Head lice are not particularly dangerous, but they are extremely unpleasant. When they persist despite multiple treatments, people may become very frustrated. Some parents are concerned about having to use insecticides repeatedly. As lice develop resistance to commonly used pesticides, however, parents may need to treat children time after time to try to eradicate the lice. Can you use olive oil to overcome lice?
Using Olive Oil to Overcome Lice:
Q. Years ago, my oldest child had head lice and I was completely unfamiliar with the situation and the best treatment. As a result, I went the chemical route and spent a fortune on nasty, stinky chemicals which eventually worked.
Years later, when my youngest contracted the nasty critters, I had learned a quicker, cheaper and far healthier alternative which was totally successful. I coated the hair very liberally with olive oil, massaging it through and through. Then I put a tight shower cap on the kid and put a towel on the pillow before she went to bed. In the morning, all the creepies had suffocated and the hair was very nicely conditioned! I had to shampoo her hair several times until we got all of the oil out, but it worked like a charm!
Home Remedies for Fighting Lice:
A. People have been looking for home remedies to treat lice because many of the OTC insecticidal shampoos have lost effectiveness. Lice can be smothered with mineral oil or petroleum jelly (Wolf et al, PLOS One, June 10, 2016). Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser can also be used to suffocate lice.
Olive oil has not been shown to be as effective, though one study reported that an olive-oil based soap was roughly 76 percent effective in killing lice (Soler et al, Semergen, March, 2017). All suffocation methods require retreatment after a week since they don’t always kill lice eggs (nits). Retreating kills the lice who hatch from those eggs, preferably before they have a chance to lay eggs themselves.