How to Kill Nits in the Hair

Updated February 21, 2017

Head lice eggs, also known as nits, attach to the hair shaft near the scalp, causing redness and itching. Nits, which are the size of a dandruff flake, are usually the first sign of an active lice infestation. Treatment to kill the nits is in the form of over-the-counter and prescribed lice shampoos and nit combs.

Wet hair completely in the shower or under a faucet.

Apply the over-the-counter or prescribed lice shampoo and rub vigorously into the scalp and behind the ears. Lice shampoos contain the ingredients pyrethrin or permethrin, which is effective in killing nits. Repeat shampooing until the nits and lice are killed.

Rinse the lice shampoo thoroughly with warm water. Avoid towel drying the hair, since this is a mode of transmission for the lice.

Use a nit comb while the hair is wet to physically remove the nits from the hair. Repeat combing until the nits and lice are killed.


See a dermatologist if the nits and lice remain.


According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), avoid adding conditioner to the hair, since the product's ingredients form a barrier to the lice shampoo.

Things You'll Need

  • Lice shampoo
  • Nit comb
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