Sick of the kids coming home with head lice? Use tea tree oil to make your own lice treatment.
How does tea tree oil work as a natural head lice treatment?
Tea tree oil contains natural insecticide properties which help to treat head lice very effectively without any side effects from using chemicals. The oil is distilled from the leaves of the Melaleuca alternifolia plant which is native to Australia.
Tea tree oil will kill head lice and also soothe and help heal an irritated scalp that has been affected by the constant itching due to head lice.
How to use tea tree oil as a lice treatment
Head lice are a painful and itchy problem so remember to treat everyone in your household as the lice can easily travel from head to head.
You must continue to follow one of the below treatments until all traces of head lice and nits (eggs) are gone.
Make sure that no other family members use the same comb, brushes, towels or pillows as the person infected with lice.
Using tea tree oil shampoo as a lice treatment
Using a shampoo and conditioner that contains tea tree oil is one of the best ways to rid your hair of lice. Here’s a couple of ways of using tea tree oil shampoo as a natural treatment to combat lice:-
Method 1: Using tea tree oil with coconut oil and shampoo
- Combine 1 teaspoon of tea tree oil, 1 oz of natural shampoo and 3 tablespoons of coconut oil (or olive oil).
- Mix these ingredients together.
- Apply this mixture all over the hair.
- Cover the hair with a plastic shower cap and leave for approx. half an hour.
- Wash mixture out with warm water, then comb your hair with a lice comb (fine teeth) whilst it’s still wet to remove the dead lice and any eggs.
Repeat this process every couple of days until the head lice have gone completely and there is no trace of eggs (nits).
Method 2: DIY tea tree oil shampoo
- Add 3-4 drops of tea tree oil to one ounce of your normal shampoo.
- Replace the lid of the bottle and shake to mix well.
- Wet hair and apply shampoo all over, then cover with a plastic shower cap and leave on for at least half an hour.
- Wash out the shampoo and then run a fine tooth comb through the hair to remove any eggs and dead lice.
You can also use this shampoo to wash your hair as part of your normal routine to prevent future outbreaks of head lice.
Make your own head lice treatment using tea tree oil
When applied to the hair, tea tree oil will successfully kill head lice and eggs (nits). Quite often when using chemical-based shampoos the eggs will survive, and in a few days time will hatch and there’ll be a new infestation of head lice in the hair.
For a harmless treatment on your scalp that will remove lice and the nits, use all-natural tea tree oil for optimum results… here’s how:-
- Sprinkle a few drops of tea tree oil onto your hair and scalp.
- Leave on overnight so it has a chance to kill some lice and eggs.
- You can plait your hair after applying the oil before sleeping.
- In the morning, comb your hair with a special head lice comb to remove lice and eggs from your hair.
- After combing, wash hair with shampoo containing tea tree oil, following up with conditioner containing tea tree oil. You can simply add a few drops of the oil to your normal shampoo and conditioner.
Continue the above process regularly to get rid of lice from the hair.
How to prevent head lice with tea tree oil
No one knows for sure how tea tree oil works to prevent head lice, but it has definitely worked in our family. Perhaps the strong smell and the oiliness of the hair shaft wards them off, but the best way of preventing head lice being transferred to your child’s hair is to use a tea tree oil spray in their hair before they go to school/daycare, etc.
Make your own head lice prevention spray using tea tree oil
You can buy fancy sprays that contain tea tree oil, but it’s much cheaper to make your own:-
- Buy an empty spray bottle and fill almost to the top with water.
- Add approx. 8-10 drops of pure tea tree oil to the bottle.
- Shake well to combine the oil and water.
- Simply spray on your child’s hair and comb through to distribute evenly, then style as usual.
It’s a good idea to put your child’s hair in plaits (if long) and then apply hairspray after styling. Having ‘flyaway’ pieces of hair puts your child at risk of having head lice ‘climb’ from another child’s hair onto theirs, so it’s best to keep all hair tucked away neatly.
You can also add a squirt of conditioner to help with de-tangling. It doesn’t take much time to make the spray or apply it to your child’s hair, but it will save hours of heartache if you are suddenly faced with an infestation of head lice.
For shorter hair that doesn’t require a lot of styling, make sure your child uses a shampoo and conditioner that contains tea tree oil.
Caution when using tea tree oil to treat head lice
Tea tree oil can cause an allergic reaction in rare cases so always use with caution. Always test on a small area of the skin before applying to hair and scalp.
Never ingest tea tree oil as it can cause toxicity, with side effects such as diarrhea, drowsiness, confusion, and in severe cases coma.
As with a lot of essential oils, tea tree oil should never be used by pregnant or breast feeding women.