Neem oil is vegetable oil that extracted from the fruits and seeds of the small to medium-sized evergreen Neem tree (botanically known as Azadirachta indica), growing in both subtropical and tropical regions. In asian countries, Neem tree is being considered as a powerful remedy for various skin problems, owing to its healing characteristics. Ayurveda has been actively utilizing Neem oil for skin care since ancient days.
The bioactive components of neem are found in all parts of the tree, but fruits, twigs, leaves and bark are mostly used, because they contain azadirachtin — a compound that provides the oil its fungicidal, antibacterial, antiinflammatory and antihelminthic characteristics. Due to these characteristics Neem seed oil helps in strengthening the immune system and fighting various infections.
The oil varies in colour: it can be golden yellow or greenish brown, contingent on the way of extraction. Very bitter in taste, mainly due to the content of triglycerides and triterpenoic compounds, Neem oil have an odor resembling mustard, garlic, or sulfur. Due to the content of essential fatty acids, neem oil displays a positive effect on the skin and hair, deeply penetrating within the skin.
Uses of Neem Oil For Skin
Neem seed oil contains many nutrients, so it is often added to various cosmetic preparations (face creams, soaps, nail polish, shampoos, conditioners, household products, etc.). This oil has antibacterial activities, fighting the bacteria that causes acne. Hemostatic characteristics of the oil help in the treatment of minor cuts and wounds. It also reduces dryness, redness and itching of the skin.
Protects skin and slows aging
Neem seed oil contains a significant amount of antioxidants, helping to protect the skin from free radicals and avert the signs of aging. When used systematically, the oil helps to smooth wrinkles and fine lines and improve age-related symptoms like redness and moisture retention. Vitamin E and fatty acids are quickly absorbed by the skin, without any feeling of greasy skin. These highly potent substances regenerate skin cells and restore their elasticity. Neem seed oil also stimulates collagen and elastin production, which are crucial substances for aging skin.
How to use:
Due to the high ratio of bioactive substances composing Neem seed oil, it’s a good practice to blend it together with a so-called carrier oil — like jojoba, almond, or coconut oil. The correct ratio would be 5-6 drops of the neem oil per one teaspoonful of base oil.
You may wish to enhance the smell by adding just a few drops of your favorite essential oil with a pleasant scent, like peppermint. Once the oils are mixed, use the combination as a moisturizer on the face and body.
Prepared blend may also be added to a warm bath to moisture and nourish larger areas of the body.
Use this treatment twice a week for the best results.
Helps fight acne
Neem oil is ideal for acne-prone skin, as it removes bacteria and impurities which are the major reasons for acne. It contains a substance that kills the acne-causing bacteria Propionibacterium acnes, and also reduces skin redness and relieves inflammation. The fatty acids contained in the oil protect the skin and help in the treatment of post-acne scars. It is worth noting that, unlike many other oils, Neem oil has low comedogenic index, therefore it does not clog pores.
Indians have been using the oil for centuries in the treatment of this kind of skin disorders. And science is trying to catch up. In one study was discovered that the oil is indeed useful for prolonged treatment of Acne.
How to use:
Warm a teaspoonful of grapeseed oil or olive oil and add 6 drops of neem seed oil. Apply on the face and wash it off after an hour or two, or let it work overnight, depending on your own level of tolerance to the oil. Do it on a regular basis for the best results.
Or you can prepare skin mask for yourself:
Face Mask with Neem oil, yogurt, turmeric and honey
Turmeric is an easily accessible Indian spice that is very effective in fighting acne because it has strong antiseptic activities. Yogurt contains lactic acid, so it removes dead skin cells and helps relax the skin. Honey nourishes the skin. Combine about a teaspoon of each product: yogurt, honey and turmeric. Add some 18 drops of Neem seed oil into the concoction. Stir to obtain a uniform consistency. You should get a slightly wet paste that easily applied on the skin and does not drip. Rinse your face with warm water and apply a mask, leave for half an hour. Keep in mind that after the mask for some time you will not go out, as turmeric stains the face for a while.
Face Mask with Cucumber and Neem oil
This is a very simple cooling mask, especially useful after long exposure to sun. To make a mask, peel the cucumber and mash in a blender. Then add 6 drops of the Neem oil to a spoon of the mash.
Mitigates the symptoms of atopic dermatitis, eczema and psoriasis.
Neem seed oil relieves the symptoms of these skin diseases. The high content of vitamin E and fatty acids, which quickly penetrate the outer layer of the skin, repair the protective barrier and avert moisture loss. In addition, the oil reduces inflammation and irritation of the skin. The compounds contained in the oil soothe redness and swelling of the skin, caring for dry and damaged skin and due to the antiseptic activities help fight infections.
How to use:
You ought not to rub undiluted neem seed oil on affected area. Undiluted Neem oil is pretty active and strong. If skin is already irritated, it could make things worse! As usual, blend it with a carrier oil — like almond, olive, or sunflower oil. The right proportion would be 2-3 drops of Neem oil for every teaspoonful of base oil.
Fights fungal skin diseases
Fungal infections of the skin, hair and nails are quite common. Due to the hedunine and nimbidin, antifungal substances discovered in the neem tree, the oil is able to eliminate more than 14 different strains of fungi. Neem oil is one of the most potent antifungal agents available in nature and can leave behind many other anti-fungal creams.
How to use:
Apply the undiluted neem seed oil onto the affected area using a cotton bud, and give it for up to 25 minutes to soak up. Then wash it off with warm water.
Use it daily to insure the best results.
Improves hair health
Neem seed oil can be found today in many antidandruff shampoos. With regular use, it balances hair’s natural pH level of the scalp, reduces irritation and dryness of the scalp, and also helps to resist fungal and pathogenic bacteria infections that often play a big part in dandruff occurrence. Moisturizing effects of Neem oil revitalize and restore dry, brittle, undernourished or rough hair, effectively controlling dandruff and making your hair shiny and silky.
How to use:
One of the best ways to maintain the effect is to add neem seed oil in your shampoo or conditioner. Or you can blend it with a carrier oil like almond or coconut or Amla oil:
for every tsp of base oil, add 3-4 drops of Neem oil. You may wish to mask the harsh odor of neem oil blending it with a few drops of an essential oil with a sweet scent (lavender oil, for example). Rub this gently into your scalp and let it work overnight. Do it once a week to insure the best results.
Prevents skin diseases in animals
Neem oil is used in many pet care products in India. The most common use of neem oil is as an insect repellent. There have been a few studies performed on the effectiveness of neem oil as a repellent for dogs and even horses. The studies had positive results: the substances contained in the oil not only repel ticks and fleas, but also prevent skin diseases in animals and help prevent their recurrence.
How to use:
You always can purchase online a good neem oil based pet shampoo. And any pet shampoo can be turned into neem based pet shampoo by adding some organic neem seed oil. (about 1 Organic Neem Oil part per 15 parts of shampoo).
Neem oil shampoo for animals keeps fleas, ticks, mites and any other biting insects away, and generally promotes a shiny coat and healthy, problem free skin. (Just like using neem products on your own hair and skin does.)
How To Choose High-Quality Neem Oil?
There are many varieties of Neem oil, and they all have similar characteristics. In order to achieve the best result, it is extremely important to understand exactly which oil you need to buy.
Choose natural cold pressed oil with no impurities — it is extracted from the seeds of a tree without thermal or chemical exposure, which allows preserving all the important nutrients.
The oilcake that remains after cold-pressing is then treated with solvents to produce low-grade oil, which is most often used in the commercial production of soap, insect repellents, etc. For maximum results, we advise you to choose the highest-grade cold-pressed Neem oil.
Side Effects And Contraindications
Allergic reactions are possible, so before using the oil, rub a droplet of the oil on the inside of the elbow or leg (never check for allergic reactions on the face or neck) to make sure it does not cause any irritation.
No matter how useful the oil may be, it ought not to be taken orally by people with hypersensitivity, pregnant women, nursing mothers, and also by children. External use is absolutely not dangerous, but before starting the internal use of oil, you ought to consult with medical specialists in this area. Large doses of neem taken orally may be toxic.
Neem oil stinks — that is true. But the compounds that give this sulfurous smell are the same very components that make neem oil so effective. You can effectively mask this smell, adding it in small doses to other base oils, or to compose it with citrus essential oils.
Where To Purchase
You can find in this article how to choose and where to buy high quality Neem tree based products.
Neem oil has been used since ancient times as a treatment for a variety of skin conditions, from dry, itchy skin and wrinkles to psoriasis and eczema. Neem oil is relatively inexpensive, easy to use, and quickly penetrate the outer layer of the skin, effectively nourishing and rejuvenating it.