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Open AccessArticle

A Cosmetically Acceptable Dye Product to Improve Detection of Head Louse Eggs and Nits

1
EctoMedica Limited, Cambridge CB25 9AU, UK
2
Insect Research & Development Limited, Cambridge CB25 9AU, UK
3
Avisius Research Limited, Coventry CV3 4FJ, UK
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Equal contributors.
Cosmetics 2020, 7(1), 19; https://doi.org/10.3390/cosmetics7010019
Received: 4 March 2020 / Revised: 20 March 2020 / Accepted: 22 March 2020 / Published: 24 March 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers in Cosmetics in 2020)
Removing head louse eggshells and nits after a successful pediculicide treatment is often made more difficult because it is not easy to see them all amongst the hairs. Therefore, a treatment that makes louse eggs more visible potentially makes the task of removal easier and reduces the risk that children would be sent home from school or over-treated. This project involved the development of a hair treatment gel concept that was easy to apply, wash out, and that stained louse eggs and nits but without staining the hair and skin. A series of food-grade dyes were evaluated for their ability to stain the eggshells, and various copolymer-based rheology modifiers were tested for dye compatibility and stability. Several dyes were rejected because either they failed to stain louse eggshells or else stained skin too easily. Two dyes, Patent Blue and Ponceau 4R, were eventually selected for different product developments, one specifically for post-treatment nit removal and the other for pre-treatment diagnosis. In clinical field studies, both were found to make the treated eggshells contrast sufficiently with the hair to enable identification of persistent nits. Use of a nit stain product can enable easier detection of louse eggs and nits, thus facilitating the removal process and reducing the risk that persistent eggshells could be mistaken for signs of a continuing infestation. View Full-Text
Keywords: combing; polymeric hair gel; food dye; hair care; nit removal; diagnosis; “no-nit” policy combing; polymeric hair gel; food dye; hair care; nit removal; diagnosis; “no-nit” policy
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Brunton, E.R.; Burgess, M.N.; Whelan, I.P.; Burgess, I.F. A Cosmetically Acceptable Dye Product to Improve Detection of Head Louse Eggs and Nits. Cosmetics 2020, 7, 19.

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