Tea Tree Oil For Lice – Does It Really Work?

OUR TOP PICK – Best Tea Tree Oils

We have found the best tea tree oils, and our top pick is the Naturenics Tea Tree Essential Oil. This tea tree oil is derived from the best tea leaves, and have a high-concentration of much needed essential oil. It has been proven to cure dandruff and head lice that may affect your kids.

Naturenics Tea Tree Essential Oil-100% USDA Organic Melaleuca Alternifolia Therapeutic Grade- Natures Solution For Acne, Restore Toenail, Lice, Hair, Face, Skin Problems-Roll On & eBook-1 Fl Oz
  • 100% PURE ORGANIC TEA TREE OIL: This oil has been distilled and extracted from the very best leaves from the tea tree plant, using the traditional steam distillation method. This creates an incredibly...
  • RECOVERY ESSENTIAL OIL: Treat Acne, Psoriasis, Athletes Foot & Strengths Toenail. Prevent dandruff, hair loss & sore muscles. Make your own DIY shampoo, conditioner, body wash, soap, aromatherapy...
  • INCREDIBLE SKIN BENEFITS: Tea tree oil can improve your skin in dozens of ways. It can fight breakouts, acne and pimples, it can improve skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis, it can reduce facial...
  • AMAZING HAIR BENEFITS & MORE: You can mix this with shampoo for shiny hair and a healthy, dandruff free scalp. You can even add it to your children’s shampoo to stop them catching head lice

Best Tea Tree Oils For Head Lice

Our Top Pick
Naturenics Tea Tree Essential Oil-100% USDA Organic Melaleuca Alternifolia Therapeutic Grade- Natures Solution For Acne, Restore Toenail, Lice, Hair, Face, Skin Problems-Roll On & eBook-1 Fl Oz
Majestic Pure Therapeurtic Melaleuca Alternifolia Tea Tree Oil with Dropper, 4 Onces.
16oz - Bulk Size Tea Tree Essential Oil (16 Ounce Bottle) - Therapeutic Grade Essential Oil - 16 Fl Oz
PURA D'OR Tea Tree Melaleuca Essential Oil (4oz / 118mL) USDA Organic 100% Pure & Natural Therapeutic Grade Diffuser Oil For Aromatherapy, Immune System Support, Helps Rejuvenate Skin & Scalp
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$21.99
$17.50
$19.99
$19.99
Our Top Pick
Naturenics Tea Tree Essential Oil-100% USDA Organic Melaleuca Alternifolia Therapeutic Grade- Natures Solution For Acne, Restore Toenail, Lice, Hair, Face, Skin Problems-Roll On & eBook-1 Fl Oz
$21.99
PURA D'OR Tea Tree Melaleuca Essential Oil (4oz / 118mL) USDA Organic 100% Pure & Natural Therapeutic Grade Diffuser Oil For Aromatherapy, Immune System Support, Helps Rejuvenate Skin & Scalp
-
$19.99

Lice. Ugh. Your head starts to itch at the mention of the word. Head lice are a very common problem for many families with school-aged children. They can be found just about anywhere – homes, schools, and daycare – and they don’t discriminate. Clean hair or dirty hair – lice are happy.

As a parent, it can be shocking to get a call or email from your child’s school telling you that your kid has lice.

What has to happen next?

Is there anything I could have done to help prevent this?

The first thing you may do is start to comb- the internet. Instantly you will see the words tea tree oil filling your screen. What is tea tree oil and can it treat or prevent lice? 

What is Tea Tree Oil?

Tea tree oil is extracted from the leaves of the Melaleuca plant from Australia(Melaleuca alternifolia). There are many products out there containing tea tree oil, drops, sprays, and shampoos, that are advertised as being able to prevent or treat lice. But not all experts are convinced. Bottom line is, there is evidence, but more research needs to happen before scientists can draw official conclusions.

Tea Tree Oil Effectiveness

According to the Mayo Clinic, more research is needed to learn how effective tea tree oil is for combating lice, but when used in combination with lavender oil, tea tree oil is effective at treating lice eggs.

Additionally, some early studies suggest that tea tree oil may be useful in treating head lice. One study published in Parasitology Research states that the use of essential oils could be an important tool to control the parasitic infestation.

Another study, published in BMC Dermatology, also found hopeful results. In this study, 97.6% of children who were treated with the tea tree and lavender products were free of lice. The same was true for children who were treated with a head lice “suffocation” product.

Keeping Lice Away Using Tea Tree Oil

In terms of prevention, another study reported in the 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. The results stated that 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 the treated skin. 

Final Thoughts

Again, there needs to be more to learn how effective tea tree oil is for combating lice. Many research studies have promising results so it could be worth a try to use tea tree oil-based shampoos and sprays. Other methods can also help prevent lice:

  • Do not wash your child’s hair every day. The natural oils on your hair and scalp can actually make it harder for the lice to stay on your hair.
  • Tell your kids to not share items that touch their heads with other people.
  • Regularly clean items that your child’s head often touches such as pillowcases and headphones.

Proceed with Caution

Though tea tree oil has been found fairly effective, even more so when used along with additional methods such as combing, it is important to be careful. Before the use of any essential oil, put a small drop on the back of your hand to ensure you will not have an allergic reaction. Make sure to follow the recommended guidelines and stop the treatment if any allergic reactions develop.

FAQs About Lice

What are head lice?

Head lice are very small bugs roughly the size of a sesame seed. Their bodies are usually gray. Lice feed on small amounts of blood that they get from the scalp. Lice attach their tiny eggs to hair close to the scalp. These eggs are referred to as nits. They are oval and about as small as the size of a knot in thread and usually yellowish to white. 

​What is the life cycle of lice?

Lice live roughly 28 days and have three phases:

  • Egg or nit. Eggs or nits hatch in 6 to 9 days. Eggs are usually found on the hair close to the scalp and do not survive if they are farther away.
  • Nymph. The nymph looks like an adult head louse but is much smaller (about the size of a pinhead). Nymphs become adults generally 7 days they hatch.
  • Adult louse. An adult louse can lay up to 10 eggs a day which means they can multiply fast. The whole process from eggs to adulthood only takes about 12 to 14.

This cycle can then repeat if left untreated

Is head lice common?

Head lice are most prevalent in school-aged children. Every year millions of school-aged children in the United States get head lice at some point. Anyone can get head lice and it is found throughout the world.

How do they spread?

Head lice are insects that crawl and cannot jump or fly. The way that head lice spread is from close head-to-head contact. They can potentially spread from shared items such as hats, but they cannot survive away from the moisture of a scalp for long so this is less common. 

What are the symptoms of head lice?

Itching on the areas where head lice are present is the most common symptom of lice. However, they could be living on your scalp before your skin reacts to their saliva which makes you itch. 

How do you check for head lice?

It is great to be proactive and regularly check for head lice. 

  • Seat your child in an area with adequate lighting.
  • Part the hair.
  • Look for crawling lice and for nits on your child’s scalp a section at a time.
  • Live lice can be hard to find. They can move fast.
  • Nits will look like small white or yellowish-brown specks and be firmly attached to the hair near the scalp. How to tell the difference is that nits are firmly attached to hair, while dandruff, dirt, or other particles are not.
  • Use a fine-tooth comb to help you search the scalp section by section.

Sources

  • Barker, S. C., & Altman, P. M. (2010, August 20). A randomized, assessor blind, parallel group comparative efficacy trial of three products for the treatment of head lice in children: Melaleuca oil and lavender oil, pyrethrins and piperonyl butoxide, and a “suffocation” product. BMC Dermatology, 10, 6
    ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20727129
  • Canyon, D. V., & Speare, R. (2007, April). A comparison of botanical and synthetic substances commonly used to prevent head lice (Pediculus humanus var. capitis) infestation. International Journal of Dermatology, 46(4), 422-426
    ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17442090
  • Di Campli, E., Di Bartolomeo, S., Delli Pizzi, P., Di Giulio, M., Grande, R., Nostro, A. … Cellini, L. (2012, November). Activity of tea tree oil and nerolidol alone or in combination against Pediculus capitis (head lice) and its eggs. Parasitology Research, 111(5), 1985-1992
    ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22847279

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