Coconut Oil for Head Lice Treatment
Head lice are not usually at the top of most people’s conversation list but not talking about it won’t make the problem go away.
Let’s face it – they are gross. When you think that they can live on our heads and consume our blood for months on end, it paints a very ugly picture. So what’s the solution? For some families the process of trying to get rid of head lice can cause severe stress. There are all types of medications and treatments on the market. Some are chemical based, others are more “natural”. It often takes a family an exercise in trial and error to find one that seems to work. However depending on how often the problem repeats itself will impact the choice of treatment you decide on.
First things first. Let’s get to know these pesky little critters and what their life cycle looks like.
Life Cycle of Head Lice
Courtesy of nontoxicalternative.com
Here are the four cycles of the head louse.
- Lice Eggs (Nits): They are firmly attached to the hair shaft, and can easily be mistaken for dandruff. They are oval shaped and usually yellow to white.
- Nymphs: After about a week, a nit will hatch into nymphs which are young head lice. At this stage they begin feeding on blood from the scalp.
- Adults: After 7 days, a nymph matures into the adult stage, It will be about the size of a sesame seed with a white-grey color. Adults will live about 30 days.
And this from nitwits
A head lice life cycle lasts around 35 days; that is the life cycle of an individual louse from the time the egg (nit) has been laid until they perish. This does not mean that a head lice infestation will only last thirty five days, quite the contrary, while one head lice (louse) has perished they leave behind a family of anywhere up to one hundred and fifty lice that have the potential to create more head lice. The life cycle continues until all head lice and nits have been completely removed from the scalp and hair.
Here lies the problem – reinfestation
A female louse can lay anywhere up to 150 eggs during it’s life cycle. Approximately 3-5 eggs per day. That’s alot of nits!
Getting rid of head lice when they first appear seems quite easy but consistency is the magic word here. If follow up treatment is not used along with combing and inspecting of the scalp to remove eggs within a couple of weeks you will be dealing with the whole ordeal all over again with double the amount of lice!
Here’s what to look for if you’ve never had to before:
My kids have had a lice outbreak a few times between them over the years that they were younger. It usually effects younger children however is not restricted to older children, teens and adults.
- Itchiness at the nape of the neck and behind the ears. Some people don’t experience any itching for months, while others can feel it from very early on.
- Little puncture marks or red dots at the nape of neck.
- On inspection of the hair – look for pearly white eggs that are located on the side of the hair shaft. They will be so small you will need a magnifying glass.
- Then look for adults. They are 2-4mm long, six legged and wingless. Usually a white grey colour unless they are full of blood when they will be a reddish brown colour.
What treatment to choose:
Let’s start with the big chemical numbers: The list below is courtesy of choice.com.au
Categorised by active ingredient
- Paralice Aerosol Spray
- HL7 Shampoo
- KP24 Medicated Foam
- KP24 Medicated Lotion
- Lice Breaker Pyrifoam Treatment with Conditioner
- Orange Medic Plus Head Lice Treatment
- Quellada Head Lice Treatment
- Banlice Mousse
- Pyrenel Foam
- KP24 Lice Spray
- Ecokid Daily Leave-in Tonic
- Ecokid Prevent Shampoo
- Ecokid Prevent Sensitive Shampoo
- Ecokid Lice Bomb
- Ego Moov Head Lice Foaming Gel
- Ego Moov Head Lice Solution
- Electric Blue Natural Headlice Cream
- KP24 Natural Head Lice Mousse
- KP24 Natural Head Lice Cream
- KP24 Natural Head Lice Lotion
- Lice Attack Lotion
- Lice Blaster
- Licetec Head Lice Preventative Spray
- Nads NitWits Head Lice Foam
- Neutra Lice Spray
- Neutra Lice Lotion
- No Nitz Natural Nit Gel
- PPS Fried Lice Gel
- Praneem Repel Shampoo
- Praneem Natural Head Lice Treatment
- Sunspirit Lice Scents To Kill
- Thursday Plantation Tea Tree Head Lice Gel
- Wild Child Quit Nits Head Lice Defence Spray
- Wild Child Quit Nits Advance Medicated Cream
- Wild Child Quit Nits Head Lice Eliminator
I have used more than 1 of these products at different times. Here’s my opinion on the ones I’ve used.
Wild Child – easy to use, good head and hair coverage, did need to use a follow up treatment 7 days later.
Thursday Plantation Tea Tree – very economical, 2 tubes for about $14. Hard to apply. Gel is very thick and sticky and impossible to comb or work through the hair. Required at least 3 treatments.
Neutra lice spray – Okay to use every now and then. Very strong and the fumes really get to you. Not something I would advise using if you or your child is going out or to school as it tends to make the hair clump together as well as feeling like a piece of rope.
KP 24 – I was desperate when I used this. No not the natural one but the full chemical monty! I know – horrible – my poor kids! My excuse – late night discovery of lice, needed to be somewhere the next morning, race out to late night chemist and find a minimal selection, just need to deal with it!!! Have I justified myself enough! The long and the short – really effective and really bad at the same time. Would never use it again!
Lice Blaster – Probably the pick out of all the “natural” ones. Very easy to use. Easy to comb through and leaves the hair feeling soft. Used a follow up treatment in 7 days.
Now for my other alternative: Coconut oil for Head Lice Treatment
If what you are looking for is something that contains only 1 ingredient, keeps in your pantry forever and will do the job but not harm your children in the slightest then virgin coconut oil could be the answer you are looking for. I tried this with the last episode of lice and it worked a treat and so much easier and safer than using any commercial product.
How to apply:
- Massage a little coconut oil into the scalp and hair. Use just enough to coat the hair. Do not make the hair oily.
- Comb the oil through the hair using a lice comb or very fine toothed comb.
- Pull the comb from the scalp to the ends of the hair. Look out for eggs and lice. Rinse the comb and continue.
- Comb through the hair at least twice.
- After combing, shampoo the hair thoroughly making sure to scrub behind the ears and at the nape of the neck.
- Dry the hair.
- Apply a liberal amount of coconut oil and massage it deep into the scalp and hair.
- Keep the oil in the hair for as long as possible, at least 12 hours. This is a good treatment to do over night by using a shower cap.
- After 12 hours, comb through the hair again and remove any lice found. Most should be dead by now.
- Shampoo the hair and condition.
Generally this routine is enough to get rid of the lice. However you could do a follow up treatment in a few days if necessary.
You could try using 1 part of Oregano oil to 5 parts Coconut oil for a much stronger solution. Be careful using oregano oil as it can burn the skin. It must only be used diluted with coconut oil.
If you do not have coconut oil available you can use coconut milk in the same manner.
Well I hope that helps. Have you used any lice treatment that you recommend. Maybe you have another natural alternative. Leave a comment below.