Tea Tree Oil Treatment For Lice: Does It Work
A controversial treatment
Tea tree oil is made from the leaves of the tea tree plant. Aboriginal people in Australia have used it medicinally for centuries. People around the world continue to use tea tree oil as a remedy for many conditions.
Among other uses, some people believe that tea tree oil can kill lice. But not all experts are convinced. More research is needed before scientists can draw conclusions.
Yes Some Research Has Shown Promise In Using Essential Oils For Licebut The Studies Have Been Small
There isnt a lot of data to say whether essential oils are a good way to take down lice, says Jamie Alan, Pharm.D., Ph.D., an assistant professor of pharmacology and toxicology at Michigan State University. There are some small studies which suggest that certain essential oils are equivalent to traditional medications for lice, she says, citing permethrin, a popular insecticide, as an example.
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One study published in the journal Parasitol Researchlooked at the effectiveness of tea tree oil and nerolidol on 69 head lice and 187 nits collected from school children. The tea tree oil killed 100% of the lice in 30 minutes when it was used at 1% concentration. Nerolidol killed 50% of the eggs within four days.
Another study published in BMC Dermatologyused three different products, including one that contained tea tree oil and lavender oil, to treat 123 children with head lice. On the last day of treatment, almost all of the children treated with the essential oils combination were lice-free. The same was true for those that were given a product to suffocate the lice. However, only a quarter of kids who were given a product that used pyrethrins and piperonyl butoxide were free of lice.
Lice Shampoo Essential: Tea Tree Oil
Almost all lice repellent products you shop for will have tea tree oil listed as an ingredient. Thats because tea tree oil is a proven repellent of head lice. Studies have shown that tea tree oil is the botanical substance most effective at deterring lice.
It is believed the slipperiness of the oil, and not the oils scent, is what prevents lice from gaining ground on hair treated with tea tree oil.
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When To Use Tea Tree Oil For Lice
Tea tree oil may be used by anyone seeking to prevent lice or treat lice presuming there is no allergy. It can be implemented as a preventative before ever contracting lice, in the process of lice removal, or after nitpicking to ensure a case of lice does not re-occur. However, there are some risks associated with using tea trees or other essential oils such as lavender oil.
Best Ways To Use Tea Tree Oil For Head Lice:
1. Massaging your scalp with tea tree oil
If you are not allergic to tea tree oil and have used it before, then this is an easy and quick remedy that you can resort to. Just blend your tea tree oil in olive oil or jojoba oil and massage your head with the mixture. Apply the oil on the scalp as well as the hair shafts. Leave it on for one hour to experience the effects of tea tree oil for lice.
Next, stand on a clean and white surface and comb your hair. You will notice head lice falling out of your hair. Some would be dead while others might still be conscious. A clean and white surface would help you ensure that lice from your hair do not escape and transfer into someone elses head after falling onto the floor. After combing your hair, take a shower with mildly hot water.
Note: If your head is full of lice, you can consider applying the oil directly on your scalp instead of using it as a blend or try remedy 2.
2. Use a spray bottle
Sometimes it may be difficult for you to reach all lice-infested areas on the head. Also, if the mother louse lays thousands of nits, you cannot possibly massage oil onto every one of them. To make sure tea tree oil shows effective results quickly this spray bottle technique is what you need.
3. Cut off oxygen supply for lice and nits
Alternatively, you could use a mixture of lavender oil and tea tree oil instead of coconut oil and shampoo for similar results.
4. Condition your locks and remove the lice
5. Vodka and the tea tree oil
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Diy Vs Tested Lice Prevention Product
For those that do not own essential oils, jumping in may seem daunting.
If you are not a DIYer, there are many lice prevention sprays and shampoos made from essential oils that are already on the market and have been tested for both safety for use on children and effectiveness against lice. You can learn the ones I recommend here.
Can Tea Tree Oil Make Your Hair Fall Out
- Is it possible for tea tree oil to induce hair loss?
- If you are allergic to tea tree oil or if you use it incorrectly, it may occasionally cause harm to your hair, such as temporary hair loss.
- This may also occur if you use it.
- To determine whether or not you have an allergy to tea tree oil, combine it with another carrier oil and test it on a tiny part of your skin.
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Tea Tree Oil Infused Hair Care Products
Lice repellents that use tea tree oil as the primary effective ingredient include:
When selecting a hair care product with tea tree oil for kids, you have many options. Choose the one that suits your needs best. For example, families who regularly fight hair tangles may find a detangling spray infused with tea tree oil is a great option. Or, a gluten-free hair conditioner with added tea tree oil may work for those with gluten sensitivities.
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What Are The Most Popular Uses Of Tea Tree Oil
The benefits of the oils are still being researched. According to what is currently known, the oil can be used as a natural lice treatment for some health conditions such as:
- Skin conditions such as acne, athletes feet, and dandruff
- Head lice and scabies
- Cuts, burns, and bites
- Cough and congestion are common respiratory symptoms.
Tea tree oil can also be used in cosmetic products such as soaps, lotions, shampoos, etc. It can also be used as an ingredient in household cleaning products.
What Essential Oils Kill Lice The Best Explanation
The researchers looked at tea tree oil, lavender oil, and deet. Tea tree oil was the most effective treatment on its own. Tea tree oil and peppermint were the most effective for repelling insects. Tea tree oil and lavender were found to help prevent the spread of lice. The study was published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.
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Is There A Way To Make It Safer
These products safety guidelines can help to reduce side effects. These are some tips:
- It should not be consumed or ingested.
- Tea tree oil should be kept out of reach from children and pets.
- Do not apply undiluted oil to your skin. The National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy states that oils used topically should always be diluted in carrier oils, creams, or lotions. Typically, this is between 1 and 5 percent.
- It should be diluted more if you have sensitive skin or use it on a childs skin. NAHA recommends a 0.5-2.5 percent dilution.
- You can test a small amount of it on your skin to see if it causes any skin reactions.
- You should ensure that your space is well ventilated if you intend to use tea oil as aromatherapy. Avoid prolonged exposure to tea oil fumes.
- The oil should be kept in the dark bottles, as light can cause damage.
What Does The Research Say
According to the Mayo Clinic, more research is needed to learn how effective tea tree oil is for combating lice. In particular, scientists need to conduct more large well-designed trials.
In the meantime, some early studies suggest that tea tree oil may be useful for treating head lice. For example, one study published in
BMC Dermatology , also found promising results. The investigators used three different products to treat children with head lice, including one that contained tea tree oil and lavender oil.
After their last day of treatment, nearly all of the children who were treated with the tea tree and lavender product were free of lice. The same was true for children who were treated with a product designed to suffocate lice. In contrast, only a quarter of kids treated with pyrethrins and piperonyl butoxide were lice free. Pyrethrins and piperonyl butoxide are common ingredients in anti-lice shampoos.
International Journal of Dermatology compared botanical and synthetic substances for preventing lice in primary school-age kids. The researchers compared tea tree oil, lavender oil, peppermint, and DEET.
On its own, tea tree oil was the most effective treatment tested. Tea tree oil and peppermint appeared to be most useful for repelling lice. Tea tree oil and lavender were also found to prevent some feeding by lice on treated skin. While the results show some promise, the investigators concluded that none of the treatments were effective enough to endorse.
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Make Your Own Head Lice Shampoo
If you cant find a product that suits your hair type and repels head lice, dont worry. You can easily make your own.
All you need is a bottle of your favourite hair care product, a jar of pure tea tree oil, and supplies to mix the two together.
Who doesnt love a good DIY project, right?
Especially when its one thats so simple and super satisfying!
Are Essential Oils Safe
Essential oils are overall safe to use when diluted with a carrier oil and used in accordance with directions. The majority of essential oils can irritate the skin when applied directly onto the skin without the use of a carrier oil such as olive oil or coconut oil. Lotion can also be used to mitigate skin irritation from essential oils when mixed before application. Essential oils are very potent, so diluting them is crucial to preventing rashes and adverse reactions.
That being said, essential oils can stimulate allergic reactions in certain individuals or those with sensitive skin, even when diluting the oil. If you or your child has a history of allergic reactions to topical products, it is best to avoid essential oils as they are more likely to cause allergic reactions. We recommend consulting a physician or an allergist to discuss the risks of essential oils for those more prone to allergic reactions. For the sake of full disclosure, the symptoms of allergic reactions to essential oils mainly include but are not limited to rashes, bumps, hives, redness, and itchiness.
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Apple Cider Vinegar And Tea Tree Oil For Lice
What You Will Need
How Many Times you should this
Once in 3-4 days.
Why This Works
Mayonnaise helps suffocate the lice leading to their death. It is thus effective in eliminating adult lice as well as nymphs.
Olive Oil And Tea Tree Oil
Why This Works
Anecdotal evidence suggests that olive oil may have moisturizing properties that may soothe the scalp.
You Will Need
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- 5 to 6 drops of tea tree oil
What You Have To Do
- Mix the two oils together
- Apply the mixture to the scalp and hair.
- Leave it on for at least an hour.
- Rinse your hair as usual.
How Often You Should Do This
Do this twice a week, for a few weeks.
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Can Head Lice Be Prevented
Sadly not, unless you keep your child in total isolation almost 10% of children in the UK have head lice at any one time. A study presented at the British Association of Dermatologists conference in 2017 also revealed that children who use smartphones are twice as likely to get head lice, as they stand together to look at the screens.
However, if youre vigilant you can catch them early before theyve tripled in number. Checking your childs scalp once a week is probably the best way to avoid an infestation, says Burgess. For more advice go towww.onceaweektakeapeek.com.
Bottom Line: You May Have Luck Using Essential Oils To Get Rid Of Lice But Experts Say Proven Methods Like Otc Medications Will Lead To More Success
If you really prefer starting with essential oils first, though, Alan points out that these substances should only be used topically and never ingested. Tea tree can be used in combination with other oils like lavender, she says, and be sure to pair the treatment with a good, fine-tooth nit combing.
No luck after after a day or so? Check out our expert-approved guide on how to get rid of lice to end the scratching for good.
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What Are Head Lice
A Head Louse lives exclusively on the human scalp and solely feeds on human blood. A live infestation of head lice, otherwise known as nits , can be identified by an itchy scalp, small brown or white eggs on the shaft of the hair. If you are very lucky you can also see the louse moving amongst the hair. They are wingless parasites so can only be caught by head to head contact with someone else who has been infested.
Lice are very common in children and adults who belong to small children. You can easily identify infestations by looking for areas of intense itching, redness and sometimes a rash caused by a reaction to the lice feeding on skin. Excessive itching can lead to a secondary bacterial infection.
The chemistry of Tea Tree oil is bursting with natural insect repellents, which are especially useful when combed through as a conditioning treatment during an infestation, removing and killing the lice. Using a daily wash containing Tea tree oil will support the body’s natural immune functions to heal the skin and keep infections at bay with its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory constituents. To prevent head lice or nits becoming a recurring problem, use a daily hair spray will deter the lice from moving back in. There are recipes at the bottom of the article to help you stop being all itchy!
How To Use Tea Tree Oil To Remove Head Lice Permanently
There are various ways in which you can use tea tree oil for lice. We have curated the list of 5 best ways concerning how to use tea tree oil for lice related issues. You can select the one that is perfect for you, your child, your family and your hair.
Also, head lice cannot be removed in one go. The frequency of usage of the essential oil remedies will be based on how strong the lice colony is in your head. Moreover, they will be removed permanently for that specific time period. However, when you discontinue using the oil for a longer duration and come in contact with a lice carrier, you are prone to catching them too.
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What Happens To The Lice Eggs Or The Nits
The oil works for both the mature lice as well as the nits. Nits or the lice eggs are attached to the hair shafts by the mother louse. The nits are attached to the hair via a gum that is released from the mother while ejecting the eggs out of her body. The tea tree oil melts this gum away and thus, on brushing the hair, the eggs start to fall off the hair shafts helping you get rid of the head lice.
Theres Nothing Iffy In It
Sklice is supposed to be quite safe, and some of the other treatments are a synthetic concoction made to imitate a substance from chysanthemums, so its probably not the worst thing in the world.
Still, the directions on Rid and Lice say not to do too many treatments in a row, which gives me pause.
Plus, that stuff is awfully hard on scalpswhen we used it on our heads, even those of us with no lice had itchy heads for a good week.
I felt much better about putting conditioner and tea tree oil on my childs head, thats for sure.
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