Is Coconut Oil Head Lice Treatment Really Effective?

Can coconut oil help us get rid of head lice? It’s a question we get asked at least weekly in our treatment centers—usually from worried moms. More than just here to treat you, Lice Troopers equips you with the right information & tools to prevent and treat head lice effectively yourself. Today, we’re tackling an ingredient that’s been hyped up online: Coconut Oil—How do lice hold up against it? Keep reading to learn: Is coconut oil head lice treatment really effective? If NO, why? If YES, to what extent?


We won’t mislead you with a claim that coconut oil doesn’t treat lice AT ALL. This is untrue. It does, according to the evidence. But to what extent? An English clinical trial tested a coconut oil & anise spray lice treatment against the most widely used pediculicide in OTC lice treatments. They found coconut oil was better at treating head lice than OTC treatments. It may seem jarring. After all, why would oil work better than products specifically designed for lice? But this doesn’t come as a surprise. We  know that head lice have genetically evolved over the years to develop resistance against pyrethrins and pyrethroids. This has made those expensive OTC products ineffective. We can see this displayed in a Brazilian clinical trial that also tested coconut oil, showing it was superior to some OTC treatments. This same study also concluded that most OTC lice products didn’t have “satisfactory efficacy.” Basically, the OTC lice treatments all helped a bit—but none helped enough. So, we know coconut oil can treat head lice somehow, some way.  But the question remains:

How Can Applying Coconut Oil Kill Head Lice?

What does coconut oil do to kill these new parasitic tenants?  Solid at room temperature, coconut oil is particularly vicious. Relying on this viscosity attributed to its free fatty acid mixture, coconut oil can suffocate and kill head lice. It’s not just the oil-free fatty acid, though. The Specific  mixture of free and fatty acids found in coconut oil repels blood sucking pests such as mosquitoes and ticks. Seems simple enough, right? Well

If Coconut Oil Treats Lice, To What Extent?

Before we can answer this, let’s remember the basics of a lice infestation. Somehow, a louse crawls onto your head. Then, it stops to feed & lay some eggs (nits). These tiny eggs hatch—and voilà! You’re infested. Now back to the question at hand, but keep that in mind! Just how effective is coconut oil as a head lice treatment?  Studies say it’s more effective than OTC products, so we know that it does work—to a certain extent. But there’s a problem… As with any treatment for head lice, you need to be very thorough. And killing only the adult lice won’t cut it. To stop a lice infestation, you need to address the nits. Remember those?

But—What About The Nits?

We’ve established that an adult female louse lays her eggs in groups called nits. And as bizarrely gross as this sounds, these little egg clusters (which look like dandruff) are actually glued onto hair shafts near the scalp and covered with a protein layer. Since they don’t budge, nits frustrate people to no end—even more than their adult counterparts. So much so that what people often think of as “lice” are actually nits! If those pesky nits hatch, the nymphs that emerge feed on human blood, becoming adults in no time! They then lay some of their own eggs. And the cycle begins again. So, nits continue your infestation just as much as adult lice do!

Does Coconut Oil Kill Lice Eggs?

Suffocating agents like coconut oil don’t work on nits (lice eggs). They’re immune! Though tiny, nits can be put through the ringer and still survive. These resilient little eggs have a protective casing that acts as a barrier, shielding the unborn louse from penetrating agents. This barrier prevents anything from killing them when they lie dormant. Think the secret service at POTUS’s bedtime. So, the short answer? No, coconut oil doesn’t kill lice eggs. While it may help kill full-fledged adult lice, coconut oil does nothing to eliminate nits. A nit can hatch, evolve into a louse, lay up to 8 nits of its own per day, and your lice infestation continues.

Should I Use Coconut Oil To Treat my lice? 

So, you may be thinking: What’s the verdict? Will coconut oil put an end to my kid’s lice infestation or not? No, coconut oil treatment cannot help you get rid of head lice. It offers some level of relief but ultimately, the infestation remains. Then what works? There’s one tried-and-true method: combing out the lice.  It may take time, but manually removing each louse and nit is the only 100% foolproof way to get rid of the infestation. Like to do things yourself? Our professional comb can help you tackle the task yourself.  The do-it-yourself method often takes hours, though—and it’s easy to miss nits or adult lice. If you leave just one louse behind, you’ll have to do it all again in a few days. To be 100% sure that your treatment has fully eradicated your infestation, opt for professional treatment. Our lice technicians have been at this for years—so they may be quick & efficient, but they’re also thorough. It’s guaranteed: if you get re-infested within 2 weeks, you’ll get retreated for free (but don’t worry—we’ll get every last louse!) Suffering from an infestation? Visit our lice clinic in Winter Park to get treated and be lice-free in an hour or less! Or learn more about which lice treatments are effective here.