Natural Remedies For Lice In Kids

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If you’ve somehow survived a lice epidemic as a kid, then you should be on display in a museum because you’re quite unique. People should be paying to see you or your parents who somehow used preventative measures to keep you safe and protected against those little relentless menaces. Most schools, if not all, conduct lice checks and I’ve been sent home once or twice because of the nits they found in my hair. My mom, bless her heart, would spend hours cleaning, treating, and combing my hair to clean them out. It was exhausting for me so I’m sure it was worse for her. I wasn’t allowed to go to school until they were all gone, so we had to put in a lot of effort. I say “we”, but it was mostly my mom. 

Even though lice can spread very easily, they don’t carry any diseases so if a child has lice that doesn’t mean they are unclean. They can be extremely annoying and persistent though which makes having them feel like it’s the end of the world. Even though my mom used chemical treatments on me as a child, she and I now realize that there are healthier and more natural ways to treat lice. 

Why Do Kids Get Lice?

Two girls looking at book in field.

Kids in close contact.

Lice in kids’ hair are more common than lice in adult hair but that’s not because lice prefer children’s hair. It’s because children aren’t as protective of their personal space as adults are. They’re more likely to hug their friends and share hairbrushes and hats. Being in a classroom full of kids is similar to being in a louse breeding ground every day. It’s a misconception that kids who get lice are dirty. Children should be taught not to share hats and brushes. It’s hard to teach a toddler that even hugging their friend could cause them to get lice. 

Lice actually prefer clean hair over dirty tresses. The trick, however, is getting rid of the eggs before they start to hatch. Adult lice hop from head to head laying eggs. There are three stages of lice and those are nits, nymph, and finally louse. They don’t pose a major health threat besides being irritating and itchy. They do feed off blood from the scalp though. Nits can be very hard to spot, which is why lice spread so quickly. They may look like dandruff or shampoo residue. Since lice can spread so quickly and easily, schools conduct lice checks. They are difficult to see unless you’re seriously looking for them. 

Top 4 Natural Home Remedies For Lice

1. Tea Tree Oil

Woman dropping oil from bottle into hand.

Tea tree oil for lice.

When you or your child has lice, you may instantly want to reach for a chemical-based product, but there are natural methods that could be just as effective. Tea tree oil has been a popular remedy for an array of skin conditions because it has antimicrobial properties. It has even been proved to be comparable to over-the-counter lice treatments. Tea tree oil is an essential oil, which means that it’s potent and concentrated. Therefore, it can cause irritation if applied directly to the scalp on its own. This the reason that it’s a common ingredient in shampoos or lice prevention shampoos and products. 

2. Neem Oil For Lice

Neem oil is very similar to tea tree oil. Therefore, it can be just as effective in treating lice. There are components in neem oil that disrupt the life cycle of your standard head lice. It’s commonly used as an insect repellent in gardens as well. Neem oil can be found in many over-the-counter shampoos. You can also add ten drops of the oil to about an ounce of regular shampoo. As a warning, you should know that neem oil does not smell good, which is why it’s not often a first choice. 

3. Clove Oil

Cloves scattered on black background.

Cloves.

The use of clove oil to repel lice was tested in vitro as an experimental study in 2016. In a petri dish, the lice avoided the spot of clove oil. You can use this knowledge to your benefit. Add about five drops of clove oil to a carrier oil like coconut oil, and place some behind your ears. You can also leave a bottle of clove oil in your shower and when you pour shampoo or conditioner into your hand, add 2 drops of the oil as well. The oil should be added to whatever you do last. This should keep lice far away from your head. 

4. Lavender Oil For Lice

Lavender in hands.

Hands holding lavender.

Lavender oil is known as a natural insect repellent because of its smell. To you and me, the aroma of lavender oil is soothing and relaxing, but insects do not like it at all. Lavender oil should be added to a carrier oil and massaged into your scalp and hair. Let it sit while wearing a shower cap overnight. Lavender oil can get rid of the lice, but not necessarily the nits. You’ll still have to comb those out in the morning, but it should be easier if your hair is coated in a carrier oil like coconut or argan oil.

Best Lice Treatment For Kids

If you need to treat your child’s hair for lice, you’re in for a fun ride. It’s not a pleasant experience, but it has to be done and unfortunately, that responsibility falls on you. Many parents prefer to avoid the chemical route because those treatments come with a lot of side effects. To treat your child’s head lice, you want something that won’t make them sit in a chair for hours at a time. Therefore, the best lice treatment for kids is using tea tree oil. 

There are two ways to use te tree oil. The first is by putting it into a spray bottle with water and spraying it onto your child’s hair. Cover it with a towel for about an hour. You can just stick them in front of the television. I know it seems like a lot of screen time, but lice treatment calls for a lot of television. Your child won’t even notice that they have a towel on their head for that long. If they can’t stay still for so long, 30 minutes will also do. You should rinse their hair after the treatment is completed. Doing this twice a week should get rid of the live bugs. You can also add tea tree oil to your child’s shampoo or conditioner to help you comb out the nits and as an effective prevention method. 

Conclusion

If lice weren’t such a bother, they would probably go unnoticed. However, since they come with a lot of itching and irritation, you need to act quickly and diligently to nip them in the bud. It’s very common for children to get head lice, which is why it’s important for parents and caretakers to know how to deal with them. Over-the-counter treatments may work but they can do more harm than good. If you’ve ever read one of those packages, you know that they list a good amount of possible side effects. Why even worry about those side effects, when there are natural remedies to try? 

Tea tree oil, among other essential oils, have been proven to treat and prevent lice from setting up camp in yours and your child’s hair. Lice can return quickly if the entire infestation isn‘t cleared out. When one child has lice, the entire family needs to be treated. I know it’s time-consuming, but it’s better to deal with it all at once the correct way than letting it recur for months. You’ll need to wash everything in warm water and put in the dryer on high heat. For things that can’t go in the washing machine, you can put them just in the dryer. If you want to quickly make sure all the stuffed animals are clean, put them all in a tightly sealed garbage bag. This will suffocate lice and eggs so you don’t need to worry about them coming back anytime soon. 

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