Nix Pubic Lice Treatment

Lice and other plagues
Lice and other plagues (Image: "2008-04-19_02 More plagues" is Copyrighted by Flickr user: adamsofen (Adam Sofen) under the Creative Commons Attribution license.)

Pubic lice (also known as crabs) infect the body’s pubic area, causing severe itching. Nix, an over-the-counter cream that contains permethrin, is an effective treatment for various types of lice, including pubic. Two treatments over a period of one week, using a Nix-based solution, are an effective way to kill pubic lice and the eggs (nits) that they lay.


Nix is a cream-rinse treatment that kills lice. It contains 1 percent permethrin, a synthetic chemical used as an insecticide. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends using a shampoo or solution that contains 1 percent permethrin to treat infestations of pubic lice. Nix can be purchased at pharmacies without a prescription.


Pubic lice are also known as crabs because of their crab-like appearance and are generally picked up through sexual contact with an infected person. Pubic lice live and lay eggs in the pubic area. It may take several weeks for an infestation to appear because pubic lice take time to breed. The most obvious symptom is itching in the body’s pubic area. Nits also may be visible on pubic hairs.


Before applying a Nix treatment for pubic lice, thoroughly wash and dry pubic hairs. Then apply about 2 ounces of Nix to the dried pubic hair, adding enough warm water to work it into a lather. Wash the pubic area thoroughly, being especially sure to work the solution into the roots of the hair. To kill pubic lice, leave the Nix-based lather on for a full 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, rinse your pubic region thoroughly and dry with a clean towel.


Leaving a Nix-based solution on for 20 minutes should kill pubic lice. Wait three hours after the treatment to remove dead nits. This gives the solution enough time to permeate the nits and kill them. To loosen nits, use a 50-50 mixture of warm water and vinegar. Remove dead nits with the fingers or a fine-tooth comb.

Follow-Up Treatment

Repeat the Nix treatment in one week to ensure that all lice and nits have been killed. A recurring infestation of pubic lice usually means another contact with an infected person, failure to repeat the treatment, or that the solution was not left on for the full 20 minutes. Even after successful treatments with Nix, itching in the pubic area may continue for one to two weeks.


Because pubic lice can be easily spread by sexual contact, avoid sexual activity for two weeks after treatment with Nix. In addition, any sexual partners in the past month should undergo treatment, even if they show no signs of pubic lice.

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