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Treating head lice with tea tree oil

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One of the most frustrating parts of being a parent is the head lice experience. When your child comes home with nits/eggs in their hair, the battle begins.

Some fast facts about headlice

  • girls are 2-4 times more likely to experience head lice, due to longer hair length
  • head lice spread through head-to-head contact
  • head lice don’t always make the scalp/head itchy – it’s important to perform regular checks on your child’s hair
  • head lice don’t survive for very long off the human head – it’s best to focus your treatment on the hair, not the house

One of the biggest problems with head lice is a lot of people don’t know how to treat them properly. Do you use a chemical shampoo that will only kill live lice and not the eggs? Or would you rather opt for a more natural chemical-free treatment to use on your child’s hair?

Using tea tree oil as a natural alternative to remove lice

There’s no magical cure for head lice, but a lot of people want a natural alternative treatment that doesn’t fill their child’s hair with chemicals.

Head lice are difficult to treat because:-

  • lice have become resistant to a lot of the insecticides on the market that have been designed to kill them
  • there is no product that kills both the lice and their eggs at one time
  • people don’t like pouring toxic chemicals onto their child’s hair 
  • the ‘conditioner combing’ method is very time consuming, and you only need to miss one single egg for the cycle to begin all over again

tea-tree-oil-head-lice-magnified-viewWhy is tea tree oil harmful to head lice?

Tea tree oil contains antiseptic properties and is a popular alternative treatment for skin infections. Past research has indicated that tea tree oil is a promising treatment for head lice. It has been discovered that the slippery nature of the tea tree oil can block the transmission of head lice from hair to hair.

Other research has found that a shampoo containing paw paw, thyme oil and tea tree oil can be toxic to head lice.

How do I use tea tree oil as a head lice treatment?

Here’s a method for a tea tree oil lice removal shampoo:-

Ingredients
1 teaspoon of tea tree oil
1 teaspoon of eucalyptus or rosemary oil
3 tablespoons of olive oil
small amount of regular shampoo

Mix all ingredients together, and thoroughly massage into wet hair. Pop on a snug fitting shower cap and allow the mixture to sit on the hair for at least 30-40 minutes. Wash your hair to remove the mixture - you may need to shampoo two or three times to get all of the oil out completely.

Side effects and warnings before using tea tree oil to treat head lice

In some people tea tree oil can cause an allergic reaction that may include redness, blisters, rash and/or itching when applied directly to the skin. It’s a good idea to apply a small amount of tea tree oil to the scalp first to test for any possible allergic reaction. If you have a known allergy to tea tree oil do not use it as a treatment for head lice.

The content on this website is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek medical advice for any questions regarding a medical condition.