Sklice (Ivermectin) - Topical

What is Sklice?

Sklice is an over-the-counter (OTC) topical 0.5% lotion used to treat head lice in people 6 months or older. For head lice treatment, ivermectin is a semisynthetic antiparasitic medication (kills parasites). It works to kill the parasitic insects that cause head lice by binding to the glutamate-gated chloride ion channels in their nerve and muscle cells.

Drug Facts

Generic Name: Ivermectin

Brand Name(s): Sklice

Drug Availability: Over-the-counter (OTC)

Therapeutic Classification: Antiparasitic

Available Generically: Yes

Controlled Substance: N/A

Administration Route: Topical

Active Ingredient: Ivermectin (0.5%)

Dosage Form(s): Lotion

What Is Sklice Used For?

Sklice treats head lice in people 6 months or older. Around 6 to 12 million head lice infestations happen each year in the United States in children ages 3 to 11 years. The percentage of infestations worldwide is challenging to capture.

Sklice (Ivermectin) Drug Information - A person with long hair and a hand touching the hair

Verywell / Zoe Hansen

How to Take Sklice

For Sklice topical lotion:

  • Wash your hands with soap and water before and after use. 
  • Only use this medication once before talking with your healthcare provider. 
  • Do not use this medicine to treat lice in the eyebrows or eyelashes. If you have lice in your eyebrows or eyelashes, check with your healthcare provider first.
  • Sklice is for external use only. 
  • Be sure to read all directions on the package before applying the product.
  • Only use it on your hair and scalp. 
  • Your hair and scalp must be dry before applying the medication. 
  • Do not get this medication in your eyes, nose, mouth, or vagina. 
  • If it gets in your eyes, rinse them well with water.  
  • To avoid contact with your eyes when applying Sklice, you should keep your eyes tightly closed and protect them with a washcloth or towel. 
  • Children will need an adult to apply the medicine for them.

Sklice application:

  • Apply Sklice directly to dry hair. 
  • Start closest to your scalp and then apply outward.
  • Important: Cover your entire scalp and hair, from roots to tips, so that all lice and eggs are exposed to the lotion. 
  • Use the whole tube of medicine, if needed.
  • Allow the lotion to stay on your hair and scalp for 10 minutes after it has been applied. 
  • After 10 minutes, rinse your hair with warm water only. 
  • Dry with a clean towel. 
  • Comb your hair with a fine-toothed comb to remove nits (eggs) or nit shells. They look like small white dots. 
  • Throw away any unused medicine. 
  • Wait for 24 hours before applying shampoo to the treated hair and scalp.


Sklice should be stored in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light. Do not freeze.

Keep your medications out of the reach of children and pets, ideally locked in a cabinet or closet.

If you plan to travel with Sklice, get familiar with your final destination's regulations. If you have any questions about traveling with your medicine, ask your pharmacist or healthcare provider.

Discard all unused and expired drugs, but do not pour them down the drain or in the toilet. Ask your pharmacist or healthcare provider about the best ways to dispose of this medicine. And check out drug take-back programs in your area.

How Long Does Sklice Take to Work?

You should be lice-free in two weeks after using Sklice.

Off-Label Uses

Topical ivermectin has been used for treatment-resistant scabies.

What are the Side Effects of Sklice?

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. A healthcare provider can advise you on side effects. If you experience other effects, contact your pharmacist or a healthcare provider. You may report side effects to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) at or 800-FDA-1088.

Common Side Effects

For Sklice topical lotion:

  • Eye redness, soreness, or irritation
  • Dandruff
  • Dry skin
  • Burning sensation

Severe Side Effects

Call your healthcare provider immediately if you notice any signs of an allergic reaction, such as itching, hives, swelling in your face or hands, swelling or tingling in your mouth or throat, chest tightness, or trouble breathing. If your symptoms feel life-threatening or you think you have a medical emergency, please call 911.

Long-Term Side Effects

There are no known long-term side effects of these medications.

Report Side Effects

Sklice may cause other side effects. Call your healthcare provider if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication.

If you experience a serious side effect, you or your provider may send a report to the FDA's MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting Program or by phone (800-332-1088).

Dosage: How Much Sklice Should I Take?

Drug Content Provided and Reviewed by IBM Micromedex.

The dose of this medicine will be different for different people. Follow your healthcare provider's orders or the directions on the label. The following information includes only the average doses of this medicine. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your healthcare provider tells you to.

The amount of medicine that you take depends on the strength of the medicine. Also, the number of doses you take each day, the time allowed between doses, and the length of time you take the medicine depend on the medical problem for which you are using the medicine.

The topical dosage form (lotion) for head lice:

  • Adults and children 6 months and older—Apply directly to dry hair and scalp one time only.
  • Children younger than 6 months—Use is not recommended.


The following modifications (changes) should be kept in mind when using Sklice:

Severe allergic reaction: Avoid using Sklice if you have a known allergy to them or any of its ingredients. Ask your pharmacist or healthcare provider for a complete list of the ingredients if you're unsure.

Pregnancy: We don't know enough about the safety and effectiveness of Sklice in pregnant people and on their unborn fetuses. Discuss with your healthcare provider if you plan to become pregnant or are pregnant, and to weigh the benefits and risks of using Sklice during your pregnancy.

Breastfeeding: Sklice may be present in breastmilk. We don't know enough about the safety of Sklice in human breastmilk and nursing babies. Talk with your healthcare provider if you plan to breastfeed, to weigh the benefits and risks of taking Sklice while nursing and the different ways to feed your baby.

Missed Dose

If you accidentally forgot your Sklice dose, apply it as soon as you remember. If it's already close to your next scheduled dose, then skip the missed dose and apply the following amount at your next scheduled dosing time. Don't try to double up to make up for the missed dose.

Try to find ways that work for you to help yourself remember to routinely take your medication. If you miss too many doses, Sklice might be less effective at treating your condition.

Overdose: What Happens If I Take Too Much Sklice?

Because Sklice is a topical medication, the possibility of overdose is extremely rare. However, in the case of accidental ingestion, supportive therapy can be used. Contact poison control if either product is accidentally ingested.

If you think you're experiencing an overdose or life-threatening symptoms, seek immediate medical attention.

What Happens If I Overdose on Sklice?

If you think you or someone else may have overdosed on Sklice, call a healthcare provider or the Poison Control Center (800-222-1222).

If someone collapses or isn't breathing after taking Sklice, call 911 immediately.


Drug Content Provided and Reviewed by IBM Micromedex.

  • Head lice can quickly spread from one person to another by direct contact with clothing, hats, bandannas, scarves, bedding, towels, washcloths, ribbons, hair bands, helmets, hairbrushes, combs, or hairs from infected persons.
  • All household members should be checked for head lice and receive treatment if infected. If you have any questions about this, check with your healthcare provider.
  • To prevent the spread of lice: Dry-clean or wash your clothes, bedding, and personal items (including washcloths, towels, hats, scarves, combs, brushes, hairpieces, and wigs) in hot, soapy water. Tumble dry in a hot dryer for 20 minutes.
  • Call your healthcare provider right away if you have trouble breathing, eye irritation, skin or scalp irritation, or rash after using Sklice.
  • Do not use this medicine for a hair or scalp problem that your healthcare provider has not checked.
  • Do not use this medicine to treat lice in the eyebrows or eyelashes. If you have lice in these areas, check with your healthcare provider.

What Are Reasons I Shouldn’t Take Sklice?

If you're allergic to Sklice or any of their ingredients, avoid using them. Ask your pharmacist or healthcare provider for a complete list of the ingredients if you're unsure.

What Other Medications Interact With Sklice?

There are no specific drug interactions for topical ivermectin. For more detailed information about medication interactions with Sklice, talk with your pharmacist or healthcare provider.

And be sure to talk with your healthcare provider about any other medicines that you take or plan to take, including over-the-counter (OTC), nonprescription products, vitamins, herbs, or plant-based medicines.

What Medications Are Similar?

The following medicines have been used to topically treat rosacea:

  • Adapalene
  • Benzoyl peroxide
  • Clindamycin
  • Erythromycin
  • Metronidazole
  • Mirvaso (brimonidine gel)
  • Permethrin
  • Skinoren, Finacea (azelaic acid)
  • Silymarin and methylsulfonylmethane
  • Sulfacetamide/sulfur
  • Tretinoin

The following OTC medicines have been used to topically treat head lice:

The following prescription medicines have been used to topically treat head lice:

  • Natroba
  • Xeglyze

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is Sklice used for?

    Sklice is used to treat head lice.

  • Do I need a prescription for Sklice?

    No. Sklice is available over-the-counter.

  • How fast will Sklice completely get rid of my lice?

    You should be lice-free in two weeks after using Sklice.

How Can I Stay Healthy While Taking Sklice?

If you're using Sklice to treat head lice:

  • Everyone in your household should also be checked for lice for the next seven days after treatment.
  • If someone else has head lice, they should also be treated with Sklice or another treatment, such as Nix.
  • Machine wash any bedding and clothing used by anyone with lice.
  • Machine wash at high temperatures (150°F) and tumble in a hot dryer for 20 minutes.
  • You should also wash personal care items in hot, soapy water, including brushes.
  • Avoid sleepovers and slumber parties during lice outbreaks.
  • Be aware that sharing combs, brushes, hats, scarves, bandannas, ribbons, barrettes, hair bands, towels, helmets, or other hair-related products may result in exposure to lice.
  • Note that "Lice Clinics" or head lice removal services may be available in your area to help you treat yourself or your family members. Check them out!

Medical Disclaimer

Verywell Health's drug information is meant for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from a healthcare provider. Consult your healthcare provider before taking any new medication(s). IBM Watson Micromedex provides some of the drug content, as indicated on the page.

7 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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  2. Centers for Disease Control. Head lice: epidemiology & risk factors.

  3. Falagas ME, Matthaiou DK, Rafailidis PI, Panos G, Pappas G. Worldwide prevalence of head liceEmerg Infect Dis. 2008;14(9):1493-1494.

  4. Early J, MacNaughton H. Ivermectin lotion (Sklice) for head liceAFP. 2014;89(12):984-986.

  5. Bassi A, Piccolo V, Argenziano G, Mazzatenta C. Topical ivermectin: an off-label alternative to treat neonatal Scabies in the era of permethrin resistanceJ Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol. 2022.

  6. Oge’ LK, Herbert L. Muncie J, Phillips-Savoy AR. Rosacea: diagnosis and treatmentAFP. 2015;92(3):187-196.

  7. Food and Drug Administration. Treating and preventing head lice.