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How to Treat Head Lice with Neem Oil

Updated on August 15, 2017
Susan Hambidge profile image

Susan likes to seek out alternatives to using conventional drugs whenever practical.

Neem Oil can be Used to Get Rid of Hair Lice

Use cold-pressed neem oil in your hair to keep pests at bay
Use cold-pressed neem oil in your hair to keep pests at bay | Source

Natural Neem Oil for Hair

Neem oil has been used in India for thousands of years on hair, skin, animals and plants. It is a natural oil pressed from the seeds on Neem trees. It has a very strong and distinctive smell which works particularly well against pests of all kinds. The oil has anti fungal and antibacterial qualities and is used by those who prefer more natural remedies and who want to find alternatives to manufactured chemicals.

I use neem oil on my hair mixed with coconut oil to keep head lice away, I also use it on my feet once a week to soften the skin and on my dog when she has sore patches.

Massage Neem Oil into the Scalp and Hair

How to use Neem Oil to Get Rid of Head Lice

Firstly - just a little word of warning! Neem oil has a very strong smell that is quite distinctive - it smells like burnt garlic and onion which is not too pleasant. With this in mind, it is best to treat hair over night and when you have plenty of time to wash it out the next morning. Do not do this if you have a special occasion to go to or will be working closely with other people the next day.

  1. You can use Neem oil on your hair neat, or you can mix some coconut oil and tea tree oil with the neem. Head lice do not like tea tree oil, and coconut oil is an excellent natural conditioner for hair so this is a great mixture to use.
  2. Massage the oil into the scalp and hair roots paying special attention to the skin around the back of the ears and base of the neck as lice like these protected areas and tend to be present there. If you find the oil irritates the skin, stop immediately and dilute the solution with another oil such as olive or almond oil.
  3. Work some of the oil through the length of the hair too.
  4. Cover the hair with an old towel to stop the oil getting on clothing.
  5. Leave the oil on the hair for several hours, or overnight if possible.
  6. Shampoo the hair in the normal way several times to remove all the oil. This might take a couple of shampoos. It is possible to use a vinegar rinse to help get the all the oil out. Finish with a generous application of conditioner to make combing easier.
  7. Once the hair is clear of oil, use a standard nit comb to remove the lice eggs and dead lice. Take time to do this, making sure everything is removed.
  8. Finish off by washing the bedding and towels to make sure there are no live lice around to re-infest the hair.

How to Use Neem Oil

Make sure you buy a cold-pressed oil which has not been pre-mixed with anything else.

You can make your own neem shampoo if you mix the oil with everyday almond shampoo, but do not make it a long time in advance as the neem breaks down soon after mixing. Shampoo and rinse your hair in the usual way. A neem shampoo is a good way to periodically keep head lice a bay.

A good quality neem oil will harden as it gets cool, and sometimes appears lumpy in the bottle. To use it in a runny, liquid form, place the bottle of neem oil in a jug of hot water, or leave it in the sun, and it will liquify as it warms. Do not microwave it.

Neem oil must not be swallowed by people or animals. Usually the smell will put animals off, but make sure to store it safely out of reach when not in use.

Once you have neem oil in your home, it can be used for a great many other purposes. Look at how you can stop dogs from itching and keep ticks and pest off their fur.

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    • Lynn Voget Weston profile image

      Lynn Weston 

      16 months ago from Las Pinas Philippines

      Thanks that's good to know.

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