Tea Tree Oil for Head Lice Treatment

Created on 10.02.16

Medscape has published a summary of studies evaluating the effect of using tea tree oil in treating head lice.

The evidence summarised [login required] in January 2016 by Philip J. Gregory on Medscape suggests that the constituents in tea tree oil appear to have activity against lice in vitro and preliminary evidence in an isolated skin model shows that tea tree oil has repellent and antifeeding effects.

Although several products containing tea tree oil, including shampoos and sprays, are promoted as preventing and treating lice infestations, there is an absence of clinical research evaluating tea tree oil specifically for treating head lice and therefore tea tree oil is not being considered as a reliable option.

A 2007 study by Canyon and colleagues revealed that tea tree oil appears to have a repellant effect on head lice and prevents 60% of the lice from feeding on the treated skin.

Another study by Emanuela Di Campli et al., published in 2012 revealed that a 1% tea tree oil solution was found to kill 100% of head lice within 30 minutes, in vitro.

Evidence from the studies suggests that the combination of tea tree oil and lavender oil may be very effective for eliminating active lice, but only modestly effective for killing unhatched lice eggs. With more evidence, this combination product may prove to be an alternative treatment for addressing head lice, especially in circumstances of resistance to standard therapies.

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