Head lice treatments guide

Which products are most effective at dealing with this perennial childhood problem?
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  • Updated:21 Aug 2007

02.Insecticide treatments

Products reviewed

Categorised by active ingredient

Bioallethrin/piperonyl butoxide

  • Paralice Aerosol Spray

Malathion Bottles of headlice treatments

  • HL7 Shampoo
  • KP24 Medicated Foam
  • KP24 Medicated Lotion


  • Lice Breaker Pyrifoam Treatment with Conditioner
  • Orange Medic Plus Head Lice Treatment
  • Quellada Head Lice Treatment

Pyrethrin/piperonyl butoxide

  • Banlice Mousse
  • Pyrenel Foam

Piperonal/triclosan (antibacterials)

  • KP24 Lice Spray

Price paid

From $7.40 for Pyrenel Foam (100mL) to $12.95 for Paralice Aerosol Spray (100mL).

Do they work?

All these products are registered with the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), which means they were evaluated before they went on the market to ensure they were both effective and safe. Look for the AUST-R number on the label.

CHOICE's advice

If your child is heavily infested with head lice, you might want to try an insecticide-based product before going herbal.  

Reasons why a treatment might not work

There are several reasons why a head lice product might fail to work. These include:

  • not using enough of it to adequately cover the scalp and hair
  • not repeating the treatment after 7 to 10 days (to kill eggs, which often survive the first application)
  • getting reinfested due to head-to-head contact with another person with lice
  • resistance to the active ingredient of a product.

When it comes to resistance, results can vary by region. Even if there are reports of resistance to certain insecticide ingredients, it may still work in your local area.

Misuse can contribute to lice resistance and adverse reactions, so it’s important you use treatments as directed (see Treatment tips).


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