchers have found no link between hygiene and head lice—your client isn’t dirty. Remember: lice can only spread by head-to-head contact, so as long as you’re not head-butting your client, you’re safe.
- Communicate calmly. Your client might want to shoot the messenger! You can make the difference between sending your client into a panic or simply helping him or her solve a problem. Calmly state that the client didn’t do anything wrong, and that 6-12 million people get lice every year, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Let him or her know that there are now same-day treatment services available that remove lice and eggs in about an hour, guaranteed!
- Give sound advice. It is now proven science that traditional over-the-counter lice medications are no longer effective. Lice have developed resistance. Here’s the scientific study that proves it. This means that if you send your client to the drug store, you might be sending him or her into an abyss of futility. Also, you should discourage home remedies. These range from the ridiculous (mayonnaise) to the dangerous (kerosene). Seriously. People have died from using these things to treat lice.
- Direct the client to a medically proven solution. Lice Clinics of America offers the only FDA-cleared medical device clinically proven to kill live lice and more than 99 percent of eggs (nits) in a single treatment that takes about an hour. Success is guaranteed. The company also offers a non-toxic home Lice Remover Kit that makes home lice removal much easier and more effective.
- Invite them back. People are often embarrassed about having head lice. You can help them feel comfortable by letting your clients know that they are welcome back when they’re lice-free. You might even offer to make room for them later the same day if they get treated at a Lice Clinics of America clinic. You don’t want to lose a client just because you were the bearer of bad news. You can also be the superhero for recommending a “one and done” solution!