Before using tea tree oil, it is important to dilute it with a carrier oil such as coconut or olive oil. Test it on a small area of your scalp first. You can dilute it even further if needed. Using a comb is also important. Don’t leave lice in your hair because this can spread the infection to other people.
While tea tree oil can kill adult lice and eggs, it is not a cure for live lice. This is because lice are resistant to the active ingredient in tea tree oil. However, it can be an effective preventative treatment for lice. There are some potential side effects, so it is best to consult a doctor before using it on your child.
The two most common compounds in tea tree oil are terpinen-4-ol and 1,8-cineole. In one study published in the Parisitology Research, these two compounds killed 100 percent of the head lice and nits in 30 minutes. While this study did not test on human hair, the findings suggest that tea tree oil and lavender have similar insecticidal properties.
Tea tree oil is not recommended to be ingested as it can cause serious side effects. Taking it orally can lead to confusion, ataxia, and loss of muscle coordination. However, tea tree oil can be used in shampoos and conditioners. A tea tree oil-infused shampoo or conditioner will kill any adult head lice and their eggs.