Let’s first figure out whether is it true that tea tree oil kills lice? The scientific community does not agree on the effectiveness of the tea tree oil as a means of eliminating lice. We have gathered all of the opinions and studies for you to make your own judgment.
According to the Therapeutic Research Center, “early research suggests that tea tree oil might repel lice. Also, applying a combination of lavender and tea tree oil kills lice eggs and reduces the number of lice alive. It is unclear if the effects are caused by the tea tree oil alone or the combination of lavender and tea tree oil”. The Australian scientists of the University of Queensland have conducted an experiment on 123 children and consider the products containing tea tree and lavender oil to be effective.
Italian scientists have studied the reaction of the 69 lice collected from the kids’ heads and placed into the oil and have come to the conclusion that “because of the low molecular weight, such compounds can pass through the cuticle of louse up to the trachea causing the death of head lice by suffocation.”. In this connection, they advise the patients to “apply oils, cover hair with a shower cap, and let it stand overnight with the aim to suffocate the remaining live lice (nymphs)”.
At the same time, the Ministry of Health of New South Wales warns that “Using natural products like tea tree oil are not recommended. If you don’t want to use a chemical treatment, use the mechanical removal”. The New Jersey Department of Health experts agree with this and say that “many alternatives to head lice products are promoted because of treatment failures. But, there is little proof that these methods are effective in killing the lice and nits on the head. Some of these remedies include olive oil, mayonnaise, tea tree oil, petroleum jelly, and hair dryers.”
Our expert, an M.D., considers that it is premature to be optimistic about the ability of such oil to kill lice. You can always use it as a preventive measure and facilitate combing with it, though.
However, if you have already been infected with lice, don’t waste your time finding out whether the tea tree oil is really effective, and read our Very Detailed Guide on How to Kill Lice: an Overview of the Best Sprays, Shampoos, and Combs.
How to Use Tea Tree Oil to Repel Lice
The thing about the tea tree oil is that its smell is pleasant for people and deterring for the lice. Those who spend much time with lots of people (due to the nature of their work, for example) where they can encounter lice-infected persons often use this method.
This is especially relevant to the kids who don’t yet understand that they shouldn’t be hugging other kids or switch hats with them. It’s better to prevent the problem in the first place rather than to treat it later on.
- You can add a few drops of the oil in the shampoo daily, and you can use it unlimitedly.
- If you or your kids visit a new place, where the likelihood of catching lice is high, apply a few drops of a tea tree essential oil on the temples, hair and back of the head. Make sure the hair exudes the aroma of this essential oil.
Most often the kids get infected at school or in summer camp. Unfortunately, because a child with an active head lice infestation has likely had the infestation for a month or more by the time it is discovered, teach the kids to apply the oil on their hair daily.
Tea Tree Essential Oil - Big 4 oz - 100% Pure & Natural Melaleuca Therapeutic Grade - PREMIUM QUALITY from Australia for acne and skin tag removal
This is a rather popular shampoo additive made in Australia. A 4 oz. bottle costs a whole $11.95. Its 5 stars rating on Amazon.com is appealing though, and this bottle will last for a long time as you’ll only be using a few drops of the oil a day.
Like most of the tree oil-based substances, the Tea Tree Essential Oil is a multi-purpose product. It remedies the burns and itching of a person’s head skin, cures some of the skin infections and even repels pets’ fleas. This is both an anti-fungal medication and a decent antiseptic. We recommend you to use it for prevention rather for direct elimination of the lice. Add a few drops of it in the shampoo and apply on your hair before leaving the house.
The great thing about it is that there are no artificial chemicals. The oil is made by steam distillation of fresh leaves. Don’t overdose on the oil, though, and add the substance to your shampoo in strict accordance with the salesperson’s or physician’s instructions.
Price: ~$11.95 Check the current price
A direct rival of this oil is Art Naturals Tea Tree Essential Oil Pure & Natural 4 Oz Premium Melaleuca Therapeutic Grade From Australia, Use With Soap & Shampoo, Face & Body Wash, Treatment for Acne, Lice & Many Skin Conditions. It is 5 cents cheaper and its rating is similar. What is the difference between the two additions? They are made in different regions of Australia, but the properties and make-up of the oils are nearly identical. Both manufacturers of the tea tree oils for lice even give the same money refund warranty should the products prove to be poorly effective.
Price: ~$11.90 Check the current price