The Benefits of Neem Oil
If you are looking for potent therapy for your scalp and hair problems, there’s neem oil. A highly revered and effective oil from the Indian subcontinent, it can remedy dandruff, eczema, psoriasis, scalp acne as well as boost hair growth.
Neem is a large evergreen tree that likes to grow in hot, arid regions. No wonder it’s found all over India and its neighboring countries. Because neem is so beneficial for the crops and humans, it’s now grown in Africa, the Middle East and Central America.
The neem leaves are small and delicate, and they grow packed in the multiple branches, which makes the tree look very dense. Neem tree provides shelter to the travelers, farmworkers and also grazing animals during a hot day. However, the most important function of neem is its fabulous healing potential. That’s why neem is also called as ‘sarva rogha nivarini’or ‘heal all tree’.
Of course, it can’t, or it won’t heal everything; neem can help with many things: rheumatism, scabies, parasites, diabetes, liver function, wound healing, skin ailments, hair growth and general health.
Every part of tree – leaves, twigs, bark, fruits – is useful, including the neem oil which is extracted from the small oval fruits of neem (that resemble green olives). Our interest in this article is the neem oil as it’s fantastic for hair and scalp. Let’s find out what it has to offer.
6 BENEFITS OF NEEM OIL FOR HAIR AND SCALP
With its ability to fight bacteria, fungus, irritation and itching, neem oil is a great remedy for many scalp conditions. Plus, it can also sort hair loss and promote growth.
- Neem Oil Boosts Hair Growth
The oil works multiple ways to save your hair. Firstly, by making the scalp healthy, neem oil helps hair follicles to flourish and thrive without any hindrance from microbes. Also, the yellowish-brown oil is super-rich in antioxidants which protect hair from damage and thinning.
A regular massage with the neem oil will grow hair thicker, stronger and denser.
How to use neem oil for hair growth, you need:
- ½ teaspoon neem oil
- 3 tablespoons coconut oil
- 10 drops lavender essential oil (optional)
Place neem and coconut oil in a bowl and mix well and use. You can also add lavender essential oil for its hair growth-enhancing effects. Massage the neem tonic into your scalp and hair. Let it sit for an hour and wash out with homemade or natural shampoo.
- Neem Oil Rids the Scalp of Itchy, Flaky Dandruff
Neem oil is effective against several human fungi including candida, which is one of the major causes of dandruff. Also, when you have dandruff there is some underlying inflammation going on that makes the scalp red and irritated.
The star ingredient of neem oil is nimbidin – with antifungal, anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties. It’s a perfect formula to relieve dandruff and soothe the itchy scalp. The fungus gets kicked out of the scalp, and the redness and irritation are pacified with the use of neem oil.
To use neem oil for dandruff, you need:
- ½ teaspoon neem oil
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
Mix all the ingredients and massage into your scalp and hair. Let it sit for an hour or so and wash it out.
- Neem oil Brings Relief from Eczema
Eczema skin looks dry, irritated and crusty, and sometimes oozes fluid. It’s not easy to make it go away and can linger for months or even years.
Neem oil is a great healer for the skin. Its anti-inflammatory properties calm and soothe the skin, while its anti-histaminic effects reduce the allergic reaction that may be triggering eczema.
There’s more, neem oil moisturizes and repairs the dry, cracked skin, bringing it back to being healthy and smooth again.
To use neem oil for eczema, you need:
- ½ teaspoon neem oil
- 3 tablespoons almond oil
In a bowl, mix neem oil with almond oil. To use, apply a small amount to the eczema patches on your scalp or skin. Massage gently until the oil gets absorbed and leave it on.
- Neem Oil can help Reduce Psoriasis
Ayurveda, the ancient Indian medicinal system, recommends the use of neem to reduce the scales and redness of psoriasis skin. Also, there’s a lot of anecdotal reports to suggest the usefulness of this herbal oil for psoriasis.
Moreover, because of its anti-microbial properties, neem oil acts as a skin guard and protects the cracked or open skin from secondary infection.
You can use neem oil same way as for eczema (see above), or try rubbing a few drops of neem oil neat on the skin.
- Neem Oil Heals Acne or Pimples
It doesn’t matter where the acne is – scalp or face or body – neem oil will shrink those pesky breakouts and help you get smooth, clear skin. All thanks to its astringent and anti-inflammatory effects.
Plus, neem oil enhances the natural immunity and health of your skin and helps prevent future breakouts – which is fab.
To use neem oil for acne, you need
- ¼ teaspoon neem oil
- 1 teaspoon fullers earth or bentonite clay (optional)
You can simply apply neem oil on acne spot and leave on do its work. Or you can apply neem oil with the clay of your choice – fullers or bentonite. Place neem oil and clay in a bowl and add little water to form a smooth paste. Apply on the pimples and leave it to dry. Wash with plain water.
- Neem Oil Removes Lice
Neem oil is pretty lethal for the head lice. Its insecticidal qualities disrupt the growth, feeding and reproduction of the lice. So, it will eventually kill them. And in the process of getting rid of lice, neem oil will benefit your hair by making it soft and smooth, and your scalp healthy and nourished.
To use neem oil for lice, you need
- 1 teaspoon neem oil
- 3 tablespoons coconut oil
- 20 drop tea tree essential oil (optional)
Put neem oil and coconut oil in a bowl and mix well. You can also add tea tree essential oil to make the mixture more potent – tea tree has lice killing properties. Massage into your scalp and hair and let it sit for a couple of hours before washing it out. Repeat every other day until the lice is gone.
What Do I do About the Smell of Neem oil?
Neem has a strong, pungent odor. It’s not the best of the smells, but as we saw above, neem oil is super beneficial for hair and scalp so you can ignore the smell, or you can mask it by mixing it with a carrier oil and essential oils.
How to Use Neem Oil in General?
When using neem oil, dilute it with base oils like olive, avocado, coconut oil, or jojoba oil. You can use between 10% to 20% neem oil in a blend. You can also add a few drops of lavender or ylang ylang or any other essential oil to mask the smell, as well as enhance its effects.
Buying Neem Oil
Many sellers add synthetic fragrances to neem oil to make it smell better. But such oil won’t be very effective, and it may cause more harm than good.
Always buy cold-pressed, unrefined oil neem oil that’s in its pure state. Neem oil is yellowish-brown in color, and it gets solid in cold weather (just like coconut oil).
Side effects and cautions
It’s not common to have neem allergies. However, if you have never applied neem oil, do a patch test on your forearm to make sure you don’t react. Also, if you are pregnant, lactating or have a medical condition, check with your medical practitioner before using neem oil.