How to Treat Scabies in Hair


California State University at Northridge describes scabies as a skin condition that causes incessant itching in the scalp due to the burrowing of bugs called Scarcoptes scabiei, also known as the "human itch mite." The female mites dig into the scalp and lay their eggs, which causes irritation to the skin. Home remedies such as laundry detergent or hard soaps are not recommended; actually, these can make the condition worse. Over-the-counter corticosteroids or any other anti-itch cream are also not recommended unless prescribed by a dermatologist. When treating scabies in the scalp, use a prescription cream containing permethrin, a chemical that kills the mites.

Things You'll Need

  • Permethrin cream
  • Bug spray
  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Rub the prescription cream into the scalp, ensuring that the areas around the hairline, temple, neck and forehead are also covered. For the treatment to be effective, all skin must be covered. Leave on for 8 to 14 hours (or as recommended by a dermatologist), the wash out using regular shampoo. Repeat this step for anyone who has come in contact with the scabies; incubation for the bugs is six to eight weeks, so symptoms may not be visible immediately.

  • Wash any bedding such as sheets, blankets and pillowcases in the washing machine. Any clothing, scarves, towels or hats should also be washed immediately.

  • Spray bug spray on any items that cannot be put in the washing machine. This includes purses, belts and shoes. It is important to sanitize anything that has possibly come in contact with the infection.

  • Vacuum your home thoroughly; include carpets, couch cushions and curtains.

Tips & Warnings

  • Once the treatment has been completed, the mites will die inside the burrows; however, the carcasses of the bugs will be left. In time, white blood cells will destroy the remains, but until then, you may experience itching for up to three weeks after treatment. A corticosteroid cream or calamine lotion can be used during this time to remove the itch.
  • Do not use more than the prescribed amount of permethrin cream. The chemical can irritate skin further if used in excess.


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