Is Coconut Oil Good For Lice Treatment

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated -

Coconut oil is an excellent treatment for lice, due to its high-fat content and lubricating nature, making it difficult for the lice to grasp the hair follicles. It is also a natural moisturizer for the scalp, and has an antibacterial quality, preventing some of the irritation and infections that can damage the skin, some of which are caused by lice. Coconut oil is quite thick when applied to the hair and scalp, which suffocates the lice, effectively killing them and preventing them from reproducing. You can then run lice comb through your hair to remove the dead lice.

The viscous nature of the oil also makes it difficult for the lice to move or “escape” from your scalp onto other furniture or clothing, where they can then simply move on to another host. With that in mind, once one person in a household has been infected by lice, it is wise for everyone to quickly use the coconut regimen, both as a rapid-response treatment and preventative measure. [1]

As per USDA, coconut oil is rich in fatty acids. It contains high levels of medium-chain fatty acids, including capric acid, lauric acid, and caprylic acid, all of which make the hair follicles slick and difficult to grasp, making it hard for lice to physically take hold on the strands of hair. Perhaps most importantly, the effects of this oil are long-lasting and leave your hair softer and more silky smooth, effectively working as a preventative measure against future lice outbreaks. [2]

While there are many different products on the market to treat lice, many of those shampoos and solvents contain harsh chemicals that can damage the hair or irritate the skin of the scalp. While they are highly effective at killing lice, they also pass along some of those dangerous effects to the skin and can result in a number of side effects, including nausea and vomiting. If you are using those treatments on young children, their risk of accidentally ingesting those shampoos or oils come with added dangers, such as paralysis, blurred vision, and diarrhea. Coconut oil is all natural and extremely effective and can stimulate healing in any areas that have been affected by a lice infestation. [3]

Head Lice Treatment With Coconut Oil

You can treat head lice with coconut oil, but it is even more effective when you mix that coconut oil with other anti-parasitic or antibacterial substances, such as garlic, apple cider vinegar, green tea, lemon, tea tree oil or oregano oil.

Pure Coconut Oil

This is the most basic treatment, requiring you to apply heated coconut oil to the scalp, rubbing thoroughly down to the roots. Once the hair is coated, use a comb to remove any dead lice or nits. Thoroughly shampoo the hair and dry it, before applying another coating of heated coconut oil. This time, wrap the head in a shower cap or towel and leave it on overnight (for at least 8 hours). In the morning, use a lice comb to remove any remaining lice or nits. This process can be repeated until no more lice are found. [4]

Coconut & Tea Tree Oils

Tea tree oil is commonly known as one of the best antibacterial, anti-parasitic and insecticide substances in natural health circles. Therefore, it can quickly and effectively kill lice, particularly when paired with coconut oil. You only need 5 drops of tea tree oil in about 2 tablespoons of coconut oil. Mix these two thoroughly and then apply to the hair, rubbing deep down to the scalp. Cover your hair with a shower cap overnight and then blow dry your hair through the shower cap in the morning for 4-5 minutes. Remove the shower cap and use lice comb to remove any dead lice or nits. Shampoo your hair thoroughly, washing out the oil mixture, and go through the hair a second time with a lice comb. Repeat this process as many times as necessary, but 1-2 cycles should be more than adequate. [5]

A mother combing a little girl's oiled hair to remove lice

Removing lice from your kid’s hair may seem like a tough task but you can always explain them how lice are monsters that will eat up their hair. Always works! Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Coconut & Garlic

Similar to tea tree oil, garlic is packed with anti-parasitic and anti-fungal properties, making for particularly unpleasant environments for lice to reproduce and feed. Mix freshly pressed garlic juice into 1-2 tablespoons of coconut oil and then apply this mixture to the hair. Put on a shower cap for about an hour, letting the mixture do its work. Then, remove the cap and use lice comb to pick through the hair and remove any dead lice. This is an extremely effective way to cure this annoying infestation. [6]

Coconut & Oregano Oil

Oregano oil is extremely strong but can make this solution for head lice even more effective. In a ratio of 5:1, mix coconut and oregano oils, respectively, and then massage this mixture into the hair and scalp. It should not take more than an hour for the lice to be effectively killed, at which point you can go through your hair with a lice comb, removing any dead nits or lice that you find. Shampoo the hair thoroughly at this point with warm water and then check again with the comb, ensuring that you got them all! [7]

Coconut, Lemon & Green Tea

Combining these three components is a fast and powerful solution for the treatment of lice. Lemon is highly acidic, making for an unpleasant environment for lice, while coconut oil suffocates them and green tea stimulates healing and anti-inflammation on the affected scalp areas. In equal ratios of 1 teaspoon, mix the three ingredients and then apply to the hair and scalp, rubbing it thoroughly down to the roots. Cover your hair with a shower cap or towel and wait for approximately an hour. Then, run lice comb through your hair to find the dead lice or nits before they hatch, and then immediately shampoo and condition your hair. Problem solved! [8] Protection Status
About the Author

John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, publisher and photographer with English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana (USA). He co-founded the literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and now serves as the Content Director for Stain’d Arts, a non-profit based in Denver, Colorado. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

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