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Head lice are not a sign of poor hygieneStage Image

Head lice are not a sign of poor hygiene

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Apaisyl® Détect Lentes

Getting rid of lice easily

2014/12/17

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People with lice want to get rid of them fast. That is why the efficient anti-lice lotion Apaisyl® Poux has been a bestseller in France for many years now. EMD has also developed a product for detecting nits, in response to customer requests for an even easier method of eliminating the creepy crawlies.

Theo has just turned seven and he and his friend Camille are celebrating his birthday at an outdoor swimming pool. After drying Camille’s long hair, Theo’s mother is combing it when she finds something moving between the comb teeth. After her initial shock, Theo’s mother realizes that lice are crawling around in Camille’s hair. “I’m so embarrassed that my daughter, of all people, has lice,” says Marlène Rousseau, a realtor in Dijon, France. In her family, good hygiene is a given and nobody, not even Camille’s cousins, has ever had lice before.

Lice are a nuisance


However, Camille’s case is not uncommon — on the contrary. People with children know all about lice. Although lice infestation is still mainly associated with poverty and poor hygiene, it affects millions of people worldwide every year irrelevant of social class and is especially common in children aged six to eight. Although there are no precise figures, a study conducted by the market research company Ipsos in 2012 suggests that about six percent of the French population have head lice. The little bloodsuckers in people’s hair are extremely annoying; those affected suffer from an itchy scalp and the open sores are an ideal breeding ground for bacteria and viruses.

“We put ourselves into the customers’ shoes in order to understand their needs.“

Christel Rabiaza
Project Manager
Research & Development

Lice are tenacious, agile, and averse to light. A louse comb alone cannot catch all of them. So it’s no surprise that effective treatments to kill lice are in great demand. That is why Apaisyl® Poux, an anti-lice lotion from EMD’s Consumer Health division, has long been a bestseller in France. However, Apaisyl® Poux only helps if the scalp is already itchy and the annoying pests have already infested their host’s hair.
  • Christel Rabiaza heads the project at EMD in France
  • Christel Rabiaza heads the project at EMD in France
    © EMD

    Wanted: A product for detecting nits


    What has been lacking until now is a means of easily determining whether lice treatment is necessary and if so, was it successful in killing all lice and nits. Such a product is necessary as nits are almost invisible to the naked eye. With a length of 0.8 millimeters, the nits are much smaller than a grain of rice. To make matters worse, they are also translucent. In response to customer requests, EMD  took up the challenge of developing a reliable lice indicator.

    “The research and development team put itself into the customers’ shoes in order to precisely understand their needs,” said Christel Rabiaza, who manages the project in France. Most of the customers are women with an average age of 42 years, who have children under the age of 15. The research project showed that the customers needed a product that dyes the nits, but not the person’s hair or skin. The solution the developers came up with was Apaisyl® Détect Lentes.
    After hatching, the larva leaves its empty shell in the hair — Apaisyl® Détect Lentes dyes these nits and makes them visible

    After hatching, the larva leaves its empty shell in the hair — Apaisyl® Détect Lentes dyes these nits and makes them visible

    © Getty Images

  • Apaisyl® Détect Lentes is currently available only in France
  • Apaisyl® Détect Lentes is currently available only in France
    © EMD

    Lice indicator makes nits visible


    The product can be applied quickly and easily. After the user puts on the gloves provided in the package, he or she applies the gel to the affected person’s hair, waits few minutes, then rinses the hair with plenty of water and applies a neutral shampoo. Apaisyl® Détect Lentes reveals the nits by dyeing them blue. As most people know, nits are not easy to locate. By dyeing them blue, they are visible and an adapted treating product can be used. But why blue? “We tried out a variety of colors, but blue creates a good contrast to the various hair colors,” explained Christel Rabiaza. Clinical studies have confirmed that the lice detection gel is very effective when used on human beings and is well tolerated.
    The gel was initially launched in France in May 2014, and it is already a big hit there. “Apaisyl® Détect Lentes is a great example of customer orientation. We recognized the demand and created a targeted product that helps the end consumers,” says Laure Niepce, who is responsible for marketing Apaisyl® in France. The cases of lice infestation will increase drastically after the summer vacation is over, when the children put their heads together again while learning or playing.

    The nightmare on Camille’s head will be a distant memory by then. Marlène Rousseau used Apaisyl® Poux to fight the lice and repeated the treatment seven days and fourteen days after the first application. The lice were then eliminated for good. “I used the detection gel before and after I washed her hair with the anti-lice product. It helped to confirm that my daughter has nits and to show if some were still in her hair after the treatment. It takes a weight off your mind,” she said.

    2014/12/17

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    How Apaisyl® Détect Lentes works
    Nits contain a tiny embryo and are attached near the base of hair shafts. After hatching, the larvae leave the empty shells (nits) in the hair until the nits are removed by combing. Biochemical analyses have shown that the nits consist of polysaccharides and proteins. The active ingredient in the detection gel is a blue dye. The substance reacts with the nits’ proteins, creating a special compound that triggers the production of the blue dye.

    Theoretically, the substance could also dye people’s skin, which is also made up in part of proteins, but only if the gel stays on the hands longer than the indicated time. That is why EMD recommends wearing the gloves and rinsing the gel out in a timely manner.

     
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