Neem Oil for Hair and Skin: 9 Benefits and How to Use It
Neem is often called Indian lilac because it is endemic to the Indian subcontinent, but its medicinal properties are recognized worldwide. The therapeutic properties of neem leaves and oil have been used by ancient medical schools, especially Ayurveda, to treat a wide range of diseases.
In fact, the pharmacological use of neem dates back to the period prior to recorded history, and the fact that it continues to be relevant further underscores its proven efficacy.
Originating from the mahogany plant family, neem is a drought-tolerant and fast-growing tree that is cultivated in all the arid areas of Asia, Africa and Central America.
The oil extracted from neem seeds has become a natural elixir for the treatment of various skin, hair and general health problems. The main biologically active compound in neem oil is azadirachtin, which is one of the most powerful natural pesticides.
The bitter-tasting oil also contains triterpenoids, including nimbidine, nimbine, nimbinine, nimbidol and tannin, as well as triglycerides, vitamin E, sterols, linoleic acid, acids healthy fats, palmitic acid, stearic acid and oleic acid.(3)
All these compounds contribute to the medicinal potential of neem oil in terms of antibacterial, antiarthritic, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, antimalarial, anti-tumor, antioxidant and hepatoprotective properties.
Premium organic neem oil works as a safe and natural addition to your skin protection arsenal. This herbal potion is an ingredient commonly used in a wide range of cosmetic and skin care products such as soaps, lotions and creams.(1)
It has all the qualities of a dermatological panacea that helps beautify and rejuvenate your skin and hair while sparing you from the toxic side effects of conventional beauty products.
Neem oil has been found to be effective against a wide range of skin problems, from everyday cosmetic problems to relatively serious skin conditions such as acne, eczema, psoriasis, ringworm and warts. Neem oil is also presented as a natural hair tonic that helps condition, repair and strengthen your hair while keeping your scalp free from dandruff and lice.
What makes this herbal hair oil a beauty steal is that it promises the same results as commercial hair products, but at a disposable price.(2) While there are many benefits to using this oil, one should also be wary of its potential side effects.
- Neem oil is not safe for oral consumption or internal use. Topical application is the recommended way to reap the medicinal benefits of this oil.
- To maintain the authentic power of neem oil, it is important to store it in a dark, cool place. Oil tends to condense in a solid state even at low room temperatures, but you can easily liquefy it by putting the bottle in hot water (below 95 ° F).
- Do not expose the oil to sunlight or high temperatures, such as placing it in boiling water while liquefying it, as this may affect the inherent effectiveness of the oil.
What makes neem oil so good for your hair and skin?
Here are some ways that neem oil can benefit your hair and skin.
1. Prevents the growth of scabies causing parasites
Topical application of neem oil can be an adjunct therapy to overcome a scabies infestation. Neem oil targets the hormonal cycle of parasites and prevents them from reproducing.
Instead of killing mites directly, neem oil limits their growth by making their eggs sterile and inhibiting their ability to feed. Repeated use leads to the complete annihilation of the parasite population over time. So, for neem oil to act against scabies, you will need to use it regularly.(4)
Neem oil also provides symptomatic relief from the swelling, itching and inflammation associated with this type of parasitic infestation.
- You can fix a therapeutic bath by adding several tablespoons of neem oil to a bathtub filled with lukewarm water.
- Let your body soak in it for 20 minutes.
- Put some adulterated neem oil on a clean cloth or gauze pad.
- Apply the oil directly to any minor or localized skin area that shows signs of scabies.
- Let the oil sit on the skin for fifteen to twenty minutes for it to have the desired effect.
- Repeat the oil application twice a day until the infestation is resolved.
2. Kills head lice
Head lice infestation may not be a serious medical problem, but it can affect your hygiene badly and can be a source of embarrassment and discomfort.
Lice are maintained by feeding on human blood several times a day, which causes excessive itching of the scalp. The constant urge to scratch this uncontrollable itch can be a nightmare to live.
Neem oil is one of the most powerful natural insecticides available due to the presence of azadirachtin. This chemical compound prevents lice from reproducing. By stopping the growth of lice, regular application of neem oil can help eliminate the infestation over time.
This is compounded by the activity of other ingredients in the oil that disrupt the lice’s swallowing system and suppress their appetite to the extent that they starve. The spiciness of its odor deters lice from crawling in your head and thus prevents an infestation from occurring in the first place.
For centuries, neem oil has been used as a traditional medicine to treat lice and nits, especially in Asia. It promises successful results minus the common side effects associated with commercially available lice repellents.
Neem oil does not require extended contact time to give positive results. In other words, it does not have to stay wet for a very long time on the scalp to pierce the protective shell of lice, exercise its disinfecting properties and kill the parasite.(5)
- Mix 1 teaspoon of neem oil with 1 tablespoon of coconut or olive oil.
- Massage this oil concoction on the scalp and hair and leave it for a minimum of 1 hour. Leaving it overnight gives better results.
- Then rinse the oil from your hair and scalp in shampoo as usual.
- Although the lice infestation will likely be resolved in about a week, you should continue to treat your head with neem oil in this way to ensure that any nits that hatch are also wiped out.
It is recommended to repeat this remedy every other day for a month or two.
3. Reduces hair loss
Neem oil is a healthy hair tonic that can improve the quality of your hair to a great extent if used regularly.
It has been credited with important hair building properties that can prevent hair loss, which was demonstrated by a 2013 study published in the African Journal of Traditional, Complementary and Alternative Medicine.(6)
A dramatic decrease in the extent of hair loss has been observed in those who used neem oil regularly as opposed to those who did not.
At the start of the study, subjects reported losing almost the same number of hairs, which was between 390 and 434 during each combing. The group of subjects who started using neem oil reported a steady decrease in hair loss from 291 to 361 after 10 days of using oil to 15 to 82 hairs by combing on the 60th day experience.
Hair loss decreased by 96.38% after 2 months of using neem oil, which justifies its use as a credible treatment against hair loss. The results of this study suggest that the oil derived from Indian lilac is nutritionally suitable for use as an ingredient in hair oil formulations.
In addition, study subjects who were treated with neem oil also reported an improvement in the texture of their hair, which was much smoother than that of the control group.
- Dilute 3 drops of neem oil by mixing it with 2 teaspoons of a bland carrier oil such as jojoba oil or grape seed oil. You can also add 3 drops of tea tree oil, lavender oil or any other essential oil of your choice.
- Treat yourself to a good head massage with this oil blend every day to rejuvenate your brittle and lifeless hair and to make your scalp healthy.
4. treats acne
Neem oil has great potential as a natural skin care agent, due to its inherent antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. This is especially true in the case of acne breakouts, which usually have a bacterial basis.
Essential fatty acids, including oleic acid, stearic acid, palmitic acid and linoleic acid, which make up neem oil, work together to eradicate the bacteria that cause acne.
At the same time, the salicylic acid present in the oil helps to reduce the redness and inflammation of the skin associated with this condition. By improving the elasticity of the skin, neem oil allows the skin to regain a healthy appearance after a rash.
Regarding the treatment of acne, neem works in the same direction as conventional drugs because of the activity of several ingredients common to each other.(7)
- Mix 6 drops of neem oil with 1 teaspoon of a carrier oil of your choice, such as hemp seed oil, sunflower oil, prickly pear oil, safflower or black cumin seed oil.
- Use this oil blend to hydrate your acne skin by applying it to your face.
- Let the oil sit on your skin for a while so that it is absorbed properly.
- Then gently rinse your face and pat it dry.
- Include this remedy in your daily skin care routine.
5. Combats premature skin aging
Enriched with essential fatty acids (EFAs), triglycerides, vitamin E and calcium, neem oil is considered one of the best protective, healing and anti-aging oils for the skin.
As we age, our skin tends to lose its elasticity due to the decrease in collagen synthesis. This is aggravated by the continuous attack of free radicals which accelerates the premature appearance of wrinkles, fine lines and other signs of skin aging.
While there is nothing you can do to go back in time, there are ways to improve your aging skin. Neem oil can delay the onset of premature skin aging by stimulating the production of collagen. Collagen is the most important skin building protein that helps your skin maintain its youthful texture, radiance and firmness.
Vitamin E is one of the most powerful natural antioxidants, and neem oil contains a lot of it. Vitamin E acts as a free radical scavenger to neutralize the activity of these unstable elements.
Free radicals cause tissue damage through oxidative stress, which is reflected in the form of dry skin, cracks, wrinkles, fine lines, and other premature signs of skin aging. Applying neem oil to the skin can hinder the oxidation of free skin cells in the hands.
In the case of very dry skin, the fatty acids and vitamin E present in neem oil penetrate deep into the pores to repair cracks from the inside.(8)
- Pour 15 g of pure neem oil, 225 g of organic jojoba oil and 4-5 drops of pure lavender essential oil in a small cosmetic container or bottle.
- Shake the container well so that all the ingredients are mixed.
- Apply this oil mixture on your skin to moisturize it from the inside.
6. Heals cuts and bruises
Neem oil is known to accelerate skin healing of a wide range of wounds, including cuts, bruises, lacerations and burns. When the surface layer of the skin is compromised, the application of this antimicrobial oil provides protective cover against bacteria and other microorganisms that can infect the wound or lesion.
This natural skin balm is enriched with benzoic acid, salicylic acid and sulfur, all of which have significant disinfectant properties. Neem oil also helps relieve pain and fever, mainly due to its salicylic acid content.
In addition to faster healing of wounds, the application of neem oil helps to minimize the risk of scarring or discoloration of the skin after healing.(8)
Clinical studies have also revealed the anti-inflammatory properties of neem oil, which add to its skin benefits. Keeping inflammation under control is essential if you want to ensure rapid and complete skin regeneration. This safe and effective herbal oil has a gentle composition for the skin, which includes glycerides or fatty acids, margosic acid, butyric acid and traces of valeric acid.(9)
- Mix neem oil with petroleum jelly or a carrier oil in a ratio of 1: 5.
- Apply the restorative preparation on the affected skin.
7. Treats warts
Warts are non-cancerous growths on the skin that result from a superficial infection caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). This virus usually enters your body through a breach in the epidermis or the upper protective layer of the skin. So any type of cut or break in your skin can pave the way for warts.
A 2010 study published in the Journal of Chemical and Pharmaceutical Research highlighted the effectiveness of neem oil as an antiviral treatment for warts. When this therapeutic potion is applied directly to the affected skin, it interacts with the infecting virus to contain its proliferation.(3)
In addition to preventing the infection from spreading, neem oil also contains pain relieving, anti-inflammatory, and anti-fever compounds that can promote holistic skin healing at the site of warts.
It does not take more than a drop of undiluted neem oil per day to make your warts disappear.
- Apply 1 drop of undiluted neem oil directly to the affected skin once a day.
- Look for any possible signs of skin irritation and, if irritation occurs, discontinue use immediately.
- If your skin responds well to the remedy, continue using it for 2-3 weeks.
8. Fights fungal infections
There is a long history of using neem oil extracts and leaves in the treatment of fungal infections such as ringworm and candidiasis. Such use has been made popular by the Indian School of Ayurvedic Medicine.
Neem oil contains several bioactive compounds which explain its medicinal properties. Nimbidine, in particular, is known to exhibit considerable antifungal activity which helps to discourage the growth of Trichophyton rubrum, the fungus responsible for ringworm.
In addition, it has been shown to be effective against several common forms of candidiasis, including yeast infection and oral thrush.(ten)
- Add 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of neem oil to 4 ounces (120 ml) of carrier oil such as jojoba or grapeseed oil, and mix well.
- Apply this solution to the affected skin twice a day.
Note: If you notice signs of skin irritation, stop using this remedy completely.
9. Prevents bacterial infections
The antibacterial prowess of neem oil has been widely used in folk medicine to keep the skin free from infection. It forms an impassable antibacterial film on the surface of the skin that refuses entry to a wide range of invasive bacteria.
The tricyclic triterpenoids, margolone, margolonone and isomargolonone present in neem oil can inhibit bacterial growth and prevent wounds from being secondarily infected. Even low concentrations of this oil can become acidic when mixed with water. As a result of this reaction, the oil acquires greater potency as an agent that kills bacteria.
Thus, neem oil has bacteriostatic and bactericidal properties, which essentially means that it slows down bacterial growth and helps kill microbes.
Neem oil can be used as a chemical-free hand sanitizer as part of your daily hygiene. To prepare a neem oil disinfectant in the form of a rinsing solution or spray:
- Dilute the neem oil by mixing it with a small amount of mild detergent and water. A 1:20 dilution ratio is recommended for making a disinfectant spray.(11)
Neem is one of the most famous herbal medicines with a versatile range of therapeutic properties. This gem of folk medicine is often called the village pharmacy for its ability to treat a number of common health problems. The oil extracted from neem seeds and leaves has also gained a lot of traction as a topical agent for promoting healthy skin and hair.
It works as a broad spectrum natural tonic that can improve the quality, texture and appearance of your skin and hair, without the side effects associated with commercial cosmetics.
As stated by Research Newspaper medicinal plants almost every person on this planet can benefit from the health promotion potential of this plant in one way or another.(12)
- Kumar VS, Navratnam V. Neem (Azadirachta indica): Prehistory with contemporary medicinal uses for humanity. Asia-Pacific Journal of Tropical Biomedicine. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2221169113601057. Posted June 27, 2013.
- Gupta A, Malviya R, Singh TP, Sharma PK. Indian medicinal plants used in hair care cosmetics: a brief review. Pharmacognosy journal. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0975357510801105. Posted June 15, 2013.
- Bhowmik D, Yadav J, Tripathi KK, Kumar KPS. Herbal remedies of Azadirachta indica and its medicinal application. Journal of Chemical and Pharmaceutical Research. http://www.jocpr.com/abstract-17.html. Posted January 30, 2010.
- Deng Y, Shi D, Yin Z, Juo G. Miticide activity of petroleum ether extract of neem oil (Azadirachta indica) and its four fractions separated by column chromatography against Sarcoptes scabiei var. cuniculi larvae in vitro. Experimental parasitology. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0014489412000458. Published February 18, 2012.
- Amornsak W, Mahannop P, Buddhirakkul P, et al. Neem oil combined 6% w / w and eucalyptus oil 16% w / w Lotion for the treatment of head lice: efficacy studies in vitro and in vivo. Journal of Pharmacy Practice and Research. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/j.2055-2335.2012.tb00167.x. Published April 13, 2015.
- Anjum F, Bukhari SA, Shahid M, Bokhari TH, Talpur MMA. Exploration of the nutraceutical potential of vegetable oil formulated from parasitic plants. African review of traditional, complementary and alternative medicines: AJTCAM. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3957245/. Posted on November 2, 2013.
- Vijayan V, Aafreen S, Reddy KR. Formulation and characterization of solid lipid nanoparticles loaded with Neem oil for the topical treatment of acne. Journal of Acute Disease. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2221618913601444. Published October 18, 2013.
- Mak-MensahÙ EE, Firempong CK. Chemical characteristics of toilet soap prepared from neem seed oil (Azadirachta indica A. Juss). Semantic researcher. https://www.semanticscholar.org/paper/7d12b2e18e0d1dd020c16658b38b093c6cc3a7c5. Published in 2011.
- Sabale P, Bhimani B, Prajapati C, Sabalea V. An overview of medicinal plants as healers. Journal of Applied Pharmaceutical Science. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/286031306. Published in November 2012.
- Kumar R, Mehta S, Pathak SR. Bioactive constituents of neem. ScienceDirect. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/B9780081020715000040. Posted on April 20, 2018.
- Rahal A, Kumar D, Malik JK. Neem extract. SpringerLink. https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-030-04624-8_3. Posted on May 22, 2019.
- Obgeuwu IP, Odeomenam VU. The growing importance of neem (Azadirachta indica A. Juss) in agriculture, industry, medicine and the environment: a review. Science Alert: journals, authors, subscribers, publishers, Alert. https://scialert.net/abstract/?doi=rjmp.2011.230.245. Published in 2011.