What is Neem Oil?
Neem oil is extracted from the seeds of neem tree or Indian lilac, which is a native of Indian subcontinent. The oil is widely used in Indian traditional medicine to treat several conditions. The ingredients in neem oil include – Vitamin E, Limonoids, Fatty Acids, Antioxidants, Calcium, and Triglycerides that are extremely beneficial to our skin and hair. Hence, it is also used in various beauty products ranging from cosmetics, body lotions, skin creams and hair products.
Neem oil is a powerful topical oil and has a cooling effect on inflammatory skin conditions. Pure neem oil is quite strong and hence it is usually diluted with a carrier oil like almond, jojoba or sesame oils. According to cosmetic chemists and dermatologists, neem oil is generally safe for all kinds of skin. However, you need to pay attention to its concentration. Before trying a new product, spot-test, just to be safe.
Neem oil is an all-natural oil and is relatively inexpensive. It is easy to use and blends easily into the skin.
5 Best Neem Oil Brands in India
1. Hill Dews Neem Oil
The cold-pressed and unrefined HillDews Neem is the oil is extracted from neem seed kernel. The cold press method used to extract the oil helps to retain all the nutrients in it. The antioxidants in neem oil protect the skin from environmental damage. The high vitamin and essential fatty acids content will also help rejuvenate your skin. The price of this neem oil is Rs. 255 and is available on Amazon.
2. Khadi Herbal Pure Neem Oil
The antifungal Neem Oil from Khadi is pure and natural. The antibacterial properties of neem oil help in healing psoriasis, pimples, scars and eczema. It also helps remove dryness and moisturizes the skin. The cost of 210ml oil is Rs. 131 and is available on khadipure.com
3. Morpheme Remedies Organic Neem Oil
Neem oil from Morpheme Remedies is an effective solution for damaged hair and skin. This herbal moisturizing oil gives well-toned skin by eliminating freckles and cracks. Its anti-fungal properties make it a great oil for skin infections. The cost of 120 ml neem oil is Rs. 248 and is available on Flipkart.
4. Kama Ayurveda Organic Neem Oil
Kama Ayurveda is a cold-pressed and 100% pure neem oil extracted from organic neem seeds. The oil is beneficial for treating acne and hyperpigmentation. It moisturizes and heals skin, stimulates hair growth, relieves dandruff and heals abrasions and burns. For sensitive skin dilute it with organic sesame oil or sweet almond oil. The product is available on kamaayurveda.com. The cost of 50 ml neem oil is Rs. 315.
5. Inatur Neem Ayurvedic Oil
The active ingredients in this Ayurvedic oil helps in addressing skin concerns such as acne and pimples, damaged skin, signs of ageing, inflamed skin, and loss of elasticity. This non-greasy formula is easily absorbed by the skin giving a smooth and toned skin tone. Available on nykaa.com, the cost of 200 ml is Rs. 638.
Top Neem Oil Uses for Skin and How to Use the Oil
1. Removes Dryness and Moisturizes Skin
Neem oil is rich in Linoleic Acids or Omega 6 and Vitamin E. These components help in removing the dryness of the skin by penetrating the outer skin layer. It restores the protective skin barrier and avoids moisture loss. It also helps in healing cracks that occur due to severe dryness.
How to UseYou will need 1 tbsp of coconut oil and 3 to 4 drops of neem oil.
- Combine together neem oil and coconut oil.
- Apply on the skin and leave overnight.
- Wash off the next day.
Alternatively, you can use a few drops of neem oil in a handful of lotion and rub it on your skin to remove dryness.
2. Combats Wrinkles
Not many know that neem oil is an excellent wrinkle-fighter! The high essential fatty acids in neem oil penetrate deep into the skin layers and help in increasing elasticity and cell turnover. Also, the rich vitamin E in the oil, which is also an effective antioxidant helps prevent free radical damage. The triglycerides in the oil is known for its moisturizing properties. Research also shows that it helps stimulate collagen production thereby improving skin elasticity. This helps to retain the youthful look of your skin. Get anti-ageing benefits by just applying neem oil topically.
How to use –Do a patch test before using neem oil. To prepare the DIY anti-wrinkle cream, you will need it.
- Organic Jojoba Oil – 225 g
- Pure Neem Oil – 15 g
- Pure Lavender Essential oil – 4 to 5 drops
- Directions – Mix all the above ingredients and store it in a small glass container. Apply as a moisturizer to enjoy its anti-ageing benefits.
3. Soothes Itchy and Inflamed Skin
Neem oil is used topically to soothe several skin conditions like inflammation caused due to certain ailments like rheumatic disorders. It also eliminates muscle and joint pain. It is also effective for dry and scaly skin disorders like Dermatitis, Psoriasis and Eczema. Neem oil helps relieve symptoms of eczema. It heals abrasions and reduces inflammation giving a soothing relief to eczema sufferers.
Neem is an excellent emollient and is packed with anti-inflammatory properties as well. Quercetin is the anti-inflammatory compound found in neem-oil, which is also an antihistamine. This compound supports the ability of the body to respond to inflammation by impeding the production and release of histamine.
How to Use?
- Shea Butter – 2 tbsp
- Almond Oil – 1 Tbsp
- Beeswax – 1 Tbsp
- Vitamin E Capsules – 1
- Tea Tree Oil – 5 Drops
- Lavender Essential Oil – 5 Drops
- Melt beeswax, and shea butter in a double boiler. Add almond oil to it.
- Combine this with tea tree, lavender and neem oils. Transfer to a glass container.
- Refrigerate until it sets.
- Scoop a small amount of balm. Apply to the affected area. Reapply as and when required.
This anti-inflammatory property of the balm helps in relieving itchiness caused due to eczema. Avoid applying neem oil directly on the skin.
4. Reduces Hyperpigmentation
Neem oil is an ultimate saviour for hyperpigmentation. Hyperpigmentation occurs due to the overproduction of melanin. The carotenoids found in neem oil is helpful in brightening spots of hyperpigmentation. It balances out the secretion of melanin and lightens up dark spots. Neem oil is an effective remedy for spot treatment.
How to Use
- Lightly dab neem oil on the dark spots using a cotton ball or cotton swab. Let it sit for 20 minutes.
- Rinse off with warm water.
- Do this every day until desired results are achieved.
5. Fights Acne
Neem oil contains essential fatty acids such as oleic acid, palmitic acid, linoleic acid and stearic acid. It also has rich antimicrobial compounds and a high level of antioxidants like Vitamin E and Carotenoids. It also has anti-inflammatory compounds such as quercetin and nimbidin. All these components make neem oil an excellent ingredient to combat acne.
Ayurvedic Medicine uses neem oil particularly as an antidote to acne. Neem oil also contains substances that help reduce redness and inflammation associated with acne and kills the acne-causing bacteria. Although it may not treat acne caused due to hormonal factors, neem oil is effective in combatting acne caused due to other reasons. It keeps your skin free from pimple-causing bacteria.
6. Treats Blackheads and Scars
Acne scars are caused when the normal tissues are destroyed and, in its place, fibrous skin tissue is formed. If more such tissues are formed, it can lead to hypertrophic scars while too little tissues cause depression on the skin, which is also known as an atrophic scar. Neem oil is an effective herbal remedy one can think of to get rid of such scars.
The anti-inflammatory properties of neem oil help treat acne as well as the scars left behind. The other ingredients present in neem oil like Vitamin E and omega fatty acids help reduce the appearance of acne scars. Vitamin E along with triglycerides keeps your skin moisturized and quickens skin healing, thus fading the scars.
Neem oil penetrates deep into the skin and repairs it. This will not only help reduce scars but also stimulates collagen production, which improves the elasticity of the skin. Avoid using neem oil for pimples and acne, if you have oily skin.
Blackheads are one of the common problems that many of us face. Regular application of diluted neem oil on the affected area will not only remove blackheads but will also prevent its appearance again.
7. For Chronic Skin Conditions
Neem Oil contains components that eliminate and prevents any fungal infections. It not only soothes irritation but also gets rid of the bacteria causing the infection. Hence, neem oil is widely used to calm ailments such as Athlete’s Foot, Cold Sores, Nail Fungus and Ring Worm. It eliminates the parasites living on the skin and effectively treats these ailments.
How to Use?
- For Nail Fungus – The anti-fungal property of neem is effective in combating various fungal micro-organisms. Research has shown that neem oil is quite effective against various types of fungi. Mix together 75 oz. of Neem carrier oil with 14 drops of manuka essential oil and 6 drops each of lavender essential oil, tea tree oil, oregano essential oil and peppermint essential oil. Transfer into a glass container. Shake well before each use. Apply the mixture on the affected toenail in the morning and night. Continue for a few weeks until the fungus has cleared. Once the area is fungus-free use cream or salve that contains neem oil.
- Athlete’s Foot – Apply neem oil directly on the area and rub into the skin. Allow the oil to soak in. This must be done at least twice or thrice a day. Continue this treatment until the skin is completely healed. Keep your feet dry always and refrain from walking barefoot, especially in public areas to prevent Athlete’s Foot.
- Scabies – This is a skin infection caused due to the microscopic mite Sarcoptes scabiei, which is characterized by intense itching. The active components of neem have shown to destroy scabies. Soaking in bathwater mixed with a few drops of neem oil is effective in removing skin parasites. Alternatively, neem oil can be directly dabbed on the area affected by scabies and allow it to sit for 15 minutes. This will reduce inflammation and itching.
8. Treats Minor Wounds
Neem oil is an excellent wound healer that accelerates the healing process by rapidly creating collagen fibres that close the affected area.
The compounds in neem oil are known to promote growth in connective tissues and blood vessels that enhances wound healing. Neem oil reduces inflammation and heals the wound quickly by increasing blood flow to the wounded area. It stimulates collagen production that firms and strengthens the skin.
Neem is rich in essential fatty acids and also contains butyric acid, glycerides, margosic acid and trace of valeric acid. The other active components in neem oil include Nimbidal, Nimbin, Salanin, Gedunin, Azadirone and Azadirachtin. All these elements help in wound healing. Also, the skin retains its suppleness during the healing process. In addition, the anti-microbial property of neem helps in avoiding secondary infections.
Research has shown that neem extracts have similar wound healing capacity as povidone-iodine.
How to Use Neem Oil for Minor Burns
- Cool the burn by holding the area under cold water. Allow airing dry. If blisters develop avoid breaking them, as it can cause infection.
- Apply a few drops of neem oil on the burned area and gently spread.
- Repeat this process 2 to 3 times a day. After two days, apply twice a day until the skin heals.
The high concentrations of omega-9 and omega-6 fatty acids promote the formation of new skin cells. It also prevents infection and minimizes scar formation. It controls itching that usually occurs during the healing process due to its antihistamine properties.
Tips to Pick the Best Neem Oil
There are various types of neem oils available these days. Here are a few tips to consider if you want to buy a neem oil product.
- Avoid Cheap Products Available in Local Market – Sometimes, we purchase products based on hearsay. If someone from your friend circle or family member recommends a local shop then we purchase it without thinking much. Each one has a different skin type and what suits someone may not suit you so choose a product that is best for your skin and avoid hearsay.
- Manufacturer’s Website – Visit the manufacturer’s website to know the ingredients and raw material used in the product. Also, check the procedure used to extract neem oil. Is it cold-pressed, organic or anhydrous extraction?
- Don’t Yield in to Advertisements – Usually, cosmetic companies spend a lot on advertisements and many Bollywood stars are the brand ambassadors of these products, who have huge and blind fan following. Don’t buy something just because your favourite star is endorsing it. Check the ingredient list and whether it is good for your skin.
- Your Skin Type – Neem Oil are processed differently and use various base materials. So, the right neem oil will be one that suits your skin type. Do patch test before using it and if there is itching or irritation then avoid using it.
Neem oil has a special place in beauty regimes because of its numerous benefits for face, body, and hair. It’s so simple to use neem oil to treat common skin problems and hair problems. Be it dandruff, dryness, itchiness, wrinkles, pigmentation or premature graying, you can turn to neem oil to get relief.