Coconut Oil for Lice: Is This a Good Home Remedy?

October 4, 2023

There are some mixed reviews about whether or not coconut oil for lice is actually effective. If you want to learn more about this remedy and whether it is something that you should be considering, check out the information below:

Does Coconut Oil Kill Lice?

Considering that you can use coconut oil for crepey skin, eczema, fungus, and a whole host of other issues, it is only natural to wonder does coconut oil repel lice. Most people believe that the thick medium of the coconut oil makes it difficult for lice to move or reproduce in the hair.

Lice undergo three life stages once they have attached to the scalp. The first is the nits – they are the eggs. These produce nymphs which eventually become the adult lice. For a treatment to be considered effective, it must be capable of killing or eliminating all three stages. It is the only way to make certain that there will not be a re-infestation.

So, what does coconut oil do to lice? Well, you should know that there hasn’t been too much research done on this topic. Due to this, the few studies that have been conducted have shown some mixed results.

For instance, one study showed that an application of pure coconut oil was helpful in eliminating 80 percent of the lice on participants’ heads four hours after application.

Another experiment tested out a coconut and anise spray, proving it to have a success rate of 82 percent making it more effective than over-the-counter options. However, there is no proof that the coconut was responsible for this effect and the study wasn’t replicated.

An experiment based on coconut oil-based shampoo, however, found that the oil wasn’t all that effective. Once the study was completed, it was discovered that participants who had applied coconut oil still had lice from all three life stages in their hair.

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Woman scratching her head

What’s the Final Verdict?

So, what should you do with this information? Should you give coconut oil for nits and lice a try or should you skip it?

Well, if the infestation is relatively mild and you want to avoid harsh treatments, you can give coconut oil a try. However, you should be aware that lice can be incredibly contagious and can quickly spread from one person to another.

Therefore, if you haven’t noticed any improvement after one treatment, it is a good idea to either check out an over-the-counter option or seek medical advice. This can help you to get rid of the lice faster and reduce the risk of spreading it around.

If you do want to try coconut oil, check out the guidelines below…

How to Get Rid of Lice with Coconut Oil

Here is what you will need for this treatment:

  • A jar of coconut oil
  • A plastic shower cap
  • A fine tooth comb

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Remember that all these supplies including the coconut oil should only be used for this treatment. Once you are done with them, make sure to discard of them well.

First, wash your hair in warm water and then let it air dry. Heat the coconut oil until it just begins to melt. Only apply this to your hair once it is cool enough to do so.

Apply and massage the coconut oil into your hair. Use a generous amount – the more the better. For a more even application, you may want to section off parts of your hair. Make sure that all the strands are coated from root to tip.

Once you are done, place the plastic cap around your hair and head immediately. It is a good idea to try this treatment out before bed as you will need to leave the coconut oil in your hair for at least eight hours. Thus, leaving it overnight should do the trick.

Once the time is up, remove the cap – make sure to place it in your shower or sink where it isn’t near any fabric or combs. It is a good idea to then complete the process either in your shower or outdoors to reduce the risk of re-infesting yourself or others.

Use the fine tooth comb to carefully comb out your hair. Don’t rush this step as you need to make sure that you are getting rid of any and all nits, nymphs, and lice out of your hair. Repeat this process if necessary.

Then, use a clarifying shampoo or conditioner to wash the coconut oil out of your hair. After you get out of the shower and dry your hair, make sure to wash your towel immediately. Over the next few days, observe your scalp and hair closely.

If you notice another infestation, you can repeat the treatment if you wish. However, if this doesn’t have any effect either, then it is time to try an over-the-counter treatment or to speak with a doctor.

Curly haired woman applying oil

Does Coconut Oil Prevent Lice?

OK, so coconut oil doesn’t do much to get rid of lice, but can it help to prevent it in the first place? Would having the oil in your hair make it more difficult for the lice to get ahold of your strands or to lay eggs?

Well, unfortunately, there hasn’t been too much research done here either. It is possible, though, that coconut oil could help to slow down an infestation. So, if you are using coconut oil to keep your hair nourished or prevent hair damage, it just may come in handy for lice as well.

What Is the Best Home Remedy for Lice?

If coconut oil doesn’t do the trick exactly, is there another home remedy that you can turn to? Well, it would appear that tea tree oil is effective against every stage of the life cycle of lice. Still, most medical professionals would warn against relying on this remedy alone.

Tea tree oil may also be helpful in preventing lice in the first place. Therefore, using a tea tree oil shampoo can help to reduce the chances of an outbreak or infestation in your home.

You should also be aware that you can’t use tea tree oil directly on your skin as it is too irritating. Instead, you need to mix a few drops with coconut oil and then apply it to your scalp and hair. Beware that it may be a bit too harsh for people with sensitive skin. You may want to do a patch test first to prevent any side effects.

As with the coconut oil remedy, make sure to monitor the situation carefully. If you notice that there has been a re-infestation, then you will need to consider an alternative treatment.

So there you have it, coconut oil may help with lice, but there is no guarantee. At least you now know how to give this remedy a try if you want.

If you enjoyed this post, make sure to check out our Pinterest page. We have tons of information on how coconut oil can be used for a wide variety of home remedies.

An Important Disclaimer
The information on this page should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice. Consult a doctor if you wish to consume any kind of tea regularly for the purpose of treating any condition or illness.
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