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Effectiveness of lotions based on essential oils from aromatic plants against permethrin resistant Pediculus humanus capitis


In Argentina, field populations of the head louse Pediculus humanus capitis De Geer (Phthiraptera: Pediculidae) have developed resistance to permethrin and other pyrethroids. Thus, the aim of this work was the development of a lotion containing essential oils from plants and an alcoholic coadjuvant to improve biological effect. Ethanol + isopropanol (1 + 1 in volume) 50% in water and ethanol 96% were taken as bases for preparation of experimental lotions containing essential oils from plants. We found that experimental lotions containing lavender, peppermint and eucalyptus oils in a 5% composition and the combination of eucalyptus and peppermint in a total concentration of 10%, dissolved in 50% ethanol + isopropanol (1 + 1) in water, showed the best knockdown effect. On the other side, lotion containing peppermint oil and eucalyptus oil (1 + 1) 10%, dissolved in ethanol 96%, showed to be as effective as the best commercial lotion now available in Argentina. Furthermore, addition of 1-dodecanol in all cases increased the effectiveness of all the experimental lotions. This difference is significantly important for 1-dodecanol concentration of 10%, reaching a toxic activity compared to the best commercial lotion available in the market.

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We are especially grateful to Mercedes Mantesi, Isabel Cañete and Rosa Flores from Hogar Belgrano. This investigation received financial support from ELEA S.A. (Argentina) and the Agencia Nacional de Promoción Científica (Argentina).

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Correspondence to Paola Gonzalez Audino.

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Gonzalez Audino, P., Vassena, C., Zerba, E. et al. Effectiveness of lotions based on essential oils from aromatic plants against permethrin resistant Pediculus humanus capitis . Arch Dermatol Res 299, 389 (2007).

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  • Head lice
  • Essential oil
  • 1-dodecanol
  • Knock down activity
  • Permethrin resistant