Lice are small wingless parasitic insects that feed on blood. Worldwide, there are over 3,000 species of lice, but the three most common human lice are head lice, body lice, and crab lice or pubic lice [R] [R].
In the United States, the majority of pediculosis cases are among children between 3 and 11 years of age with around 6 million to 12 million cases each year [R].
The bad news is that in the United States and Canada, 99.6 percent of tested lice have developed a resistance to common lice treatment [R]. Additionally, in Florida, California, Minnesota, and Maine, all tested lice were resistant to permethrin, a common active ingredient used in the treatment of lice [R].
In line with this news, when treating lice, it may be better to consider effective natural options backed by scientific studies.
1. Tea Tree Oil and Lavender Oil
A study done in 2010 looked into the effectiveness of tea tree oil and lavender oil as lice treatment by using 1 percent lavender oil and 10 percent tea tree oil in a topical lotion. After the final day of treatment, a 97.6 percent successful lice elimination was reported [R].
2. Neem Extract
Aside from being a good anti-dandruff oil, neem extract is also a good lice treatment because it contains components that disrupt a louse’s life cycle. It is both a good insecticide and repellent, and this was proved in a study done with 60 lice-infested children who were treated with a shampoo containing neem extract [R] [R] [R].
3. Anise Oil, Coconut Oil, and Ylang Ylang Oil
The European Journal of Pediatrics published a study that showed that a mixture of coconut oil and anise oil is an effective treatment against lice. In the study, it had an 82 percent success rate, which is greater than the 42 percent success rate of permethrin [R].
The Israel Medication Association Journal also did a study that showed an even greater success rate using a mixture of coconut oil, anise oil, and ylang ylang oil. The treatment regimen of three times a day at five-day intervals showed a 92.3 percent success rate with no adverse reactions [R].