Tea tree oil has long been used for lice and other medicinal purposes by the Aboriginal people of Australia.
In Western natural medicine, oil has recently gained popularity due to its many uses - and this includes the treatment of lice.
The exact reason why the oil can kill lice and lice eggs is not known, but its effect on lice has been documented in several scientific studies.
There are a few products containing tea tree oil that are suitable for preventing and treating lice. We review them below:
Tea Tree Oil Shampoo (Australian Body Care)
Shampoo with tea tree oil from Australian Body Care (full name is Australian Body Care Gentle Cleansing Shampoo 2% Tea Tree Oil) contains 2% tea tree oil, which is a high enough dosage to have an effect on lice.
Experience has shown that it has a good preventative effect on lice and effectively keeps them at bay. However, if you already have lice, you should use a lice repellent or combing your hair with conditioner to treat lice more actively. You can use the shampoo before, after and during treatment.
Products with other oils
There are a few other lice products that are also based on essential oils, but do not contain tea tree oil. Among these products, we particularly recommend the ones listed below:
These products do not contain tea tree oil, but other essential oils and are suitable for lice control
What does science say?
Although the exact reason why tea tree oil can be used to kill lice and lice eggs is unknown, there are a number of studies that have documented the oil's effect on lice and illustrated its potential for lice control:
- Adult lice: An Italian study from 2012 has shown that a solution with 1% tea tree oil kills all lice in vitro (i.e. in a test tube or similar). Other studies have shown that tea tree oil is more effective against lice than lavender oil and lemon oil as well as other oils.
- Eggs: A 2011 Australian study has shown that tea tree oil can kill around 44% of all lice eggs in a single treatment. The study also showed that lavender oil has a similar effect on lice eggs.
- Lice on livestockThere are numerous studies on the effect of tea tree oil on lice in domestic animals (such as sheep and donkeys). These studies have found that the oil is also effective on non-human lice.