How To Get Rid Of Head Lice Using Olive Oil

Medically Reviewed By Dr. Shruti Chavan , MBBS, Dermatologist, Dermatologist
Written by Annie Jangam

Head lice infestation, common in children, is a benign condition but an irritating and embarrassing one. However, anecdotal evidence supports using olive oil for head lice. So, how does it work against this contagious but harmless condition? Does this natural ingredient kill these tiny parasites or only help in removing them? Can olive oil be an effective alternative to OTC (over-the-counter) lice treatments that have several side effects? Well, this article answers all these queries and explores the best ways to use olive oil to eliminate head lice. Keep reading to find them out.

Does Olive Oil Kill Lice?

No, olive oil does not kill head lice. But it lubricates the hair and facilitates the easy removal of lice and nits (lice eggs) from the hair and scalp (1). The oil is widely believed to act as a suffocating agent that can drown the lice. Further research is warranted to test this theory (2).

The exact mechanism of how olive oil can help eliminate head lice is yet to be studied. But several testimonials approve the use of olive oil for this purpose. Keep reading to learn the various ways you can use olive oil treat lice infestation.

How to Use Olive Oil For Head Lice Removal?

1. Olive Oil And Shampoo

What You Need

What To Do

  1. Wash your hair with a clarifying shampoo to remove any product residue from your hair. This step is critical as the residue may otherwise reduce the effectiveness of olive oil.
  2. Liberally apply olive oil to your hair and scalp. Dividing your hair into several sections can ease this process.
  3. Tie your hair into a bun and put on your shower cap. Ensure the elastic of the shower cap is tight enough to let it sit securely on your head (to keep the lice from escaping).
  4. Leave the shower cap on for 4 to 6 hours.
  5. Remove the shower cap and comb the lice out with a nit removal comb. Clean the comb with paper towels at regular intervals. Dispose the paper towels once you are done.
  6. Wash and shampoo your hair twice after you are done.
  7. Divide your hair into sections and blow-dry close to the scalp on medium heat. This will kill the nits.
  8. Follow this routine 2 to 3 times a week until your hair is free from head lice.

2. Olive Oil And Eucalyptus Oil

Eucalyptus oil works as an antiseptic (3). Along with olive oil, it may help eliminate head lice.

What You Need

  • 4 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 15 to 20 drops of eucalyptus oil
  • Shower cap
  • Nit removal comb

What To Do

  1. Mix the olive and eucalyptus oils in a bowl.
  2. Apply the mixture to your hair and scalp.
  3. Tie your hair and put on the shower cap. Leave it on for 2 to 3 hours.
  4. Remove the shower cap and comb out all the lice and nits.
  5. Wash and shampoo your hair.
  6. Follow this routine thrice a week.

3. Olive Oil, Coconut Oil, And White Vinegar

Olive oil and coconut oil suffocate the lice and restrict their movement. Anecdotal evidence suggests that white vinegar may dissolve the glue that helps the nits stick to your hair shaft.

What You Need

  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons of coconut oil
  • White vinegar
  • Shower cap
  • Nit removal comb
  • Anti-lice shampoo

What To Do

  1. Mix the olive and coconut oils in a bowl.
  2. Apply the mixture to your hair and scalp.
  3. Put on a shower cap and leave it on for an hour.
  4. Remove the shower cap and comb out all the lice and eggs.
  5. Wash and shampoo your hair.
  6. Apply the white vinegar all over your hair and scalp and leave it on for an hour.
  7. Comb out all the nits and wash your hair with theanti-lice shampoo.
  8. Follow this routine twice a week.

4. Olive Oil And Tea Tree Oil

A mixture of olive and tea tree oils helps eliminate head lice. Tea tree oil has insecticidal and insect-repellent properties (4).

What You Need

  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon of tea tree oil
  • 2 tablespoons of herbal shampoo (to dilute the otherwise harsh tea tree oil that may cause skin irritation)
  • Shower cap
  • Nit removal comb

What To Do

  1. Mix the olive oil, tea tree oil, and shampoo in a bowl.
  2. Apply the mixture to your hair and scalp and put on a shower cap.
  3. Leave it on for 30 minutes.
  4. Wash your hair with hot water and the herbal shampoo.
  5. Comb out all the dead lice and nits while your hair is still wet.
  6. Follow this routine twice a week.

5. Olive Oil And Sesame Seed Oil

Sesame seed oil has antibacterial and insecticidal properties (5). It may work in conjunction with olive oil to get rid of head lice and their eggs.

What You Need

  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons of sesame seed oil
  • Shower cap
  • Nit removal comb

What To Do

  1. Mix the olive and sesame seed oils and apply the mixture to your hair and scalp.
  2. Put on a shower cap and leave it on overnight.
  3. Comb out all the dead lice the following morning.
  4. Wash and shampoo your hair.
  5. Follow this routine every day.

Conclusion

Olive oil has been traditionally used to treat lice infestation. It is believed to suffocate the lice. It also lubricates the hair and allows the easy removal of lice and nits. While more research is warranted in this regard, using olive oil for removing head lice seems to be safe. All you need is some time, energy, and patience –and the results would be worth it.

Sources

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Dr. Shruti Chavan

( MBBS, Dermatologist)
Dr. Shruti Chavan is a consulting dermatologist at Dr.Sheth's Skin and Hair Clinic since 6 years. She is a co-committee... more