Antioxidant-rich neem oil is getting a lot of attention as a topical remedy, but it’s actually been used medicinally for thousands of years. Ancient healers have valued neem for its antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and nourishing properties.†
Commonly used to heal dry and damaged skin, it’s found in soaps, serums, scrubs and shampoos. But what makes this Ayurvedic herb so beneficial for your skin and how can you incorporate it into your daily skincare routine?
What is neem?
Neem is a tropical evergreen tree with the scientific name Azadirachta indica. It’s actually one of the largest and fastest growing evergreen tree, reaching approximately 40-80 feet in height. It can live up to 200 years, which is due to its drought-resistant and heat-tolerant nature.
Neem is native to Southeast Asia and Africa, and has been widely used in Ayurvedic, Chinese and Unani medicines for centuries.
Neem oil is cold-pressed from the seeds of the tree and used for medicine because of its high antioxidant, insecticidal and healing compounds. The leaves and bark of the tree are also used for their medicinal properties, including their quercetin content. Other therapeutic compounds in neem include azadirachtin and nimbolide, which have insecticidal and free radical scavenging potential.†
For thousands of years, neem has been used as an antibacterial, antifungal and anti-inflammatory agent. Neem oil for skincare is gaining popularity because of its vitamin E and essential fatty acid content. It serves as a skin protectant, moisturizer and anti-aging agent.†vitacostviot
5 Neem Oil Uses
1. Skin and scalp moisturizer
Neem oil is easily absorbed by the skin because it contains essential fatty acids oleic acid, linoleic acid, stearic acid and palmitic acid. This combination of fats leaves your skin feeling soft and supple.
Neem oil can also be used to nourish dry scalp and brittle hair. It serves as a natural dandruff fighter and can be added to hair products, like shampoos, conditioners and hair masks, to boost hair health.
2. Fights skin damage and signs of aging
Neem oil contains skin-boosting, rejuvenating and protecting ingredients. It’s rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds that help to reduce signs of skin aging and damage.
Using neem oil as a form of topical therapy can reduce redness, wrinkles and thickening. It can also reduce the oxidizing processes in the skin that lead to age spots.†
To use neem oil for a more youthful appearance, combine about half an ounce (or 15 mls) of organic neem seed oil with 8 ounces of jojoba oil and five drops of lavender essential oil. Use this serum as your face and skin moisturizer after showering.
3. Improves acne
Neem has antibacterial properties, so it’s often used to improve acne and other skin issues that are caused by microbes. Soaps and serums made with neem can be used on your face, neck, chest and back to fight acne.†
To make your own neem oil anti-acne solution, simply combine equal parts coconut oil (or olive oil) with neem oil and rub it into acne-prone areas in a circular motion. You can also use a Q-tip to apply neem oil alone to a pesky pimple.
4. Bug repellant
Neem is a natural insecticide, so it can be used to repel mosquitos without the need for chemical bug sprays. One study suggests that it may even be effective for killing hair lice.
Neem is also used to repel ticks and fleas, so it can be added to pet shampoos as a natural pest controller.
5. Promotes dental health
Neem is commonly added to natural toothpastes and mouthwashes because of its ability to promote dental health.
It has antibacterial properties that can improve gingivitis and other inflammatory conditions effecting your teeth and gums. Neem can also help to improve your breath.†
Here are a few neem products to consider:
A good-quality neem oil, like NOW Foods Neem Oil, can be combined with a carrier oil to create your own beauty serum.
This unrefined neem oil can be used to relieve dry, itchy and cracking skin. A small amount can also be applied to acne-prone areas to fight bacterial growth.
Plantlife’s neem herbal soap can be used daily in the shower to nourish and moisturize your skin.
†These statements have not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent disease.