To the Editor.—
I was most intrigued by Dr Litt's explanation regarding the rarity of pediculosis capitis in blacks in the July Archives (114:1099, 1978). This is typical of the famous tale of "five blind men and the elephant." I wish Dr Litt had done some more homework before rushing off to John Epstein's postbox. There are other populations in this mortal world that use hair oils and creams fairly regularly and liberally. In most parts of the Indian subcontinent, hair oil is used daily after the bath and pediculosis capitis is not exactly unknown in this part of the world! We have, by our epidemiologic and in vitro and in vivo studies,1,2 shown that vegetable hair oils prevent the growth of dermatophytes in the culture medium, prevent penetration of the human scalp hair, and reduce the duration of infection of experimentally induced dermatophytosis in guinea pigs.Perhaps the
Bhutani LK. Pediculosis Capitis. Arch Dermatol. 1979;115(6):675. doi:10.1001/archderm.1979.04010060001001
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