Pubic lice: 8 Basic Facts you Should Know and How to Eliminate Them

Pubic lice are also called crabs. They are tiny, blood-sucking, wingless parasitic insects that attack the human genitals. Pubic lice infestation isn’t really a medical emergency, but it can cause extreme discomfort. Below are some facts about pubic lice.

READ ALSO: Pubic Lice (Crabs): All You Need to Know

  1. Crabs have a rounded body, six legs, and claws which help it hold onto coarse pubic hair. Crabs are crab-like appearance of public lice.
  2. Crabs cannot jump, instead they move by crawling from one host to another, just like head lice.
  3. Severe itching in the pubic area is perhaps the most common symptom of crabs. This itching is caused by an allergic reaction to the bites. Itching begins about five days after a person gets crabs.
  4. Pubic lice on children’s eyelashes may be a sign of sexual exposure, abuse, or using the belongings of an infected person.
  5. When you have pubic lice, it’s advisable to get tested for other STI’s. A check-up is regularly recommended as a precaution.
  6. Pubic lice itching becomes more severe at night because the lice tend to burrow when their host isn’t moving around much.
  7. Excessive scratching from itching leads to secondary bacterial infections.
  8. Gorilla is the only other animal known to be affected by pubic lice.

Home Remedies for Crabs

There are three home remedy categories for eliminating pubic lice. There are remedies for:

  • Killing the crabs
  • Relieving the itching
  • Prevent secondary infections.

To kill the crabs, you can use vinegar, Margosa leaves, or petroleum jelly.


Pubic lice can be destroyed using vinegar diluted with water in equal proportions. Mix a fair volume of the solution, then wet a large swab of cotton wool with the vinegar solution and dab against the infested area for at least 30 minutes. You should apply more vinegar-water solution to keep the swab wet. The crabs should all be dead after the 30 minutes. After this, remove their nits or eggs by scrubbing the area with a thick paste made from lemon juice mixed with sugar, salt, and honey.

READ ALSO: Can Apple Cider Vinegar Cure A Urinary tract infection?

Scrub the infected area gently with this paste to clean it and rid it of the nits. If other parts of your body have also been infected, soak your whole body in a vinegar-water solution and mix the whole bottle of vinegar with the bath water, enough to dip all the body. Then repeat with the lemon scrub as before, but this time scrub your whole body. If itching persists, repeat until it stops finally. Consult your doctor for additional check-ups.

Petroleum Jelly

Pubic lice can be suffocated to death by using petroleum jelly on the affected parts lice pubic hair, eyebrows, and eyelashes. Apply a liberal amount of the jelly to the infested area and leave on for some hours. You can repeat the treatment 2 or 3 times a day. Use a tea tree shampoo or dish washing liquid to wash it off. You can use lemon scrub or a fine-tooth comb to remove the nits.

Margosa (or Neem Tree) Leaves

Margosa leaves contains antiseptic properties. To use Margosa leaves, simply boil a handful of the leaves in a pan and add the infusion to your bath water. After soaking for at least 30 minutes in the bath, you can use the lemon scrub to clean the affected body parts.

How to Stop the Itching


You can relieve itching by bathing with oatmeal, aloe vera, or milk. After bathing, dust cornstarch or baby powder over the infested area to relieve the itching. You can also apply calamine lotion after a bath to relieve the itching.

READ ALSO: Grooming of Pubic Hair Linked to Higher rates of STD

Tea tree oil and peppermint oil are equally potent for soothing insect bites and preventing secondary infections. Peppermint oil can help soothe the inflamed area.

Shampoos and Lotions for Killing Crabs

There are a number of over-the-counter lotions and shampoos that are aimed at killing pubic lice. The active ingredient in these lotions and shampoos is a pesticide called pyrethrin or permethrin. When using shampoos and lotions, you may need to repeat the treatment after a week, in case any crabs or nits escaped the first application of the lotion.

Caution: These lotions contain a pesticide, so avoid applying the lotion again earlier than the 7 to 10 days.

Wash all clothing

You need to prevent getting re-infested by pubic lice after treatment. Even one nit that escapes the treatment can quickly multiply and infest a part of your body. So, you can avoid this by washing all clothing you used during and a little before the treatment. This may include bed sheets, blankets, towels, undies and other personal items during infestation. Wash the clothing in hot water (at least 54 C) and soap, and then dry them at high heat for 20 minutes. You can dry clean any item that cannot be washed.




Disclaimer: The content provided on is purely informative and educational in nature and should not be interpreted as medical advice. Please use the content only in consultation with an appropriate certified medical doctor or healthcare professional.


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