Coconut Oil Head Lice Treatment

Although it is definitely not the most glamorous topic, head lice is a very common problem, especially for kids ages 3-12.  Head lice are actually attracted to clean hair and are not dangerous.  They don’t spread disease, but they are contagious.  Their bites may cause a child’s scalp to become itchy and inflamed, and persistent scratching may lead to skin irritation and even infection.  Its best to treat head lice quickly because they can spread easily from person to person.


In the past,  DDT was the chemical of choice to eradicate lice until it was banned for being linked to cancer.  Since the 1980’s, questions have also been raised about the safety of Permethrin (found in LyClear and Nix) as a method of destroying head lice, and subsequently about the use of Malathion, both of which are found in head lice treatments but are mainly used as pesticides for agricultural purposes.


Despite being toxic, lice have become more resistant to these commonly used chemicals.  A study published in the European Journal of Pediatrics in 2010 (Burgess IF, Brunton ER, Burgess, NA) explored an alternative remedy for head lice after Permethrin was proving to be less effective in preventing head lice re-infestation.


In a randomized, controlled, parallel group clinical trial, two applications of a spray made from coconut oil blended with anise and ylang ylang essential oils (CAY) were given to 50 participants with active head lice 9 days apart while another group of 50 were treated with Permethrin.  Results showed the CAY spray to be significantly more successful at ridding head lice–82% of those treated with CAY were cured compared to only 42% who received Permethrin.


When lice attack your family, you can fight back with a natural hair treatment that kills the lice and makes the nits (eggs) easier to remove.  Coconut oil alone has been found to suffocate lice and make it harder to maintain their grip on hair and therefore easier to remove.


Try one of these natural alternative head lice treatments:


Coconut Oil Only-  Coat the entire head of affected hair in virgin coconut oil.  Cover with a shower cap and a towel and to stay on allow overnight.  In the morning, use a fine toothed ‘lice comb’ to go through each section of hair being careful to remove the nits.  Wash with regular shampoo and rinse with vinegar to help remove the oil.  Repeat every 3-4 days for 2 weeks to kill any lice that may have hatched.


Make your own CAY treatment-


Add 10 drops anise seed essential oil  and 10 drops ylang ylang essential oil (available in organic food stores or online- try with an eye dropper to 1 fluid ounce of liquified Just Coco virgin coconut oil in a spray or pump bottle.  Shake well and coat affected hair as described above.