Originating from Australia, tea tree oil commonly comes from the leaves of the plant. It is otherwise known as tea tree Melaleuca essential oil, and has been used for medicinal purposes over centuries now. With this, it has been thought that tea tree for head lice prevention is possible. Some are still making more researches over this claim so that scientists can give their final conclusions on the matter.
Research on Tea Tree Oil for Head Lice
Mayo Clinic has published the need to research more on the effectiveness of tea tree oil for combatting head lice. However, there have been early studies that already suggest the efficacy of the oil for head lice prevention and treatment. A study conducted by the Parasitology Research showed that tea tree oil is great for killing lice that are both in their nymph and adult stages. It has also proven its way to reduce lice eggs that have already hatched.
A study made by BMD Dermatology backs the results of the aforementioned study. Researchers for this study used three different products, one of which is a combination of tea tree oil and lavender oil. After several days of treatment, children who participated in the study are free of head lice after using the said combo. This shows the same results for those who used a lice-suffocating product. The other product that combines piperonyl butoxide and pyrethrins did not deliver the same results, because only one-fourth of those in the study group were free of lice after days of treatment.
Comparison of Lavender, Tea Tree, and Peppermint Essential Oils
There is also a study that shows the effectiveness of tea tree oil when compared to lavender and peppermint essential oils for preventing lice in kids attending primary school. While using tea tree in combination with either of the peppermint and lavender oils showed effectiveness, it is the tea tree oil used as a stand-alone treatment which showed the most effective results.
Tea Tree Oil on How it Prevents Lice
Tea tree oil has showed its effectiveness when killing or just preventing lice on skin. With this, many presume that it can also be used to remove lice from clothes in the laundry. Despite this claim, there is still a need to look further into how it can combat lice outbreaks.
Risks of Using Tea Tree Oil
Using tea tree oil alone can be harmful to the skin, as pointed out by the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. It is best to dilute it with water or a carrier oil before it can be applied on the skin. This is to prevent any allergic reaction or irritation on the skin.
If you are going to use it to treat or prevent lice, it is best to dilute a portion with your shampoo. This mixture can be used for four weeks. If lice are not removed after that, it will always be best to ask help from a doctor. That way, you will be guided as to how you can use the essential oil to get of those pesky pets on your skin.