What Happens If You Leave Permethrin Cream On Too Long? | What Happens If Permethrin Is Not Washed Off?

Permethrin can be used to treat scabies, a condition caused by small mites called insects that infest and irritate the skin. Permethrin works by killing insects and their eggs.

  • Permethrin may be used for pubic lice.
  • Permethrin is available in the following different brand names: Elimite, Nix, and Acticin.

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Table of Contents

How to use permethrin cream?

This medicine is only used on the skin. Apply this medication after the doctor prescribes it. Apply for the medicine from your head to the bottoms of your feet, including under the nails and in skin toes, as directed. Massage the cream into your skin. Do not use more medicine than prescribed.

Avoid getting the cream into your mouth, nose, eyes, or vagina. If the medication gets into your eyes, flush the eyes with lots of water. Consult with the doctor if irritation persists.

What happens if you leave permethrin cream on too long?

Skin irritation, including itching, swelling, and redness, occurs with scabies and worsens after permethrin treatment. Mild burning and stinging also occur. If any of those side effects continue or worsen, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly.

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Side effects

There are some side effects of permethrin:

  • Mild burning and stinging
  • Skin swelling
  • Skin redness
  • Skin rash
  • Itching

This document does not include all possible side effects, and others can occur. Check with the physician for additional information about side effects.

Also see: Redness And Swelling After Vaccination In Adults

What are dosages of permethrin?

  • Cream:5%
  • Liquid:1%
  • Lotion:1%

Dosage Considerations Given as  Follows:


  • Cream: Apply to your head to toe, leave on for 9-14 hours, rinse; can reapply in 7 days if live insects reappear
  • The single application is curative

Head Lice and Nits (Eggs)

  • Lotion/liquid: apply to your washed hair, leave on 9-10 minutes, wash and clean out eggs; may repeat in 7 days if insects or nits still present
  • The single application is usually curative.

Scabies and Head Lice, Pediatric

Children under two months

  • Safety and effectiveness not established

Children over two months

  • Scabies: Apply the head to toe; leave on for 8-14 hours, clean; may reapply in 7 days if live insects reappear; single application curative
  • Head Lice and Nits: Apply lotion/cream to washed hair, leave on 9-10 min, wash and clean out nits and eggs; may repeat in 7 days if lice or nits still present; single application curative.


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Before using permethrin medication, tell your pharmacist or doctor if you are allergic to it; or have other allergies. This product includes inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.

Before using this medication, tell the doctor or pharmacist about your skin infections and asthma history.

Repeated or forceful scratching of the skin and scalp can lead to a bacterial skin infection. Tell your doctor if you develop worsening pus or redness.

Talk with your doctor if you are pregnant before using this medication. This drug passes in your breast milk but is harms a nursing infant. Consult with a doctor before breastfeeding.


Your pharmacist may be aware of all possible drug interactions and may be monitoring you for them. Do not start or stop or change the medicine dosage before checking with your doctor or pharmacist first.

Before using and applying this medication on your skin, tell your doctor of all prescription and herbal products you may use.

Warnings for permethrin

This medicine contains permethrin. Do not take Elimite, Nix, or Acticin if you are allergic to permethrin or any ingredients contained in this drug.

In case you overdose, get medical help or contact a nearby poison control center immediately.


Store at room temperature in 59-77 degrees F (15-25 degrees C) away from light and rain. Please do not put it in the bathroom. Keep all medicines aside from children and pets.

Consult with your doctor, pharmacist, or local waste disposal company for further details about how to discard your product safely.

Let me know if you know any other tips that allow you to treat yourself the fastest way possible.

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