More Parents Outsourcing Lice Removal to 'Upscale' Salons

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Delousing has gone upscale thanks to dozens of swanky lice salons springing up in major cities across the country, according to a report in the Baltimore Sun.

But health experts are concerned that parents are treating a potentially serious health problem as casually as getting an eyebrow wax or a new hairdo.

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Even so, salons are popping up from New York to Los Angeles and Chicago to San Francisco partly because lice has become increasingly resistant to prescription drugs and over-the-counter remedies.

Richard Pollack, a Harvard University public health entomologist, questions the value of the chic delousing boutiques, some of which charge clients upwards of $100 an hour. "They seem to be growing like the McDonald's franchise," he told the Baltimore Sun.

Hair Fairies, which has salons in Los Angeles, New York City, San Francisco and Chicago, offers "elegant designer-appointed clinical salons that rival any designer hair salon" and provide Game Boys and children's videos on giant flat-screens and portable DVD players, according to a press release from the company. It also offers high-end magazines and high-speed wireless Internet access for adults.

But experts say some of the trendy salons also use "natural" lice-removal products that are not proven delousers.

"The 'natural' product, you don't have to prove it's safe or effective," Dr. Barbara Frankowski, former chairwoman of the American Academy of Pediatrics Council on School Health and a Vermont pediatrician, told the Baltimore Sun. "Some of those natural products can cause side effects. You have to be careful."