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Guide to Using Tea Tree Oil and Head Lice
Looking for an alternative to treating head lice? Latest studies on tea tree oil and head lice show the ingredients in tea tree oil may be an effective method to naturally fight this common scalp condition.
While many over-the-counter medications are effective, some products may contain harsh pesticides that can cause unwanted side effects.
Tea tree oils are a natural extract from the leaves of a plant called Melaleuca alternifolia. The plant species is native to Australia and the leaves and stems are distilled to produce the oils. These essential oils contain a number of potent ingredients that have anti-microbial properties. These same ingredients could also play a role in fighting or reducing the incidence of head lice in some people.
What Exactly is Head Lice?
Head lice are human parasites that infest your hair and scalp. There’s a common myth that head lice infections are due to unsanitary living conditions, but this is false because head lice can affect all ages and socio-economic classes.
Lice can’t jump or fly from one person’s head to another, so you can’t get infected being near someone with head lice. Infections usually occur when physical contact is made with a contaminated person. Sharing hats, combs, towels or other head wear is another method for increasing the risk for infestation.
The most effective ways to eliminate head lice is by using fine tooth combs or medication on the scalp and hair to kill off the adult lice. Most of these medications work like pesticides which attack the nervous system of the lice, thereby killing them. However, if you don’t want to expose yourself to pesticides, there are healthier alternatives.
Recent studies show tea tree oils may be an effective method for treating head lice.
Research Study on Tea Tree Oil and Head Lice
Dublin, Ireland – Researchers discover two active ingredients in tea tree oil can kill head lice:
The above ingredients work by inhibiting a specific enzyme in lice, resulting in nerve death. However, other important factors have to be considered for maximum effectiveness:
- The strength of tea tree oils used.
- How much oils are used for effective results.
- How long the oils are kept on the kill the lice.
- The number of treatments needed for lasting results.
How to Use Tea Tree Oil for Head Lice
One method is by pouring a small amount of your regular shampoo in your palm and adding 100% tea tree oil to it.
- Shampoo your hair and massage this mixture into your scalp. It’s recommended you do this every time you normally wash your hair.
- After shampooing your hair, use a nit comb to help remove lice from your scalp.
- Repeat this procedure 3 – 4 times per week until all of the head lice are gone.
You can also get tea tree oil shampoos that are conveniently pre-mixed with the oil and ready to use.
User’s Reviews from Using Tea Tree Oil on Head Lice
Many people have contacted me with their experiences when using these plant oils to treat head lice. Here’s a few samples:
“I treated my daughter with Rid two times, then used Nix and still found lice. I took her to the doctor and used a creme he prescribed. I still found lice days after that treatment as well. I tried a mixture of olive oil and tea tree oil to treat the lice; I saturated her hair with the mixture and put a shower cap on her. I left it for 30 minutes. I then put it on our shampoo and conditioner. The next 2 days she was clear and I have not found any head lice since then – it has been 5 days now! No nits no nothing! I will go on TV to advertise this stuff! I do not know why nothing could get rid of these things! I will update if anything changes but right now tea tree oil is my miracle!” – Suzanne
“I have been fighting head lice on my daughter for about 6 months (I think her classroom is infested at school). I get it cleared up and then a few nits show up after being back in school after vacations. All I do is pull out the few nits I see, then put pure tea tree oil on her scalp at night and in the morning I wash it out with a tea tree oil shampoo. I do this for about 5-7 days to make sure I kill anything that hatches (even when you comb out the nits you will most likely miss some). Then I have her shampoo with a tea tree oil shampoo on a regular basis. As I said, I know it works because the nits are gone for over a month, but if the classroom is infested, then there is a chance they will pick something up again. If you shampoo daily with a tea tree shampoo, they will most likely NOT get them again. But, if you shampoo every 2-3 days, (which happens often when we’re busy) they could get a bug again.” – Jennifer B, Placerville, CA
More Reviews from Actual People Who’ve Tried Tea Tree Oil for Head Lice:
‘Using Mixture of Oils to Kill Head Lice’
Hi, I am 28 year old special education teacher. About a week ago one of my students was infested with head lice. Since my class is primary MMR….
‘Tea Tree Oil is the Best Treatment for Head Lice!’
My 10 year old son contracted a bad case of head lice from school. I was worried about exposing him to pesticides so I was looking for a natural way….
‘Using tea tree oil for head lice, but just be aware….’
After being infested with lice for 8 months, I have been at my wits end, as none of the poisonous permethrins and other active ingredients worked. I….
‘Over it with tea tree oil…’
My two girls came home with head lice and we treated it with Nix and other lice treatments. However, this didn’t work. They still had it. We fought it….
‘Review of Paul Mitchell Tea Tree Shampoo for Head Lice’
My daughter, my mom & Dad live in a pretty small home. We discovered she had lice & probably for awhile. We used tea tree oil & Almond Oil(the vitamin….
‘Experienced Mom with Tea Tree Oil and Lice’
My oldest daughter has very thick curly hair. When she contacted lice I was 6 months pregnant and was not going to use chemicals so I used a combination….
Product Recommendations for Tea Tree Oil and Head Lice Shampoos
Adding a few drops of 100% tea tree oil to your regular shampoo can help you fight head lice and improve your scalp health.
Thursday Plantation Tea Tree Oil is an excellent tea tree oil to add to your regular shampoo. This oil has a high terpinen-4-ol content for maximum germicidal activity.
Try adding a few drops of this healthy oil to your shampoo when you wash your hair and work it into your scalp. Try to leave it your scalp for a few minutes before rinsing.
You can also use Tea Tree Oil Shampoos. These specialty shampoos have the tea tree oil mixed right and are ready to go.
Using Jason Natural Cosmetics Tea Tree Oil Hair & Scalp Therapy Shampoo is an effective way to combine the anti-microbial powers of tea tree oil with a gentle cleansing natural shampoo. Some people may not find this formulation strong enough so you may have to add additional tea tree oil to the shampoo when you use it.
Another product is Thursday Plantation Tea Tree Deep Scalp Cleansing Shampoo. This shampoo contains tea tree oil for natural treatment of head lice. The tea tree oil has a high terpinen-4-ol content, the primary germicidal shown to have an effect on head lice.
You may also be interested in Lice Eliminating Natural Shampoo. This is an all natural, non-toxic, head lice kit that uses enzymes to eliminate head lice. The customer reviews at Amazon.com appear quite favorable for this product.
Many people have reported great success combining tea tree oil and head lice treatments. If you’re concerned about side effects from anti-lice medications, tea tree oil may be the natural cure for head lice you’re looking for.