Lice: old and new remedies

Lice represent an age-old problem for humans; these parasites that feed on blood have proved to be particularly tenacious and still threaten our daily lives, despite the clear general improvement in hygiene conditions.

To combat lice infestations, the most disparate methods have been used over the centuries:

  • the use of mercury-based solutions and ointments;
  • rinses with white vinegar diluted in water;
  • complete shaving, a radical solution practiced especially among the most basic social classes and in the communities where they lived closely, such as barracks and boarding schools.

But the remedy par excellence against lice was the fine-tooth comb, like the ones we keep in our shop; for greater effectiveness, the comb could be immersed in olive oil which, thanks to its consistency, made it possible to capture lice and eggs (nits) and at the same time moisturize the irritated areas.

Pettine per pidocchi

An ancient fine-tooth comb made of bone kept at Antica Barbieria Colla


Although today there are various chemical products to treat lice and there are even electric combs on the market, the fine-tooth comb remains the most valid remedy, especially to eliminate nits that are very small and tend to “stick” to the hair and the scalp.

The intervention with the comb is an operation that requires time and patience, it should preferably be carried out in daylight, near a window, repeated for several days and at the end it is essential to soak the comb in boiling water to eliminate the eggs .