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Neem is one of the most widely used natural remedies in Ayurvedic medicine. Neem, or Indian Lilac, contains effective antiseptic, antimicrobial, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory phytochemicals. (1)
Neem oil is extracted from the bark and seeds of the neem tree. (2) It has potent plant compounds (such as azadirachtin) that can be beneficial in healing acne, encouraging hair growth, fighting infections, etc. (3)
Neem oil has a number of health benefits for you – particularly when it comes to skin and hair. (4)
Neem Oil for Hair
Neem oil can help increase blood circulation to the scalp and stimulate hair growth. It also has antimicrobial properties that can help fight dandruff and scalp infections.
Here are some of the uses of neem oil for your hair:
1. Reduces dandruff
Neem oil contains beneficial plant compounds such as nimbidin, which is an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent, and azadirachtin, which is an antifungal compound. (5) Thus, applying neem oil to your scalp can help reduce dandruff and scalp irritation. (6)
You can add 2–3 drops of neem oil to 1 teaspoon of coconut oil and massage the oil all over your scalp. Let it sit for 20–30 minutes before washing it off.
2. Supports hair health and encourages hair growth
Neem oil improves blood flow to the scalp, encourages healthy hair growth, and protects the hair from damage due to its high antioxidant content. (1) Recent studies have shown that it helps increase hair growth in men and women suffering from alopecia. (7)
You can make a neem hair mask by mixing a few drops of neem oil with 2 teaspoons of coconut oil and 1 teaspoon of sandalwood powder. Apply the mixture evenly to your scalp and hair. Let it sit for half an hour before washing it off with cold water.
3. Prevents head lice
Azadirachtin, present in neem oil, is a strong insecticide and helps kill head lice. Insects are repulsed by the smell of neem oil, which will also prevent head louse infestations. (8) Neem oil also helps reduce itching and irritation caused by lice.
You can mix a few drops of neem oil with some coconut oil and apply the oil blend to your scalp. Wash it off after half an hour.
4. Manages scalp infections
Neem oil has strong antimicrobial properties that help treat scalp infections. It can reduce itching and inflammation as well as help kill the bacteria or fungi responsible for it.
You can mix neem oil with some carrier oil and apply this mixture to your scalp directly. Wash it off after 30–40 minutes.
Neem Oil for Skin
Neem oil can offer the following benefits for skin.
1. Treats acne
Neem oil has been used as a traditional remedy for acne for ages. It contains potent antibiotic properties that reduce acne. Its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds aid in providing relief from irritation and redness.
Apply 2–3 drops of neem oil mixed with 1 tablespoon of yogurt to the affected area. Wash it off after 10 minutes.
2. Fights signs of aging
Neem oil helps promote collagen production and increase the elasticity of the skin. This helps make the skin appear younger and fresher.
Two drops of neem oil can be mixed with some sandalwood powder and yogurt to make a de-aging mask. Apply this mask to your skin. Let it dry for 15–20 minutes before washing it off.
3. Manages dry and scaly skin conditions
Neem oil has moisture-locking properties that may help hydrate the skin and make it soft. It reduces dryness and scaly skin.
You can mix a few drops of neem oil with your moisturizer and apply the mixture to your skin directly.
4. Treats fungal infections
Neem has antifungal properties that can be useful in fighting fungal skin infections. It can reduce itching as well as the growth of fungus. (9)
You can apply neem oil mixed with a carrier oil directly to the affected area.
5. Reduces wrinkles
Neem oil is rich in vitamin E and other antioxidants that help increase collagen production in the skin. Collagen helps make the skin firm to reduce wrinkles and sagging. You can mix a few drops of neem oil with coconut oil and apply the oil blend directly to your skin. (9)
Tips for Using Neem Oil
Here are some additional tips on how to store and use neem oil:
- Always store neem oil in a cool and dry place away from heat or sunlight.
- You can mix some fragrant oil such as lavender or rose oil in the jar of neem oil to mask the smell of neem.
- Do not apply neem oil near your eyes.
- Do not consume neem oil.
Precautions to Consider
Neem oil can be a powerful ingredient, so never apply it directly to your skin without dilution. Moreover, do not consume neem oil. (10)
Children, people with liver or kidney disease, and those allergic to neem should not use neem oil.
Neem oil is a potent natural oil that has many benefits for the skin and hair. It is easy to use and affordable and does not have many side effects.
Do give it a try for your skin care needs and see the difference for yourself.
Note: Always perform a patch test before applying neem oil to the skin.