Peppermint Oil for Lice. Does Peppermint Prevent or Kill Lice?
Discover if you can use peppermint oil to prevent and treat head lice. Can peppermint oil kills lice and nits?
12 million kids will get head lice this year. Is your child one of them?
If lice seems more prevalent then ever before that's because it is! Why? Because lice have become immune to over-the-counter treatments that worked in the past.
Before reading this article you should WATCH THE VIDEO above so that you can learn these 5 things and be successful.
Here are a few of the key points covered in the video:
- Some home remedies help with lice and some make lice way WORSE (find out which ones in the video).
- Lice can play dead (learn what I mean in the video)
- What's DANGEROUS?
- Lice eggs/nits and home remedies
- Home remedy treatment plan
Here are the links to the two articles I talk about in the video...
First, you should know that if you are struggling with head lice, it is not your fault. The current strain of head lice is immune to pesticides found in over the counter treatments and prescriptions. So most treatments won’t kill lice, no matter how long you leave them on.
Multiple studies have proven that lice are immune to treatments that worked in the past. Yet, many parents unaware of the research, try big named products 5 or 6 times, before finally giving up and trying something else.
Lice today are called “super lice” because they have genetic mutations that make them immune to most treatments. They are VERY difficult to kill.
Are you better off using a home remedy like peppermint oil?
Before talking about whether or not Peppermint Oil kills lice, you should ask yourself a critical question...
Do you want to KILL LICE or GET RID OF LICE???
Because there’s a big difference! Killing lice today, does NOT get rid of lice. If you focus all of your energy on killing lice bugs, you will NEVER get rid of lice!
When you have lice you have 2 problems, lice bugs, and lice eggs. Often people focus all of their attention on lice bugs, but neglect the much bigger problem- LICE EGGS! Those eggs are full of little lice bugs, just waiting to hatch and start this whole lice cycle all over again! That’s why you keep getting lice back!
So, if you're plan is to get rid of lice then you need to tackle both lice bugs and lice eggs.
Does Peppermint Oil Prevent Lice?
Head lice are like sharks…
Lice have a keen sense of smell, and they are attracted to human blood. Just like sharks and mosquitoes, they can smell when blood is near.
When lice smell a new yummy head, they instinctively want to get there and begin their feast. This is why lice spread to so many unsuspecting individuals.
The good news is...
As it turns out, you can use lice’s keen sense of smell against them. Because lice are so sensitive to smell, they will instinctively run away from any scent they don’t like.
Believe it or not, your secret weapon lies in essential oils--the same essential oils that smell amazing to you. If you have these scents in your hair or on your head, quick as lightning, lice will run the opposite direction to get away from you.
Even though lice hate these scents, they smell wonderful to humans. Essential oils like this are called lice repellents or lice deterrents.
Other essential oils that have shown lice repellent qualities include tea tree oil, lavender, rosemary, geranium, and citronella. For a full list of the 19 essential oils that deter lice check out my other article here.
If your child doesn’t have lice and you are just looking for prevention information, click here to skip to the Peppermint Oil For Lice Prevention section of this article.
Can Peppermint Oil Kill Lice?
Peppermint oil is an excellent weapon in the fight against head lice in terms of prevention, but that’s as far as it goes. Lice don’t want to be near the scent of peppermint, but that doesn’t mean it’ll kill them.
Once you have a head lice infestation, it’s too late to try to use peppermint to deter them. They’ve already made a home on your head, and they aren’t going to leave your head just because you put peppermint oil in your hair.
Although a good lice deterrent, peppermint is not a lice killer.
In one study, researchers tested peppermint along with 54 other essential oils in its effects on head lice, and peppermint oil did not kill lice. Even though peppermint shows a significant ability to repel lice, tea tree oil, the only essential oil that can kill lice, although it’s not the best lice killer.
Peppermint oil by itself is not an effective lice killer, but if mixed with other essential oils such as tea tree oil or lavender, it may be helpful in the fight against head lice.
Peppermint or Tea Tree Oil for Lice
Tea tree oil alone can be effective at killing head lice, but if you would like to use a combination of peppermint and tea tree together, that’s fine too.
Don’t run out and buy some tea tree shampoo at your local salon that will not kill head lice. Tea tree oil must be used in high concentrations to kill lice, and the concentrations in tea tree shampoo are not adequate.
In one study, scientists compared highly concentrated tea tree and lavender essential oils to traditional over-the-counter treatments. Tea tree oil killed significantly more lice than the over-the-counter treatments, which only killed about 25% of lice.
The major disadvantage with both tea tree oil and peppermint oil is that when it is applied directly to the scalp, it can cause burning and other reactions. You need to dilute both of these oils with a carrier oil such as coconut oil, olive oil, argan oil, etc. before use. I recommend coconut oil because coconut oil kills lice, whereas olive oil does not.
I recommend tea tree over peppermint oil for young children because peppermint is not recommended for children under the age of six as it can, on very rare occasions, cause trouble breathing.
Also, peppermint oil in high concentrations on the scalp can severely irritate and even burn the skin. Whereas tea tree oil is less likely to do that.
I outline exactly how to kill lice with tea tree oil in my article Tea Tree Oil For Lice: How to Kill and Prevent Lice Using Tea Tree Oil.
Peppermint and Lice Eggs
If you’re new to head lice: Lice eggs and nits are the same thing. I use the words interchangeably.
Nits have a strong impenetrable shell on them. This shell protects them from any chemicals, solutions, or toxins. So lice treatments and home remedies can not kill them or prevent them from hatching.
Both tea tree oil and peppermint oil have little to no effect on lice eggs. Lice eggs WILL hatch after treatment unless you remove them from the head.
Those that don’t remove lice eggs from the head will find themselves in this endless cycle of head lice.
What's the FASTEST Way To Get Rid of Lice?
The purpose of My Lice Advice is to help parents get rid of lice as fast as possible. And the fastest way to get rid of lice is to get rid of lice in one day, no re-treatments. This is how lice professionals like myself get rid of lice in lice centers. Most people assume that lice professionals use some kind of crazy strong lice product or something. But the truth is that's not how lice professionals get rid of lice so fast....
When I treat lice in my lice center I don't use any toxic chemicals or special treatments. In fact, you can do a professional lice treatment at home without buying any lice products. I teach parents how to do this professional technique on their children at home, on my page Get Rid of Lice Like A Pro!
In Get Rid of Lice Like A Pro! you learn how to get rid of lice in less than a day by doing what the pro's do. And it's gone permanently- there are no re-treatments, and no messing around with lice kits. You do the professional technique on your child at home, you kill all of the lice and the lice eggs in one session and then you're done with lice.
That's the FASTEST and MOST EFFECTIVE way to get rid of lice. You can learn how to do it by clicking here.
3 Week Plan To Get Rid of Lice
Obviously this is not the regime I use, because I get rid of lice in one day, but it is possible to get rid of lice without my technique. If you plan to use Tea Tree Oil and Peppermint oil to get rid of lice then you should prepare for it taking you a VERY LONG TIME. Because, although it can help with lice bugs, neither of those essential oils are going to do anything to help with lice eggs. Those lice eggs are going to keep hatching and re-infesting your child over and over again.
Many people struggle with lice for weeks, months, or years, trying one lice treatment and home remedy after another and I don’t want that to be your story, so let me get you on the right track...
If you're going to get rid of lice using a home remedy, then plan on being extremely disciplined and focused on retreating, combing, and nit-picking for at least 3 weeks.
Even the best home remedies and lice treatments do not kill all lice. They only kill the weakest lice, leaving the strongest lice live on, breed with one another, and create even stronger lice! (Gross I know). Also, although many lice eggs hatch in 1-2 weeks, different studies have shown that lice eggs can hatch anywhere between 4 days and 21 days, depending on the temperature and other factors. So, you'll need to keep retreating every 5 days to ensure that you kill lice bugs as they hatch, before they can start laying eggs of their own.
To give yourself the best chances of getting rid of lice you need to be obsessive for 3 weeks.
Here's what you'd do:
Today: Treat with a home remedy that kills some of the lice like the ones in this article (Peppermint Oil is NOT one of them!). Comb with a lice comb or nit-pick, and try to remove as many lice eggs as possible. Do house cleaning that I recommend in the House Cleaning - Everything You Need to Know to Get Rid of Lice in Your House.
Day 5: Retreat with a home remedy or treatment that kills most lice and comb with a lice comb or nit-pick and try to remove as many lice eggs as possible. Do house cleaning that I recommend in the House Cleaning - Everything You Need to Know to Get Rid of Lice in Your House.
Day 10: Retreat with a home remedy or treatment that kills most lice and comb with a lice comb or nit-pick and try to remove as many lice eggs as possible. Do house cleaning that I recommend in the House Cleaning - Everything You Need to Know to Get Rid of Lice in Your House.
Day 15: Retreat with a home remedy or treatment that kills most lice and comb with a lice comb or nit-pick and try to remove as many lice eggs as possible. Do house cleaning that I recommend in the House Cleaning - Everything You Need to Know to Get Rid of Lice in Your House.
Day 20: Retreat with a home remedy or treatment that kills most lice and comb with a lice comb or nit-pick and try to remove as many lice eggs as possible. Do house cleaning that I recommend in the House Cleaning - Everything You Need to Know to Get Rid of Lice in Your House.
These are the biggest reasons why I'm not a fan of doing a treatment like peppermint/tea tree oil requires re-treatments and why I encourage people to get rid of lice in one day in Get Rid of Lice Like A Pro.
Reason #1- You’ll have lice for AT LEAST 3 weeks. I’m not a fan of any idea of living with lice for weeks on end, and that’s what you’ll be doing. Lice eggs will be hatching on your child’s head every day, which means she will have head lice crawling on her head until you do another treatment.
Reason #2- Eggs hatch at variable times. Eggs will not hatch all at once. Many lice eggs hatch in about 7-10 days from when they are laid. But, some lice eggs hatch sooner (4 days and other hatch later. Some studies shows lice eggs hatching 15 days later. So, you’ll need to do these treatments for AT LEAST 3 weeks to ensure they’re effective.
Reason #3- Lice eggs are your first sign of lice. Early in an infestation, you don’t usually see lice bugs; you see lice eggs. If you do not remove lice eggs from previous outbreaks you won’t figure out your child has lice until she’s had it for a very long time because you’ll assume the eggs in the hair are “old eggs.”
Reason #4- Having lice for weeks can spread it. The longer your child has lice, the more likely she is to spread it to others in the home. Let’s say a few lice hatch the day after the treatment. What’s to keep lice from spreading to her siblings and friends?
If you choose the “repeat treatments” method, your child will have lice for several weeks, because every day new baby lice will hatch from the eggs left in the hair.
If you want to get rid of lice fast, skip the re-treatments, and move on with your life then learn how to do the professional technique I teach on the Get Rid of Lice Like A Pro page.
Peppermint Oil For Lice Prevention
In studies, peppermint, along with several other essential oils act as lice repellents.
But, using peppermint oil alone as lice prevention is a mistake. I see hundreds of people in my salon who have been using tea tree or peppermint shampoo for years, yet still, wind up with head lice.
Peppermint alone is better than not using any lice deterring scents, but it is not adequate for preventing lice on its own for most people. You are much better off using a variety of essential oils proven to ward off head lice.
Here are the most lice repelling essential oils:
Not all Essential Oils Are Equal
Be careful to use essential oils that are pure and undiluted. Many sell knock offs and “scented” oils that are not essential oils. To prevent lice, you need legitimate essential oils that are quality tested.
Peppermint Oil for Lice Prevention Spray Tutorial
The most important word of caution here is that some people, especially young children, can have reactions to peppermint oil. It’s not recommended for kids younger than 6 years old because it can cause respiratory problems. Peppermint can also cause skin irritation for some people, so be careful.
You can add peppermint oil to your shampoo or conditioner, but better lice prevention comes from having the scent of peppermint in the hair at all times. This is best done by spraying the scent in the hair and NOT washing it out.
- 8 oz spray bottle
- 6 oz of distilled or purified water
- 2 Tablespoons of carrier oil such as fractionated coconut oil or olive oil
- 10 drops of Peppermint Oil (or use a blend in my other article for better protection)
- Combine ingredients in an 8 oz spray bottle.
- Shake vigorously.
- Spray every day in hair for lice prevention, shaking vigorously before each use.
- Replace every 1-2 months (this is for bacterial reasons)
More About Lice Prevention
There are some very effective lice prevention sprays already on the market. These sprays are a combination of all of the best prevention essential oils. Instead of making one yourself, you can buy one. I review all lice prevention sprays in another article.
If you're serious about lice prevention then check out my article 21 Ways to Prevent Lice.
Better Home Remedies Than Peppermint Oil
If you are looking for an all-natural way to get rid of lice then the very best and FASTEST way to do that is by learning how to do a professional lice treatment on your child at home. You don't need to buy any lice kits or lice products, and you can be done with lice in less than a day. That's what I teach on my page Get Rid of Lice Like A Pro!
If you're set on doing it on your own and you want to hunt around for a home remedy then you can find a list of much better home remedies in my article 37 Home Remedies for Lice. In that article I evaluate every home remedy for lice and let you know how many lice and lice eggs they kill.
You should know that even the best home remedies only kill 80% of lice bugs and no home remedies kill lice eggs. If you decide to go that route then plan on retreating and nit-picking for about 3 weeks.
You can find the Home Remedies article here.
Summing it Up…
Peppermint can be a powerful tool to protect yourself from head lice, but it is not an adequate lice killer.
If you plan to use a home remedy for lice then I DO NOT recommend you use Peppermint. Instead I’d recommend you use a more effective home remedy like the ones I cover in this article. But, understand that there is no home remedy or treatment out there that kills all lice bugs or lice eggs, so it’s going to take you several weeks to get rid of lice using a method like that. If you want to get rid of lice quickly, you should check out the How to Get Rid of Lice Like a Pro! Online Courseand get rid of it in ONE DAY.
All the best,
Theresa, My Lice Advice
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Theresa is a lice expert with years of experience curing children of lice. She currently works with government agencies and non-profit organizations to help children with the most severe head lice infestations in the US.
Originally trained as a Registered Nurse, she changed specialties to study lice. Later, she opened a lice treatment center where she perfected the PRO technique she teaches in the Get Rid of Lice Like A Pro online course. She now works helping those struggling with lice around the world.
She is the creator of MyLiceAdvice.com, one of the top lice informational websites in the world and she teaches parents around the world how to get rid of lice in less than a day in the Get Rid of Lice Like a Pro online course.
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