coconut oil for treating head lice

Do Home Remedies for Head Lice Work?

In order to get rid of hair lice, head lice treatment is almost always necessary. Many people start their research online where they are presented with dozens of home remedies. Unfortunately, most home remedies are ineffective and can cause you to waste your time and money. Unless you have an endless supply of time and money (which we’re assuming as a parent you do not), you’ll want to avoid the following treatments.

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil isn’t the worst treatment out there, but it’s certainly not the best. One UK study did find that coconut oil outperforms traditional over the-counter treatments, including permethrin. The reason for this is twofold. First, lice are growing resistant to permethrin, so these products are not as effective as they once were. Second, coconut oil is successful at suffocating mature lice. That said, coconut oil is not effective enough to be used as a standalone treatment because it doesn’t work on nits and babies. 

Tea Tree Oil

We recommend tea tree oil for head lice prevention – not as a standalone treatment. So, if you’ve heard about an outbreak at school, daycare or summer camp, use a tea tree spray or tea tree oil on your child’s scalp. Lice find the smell of tea tree repulsive, so they may skip your child’s head if they catch wind of it. Unfortunately, the smell is not strong enough to evict the lice once they are there.

Olive Oil and Mayonnaise 

The goal of an olive oil or mayonnaise treatment is to apply enough to suffocate the lice. To do this, you have to saturate the hair in oil or mayo for 6-8 hours. Imagine how messy this can be! Plus, olive oil and mayonnaise only kill adult lice and not nits and babies. So, if you really want this treatment to work on its own, you have to soak your child’s hair in olive oil or mayo until all the lice are dead – which could be weeks. We say, skip this treatment. 

Vinegar

Vinegar has a strong smell, and we know a lot of people can’t tolerate it. Thankfully, we don’t recommend using any type of vinegar in your child’s hair. Unlike the other options that suffocate adult lice, vinegar is the opposite. It doesn’t have the properties to kill adult lice, though the acid may kill nits. In order to make this treatment work, you have to combine it with another treatment like olive oil. This all sounds like a lot of work to us!

Listerine

Listerine is probably the worst home remedy on our list, as it contains alcohol. Plus, Listerine is not effective. Lice have a waterproofing agent that allows them to continue evolving (and hence why a good shampoo won’t get rid of them). The reason why some people swear by this treatment is probably because it’s often combined with white vinegar and combing the hair with a nit comb. These two things are probably what’s helping, not the Listerine.

So what do we recommend for treating hair lice? A professional head lice service such as My Hair Helpers. The right ingredients (dimethicone) are used to kill all lice – adults, babies and eggs. Our products are safe and non-toxic, and only two treatments are needed to be 100% lice free – our Guarantee says so! We also have DIY products that can be used at home. Check us out today at MyHairHelpers.com.

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