Service includes painstaking strand by strand nit removal because ‘Lice happens’
Sara Vogtlin and her mother, Brenda Boser, are on a mission to help people afflicted with head lice — not only to rid them of lice, but to abolish the stigma associated with them.
Vogtlin’s new salon, Lice and Nit-Picky, is open at 107 1/2 Third Ave. N.E., Pierz, on the east side of the KS Therapeutic Massage building. Boser, who has a nursing background, works with her daughter.
The journey started in April 2012, when Vogtlin found out a family member had head lice and thought, “Oh, poor them!” she said.
The next month, she realized her own family had been afflicted. They had been itching for three weeks.
“I thought it was the laundry soap or new shampoo and finally thought, ‘Oh my gosh, I bet we have lice,’” she said.
After researching what to look for, she found a moving bug in her youngest child’s hair the last week of school.
What followed was a period of stress and shame.
Vogtlin said she felt like her home had been invaded and she had lost control.
“I felt helpless and wanted to know everything about it,” she said.
The family first used over-the-counter treatments — twice. Vogtlin went through her home top to bottom, but still couldn’t get rid of the lice.
“That’s when we decided ‘OK, there’s got to be something better,’” Vogtlin said.
Boser said chemicals like Permethrin are found in over-the-counter lice treatments and are toxic. “The chemicals we’re putting on our kids’ heads is terrible. “Permethrin,” she said, “is used to kill trees. It’s toxic, toxic stuff.”
Vogtlin found a salon in the Twin Cities that uses all-natural products through the “Shepherd Method.”
“We went down there and had our head lice removal treatments and after I calmed down and learned everything, I thought, ‘I can do this; I can help other people that are feeling like me,’” she said.
Vogtlin figured her family spent more than $1,000, between the over-the-counter drugs, lost time from work, travel costs to the Twin Cities and finally, the treatment that worked.
In November, she traveled to Palm Beach, Fla. to train in the Shepherd’s Method of lice removal. She and Boser are now both certified technicians in the process.
What she learned took the fear and stigma away. “I’m so excited to share with everybody about it. I took the power to go and find out about it instead of just keeping it inside and never letting anybody know.”
Much of the information available is more than 30 years old, she said. And the nearest professional help, she learned, was in the Twin Cities — until now.
Vogtlin learned that the parasite head lice don’t like dirty areas, but prefer clean heads, debunking the myth that it is lack of cleanliness or personal hygiene that attracts lice.
Lice are spread by head-to-head contact. “It’s like a monkey in a jungle swinging from vine to vine,” said Vogtlin. “They actually need hair to hair, head to head contact.” Fewer than 5 percent are transmitted, “By a hitchhiker on an abandoned strand of hair in the helmet, or comb or hair ties,” she said.
Brenda said, “Adults have their personal space, but kids play, they’re hands-on.”
An adult, called a “louse,” uses it’s own glue to attach eggs called “nits” to strands of hair on the head.
Adult head lice, 2-3 millimeters long, attach their eggs to the base of the hair shaft and move by crawling, using their claws to hold on. They cannot hop or fly.
People can suffer for three to six months because they don’t know they have the problem, Boser said. Lice don’t wash out.
“Lice can hold their breath for two hours so water doesn’t affect them,” Vogtlin said. “They actually hold on for dear life when immersed in water.”
The eggs, although visible if someone is looking for them, are tiny and with the glue are hard to remove.
Vogtlin and Boser use all-natural products that dissolve the glue — and using a metal comb with teeth so close together light doesn’t shine through, go through a person’s hair strand by strand to remove lice, the nymphs and nits — hence the name “Lice and Nit-picky.”
Lice have been around throughout history. The old phrase “nit-picky,” comes from the task of removing nits from someone’s hair, a tedious activity that requires close attention and care.
Brenda said the phrase “a lousy night’s sleep” also refers to lice, as when a person is itching, it’s hard to sleep.
The two are excited to share their knowledge and help people get rid of lice, the stigma and the shame, because as they learned, “Lice happens.”
Vogtlin will speak on the subject at a nurse’s conference in Brainerd in April. The two have also contacted more than 100 schools to offer their services and information.
A head lice removal treatment can take up to two hours per person and they guarantee their work provided their guidelines are followed.
They are happy to visit with anyone about the issue and their services. Contact the salon at (320) 232-0414.