What if you could treat your acne, improve your skin tone and reduce your wrinkles, all with one ingredient? Yes, the highly potent natural skin enhancer, neem oil, can do all that and more.
But before you include this magic ingredient in your regular beauty regime, know how to use it right to yield the desired results. Read on to know the benefits of neem oil in detail and which concoctions can treat your skin concerns best.
Our Ayurvedic Doctor Says
“Neem oil, when used externally, works very well for bacterial acne. For fungal infections, combining neem with a stronger antifungal agent like tea tree oil, can make the treatment bulletproof.”
Dr. Zeel Gandhi (Bachelor Of Ayurveda, Medicine & Surgery), Chief Ayurvedic Doctor, Vedix
What Is Neem Oil?
Neem oil  is the oil extracted by cold pressing neem seeds. The extracted oil is then purified through a process of distillation and is used in soaps, cosmetics and skincare products. Also referred to as ‘Arishtha’ in Ayurvedic texts, neem is considered to be a reliever of all ailments. The US National Academy of Sciences published an article on the health benefits of neem, thus giving this ancient Indian medicinal plant worldwide acknowledgment.
Neem has been used since ancient times in traditional medicine to treat various skin diseases. To mention a few, ‘vranahara’ (wound-healing), ‘varnya’ (complexion-enhancing), ‘pitta- kaphahara’ (balances pitta and kapha doshas) and ‘kushtahara’ (treats skin diseases) are amongst the several benefits of this herb as mentioned in the Vedic texts.
Dr. Zeel, Chief Ayurvedic Doctor at Vedix says that, “Neem oil, when used externally, works very well for bacterial acne. For fungal infections combining neem with a stronger antifungal agent like tea tree oil, can make the treatment bulletproof. When used internally, neem purifies blood, and increases the skin’s innate immunity against various pathogens.” With a plethora of benefits, neem oil has gained commercial importance and is widely used in pharmaceuticals, skincare and in pesticides.
Benefits Of Neem Oil For Skin
1. Soothes Skin Irritations
Ayurveda lists ‘sheeta’ (cooling) as one of neem oil’s main properties. This cooling nature of neem makes it a great remedy for pruritus (itchy skin), skin allergies and sunburns. It relaxes the skin and its histamine-inhibiting abilities help soothe skin irritations.
2. Heals Skin Infections
Due to antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal properties, neem oil is used in both contemporary medicine and in Ayurveda to cure skin infections such as moles, warts, ringworm, athlete’s foot and various bacterial skin infections.
3. Benefits Oily Skin
According to Ayurveda, oily skin is a result of excess kapha in the body. Neem oil’s ‘Kaphahara’ (kapha-balancing) properties prevent excess sebum secretions and help maintain your skin’s oil balance.
4. Prevents Acne
When excess oil, dead skin cells and bacteria clog your skin pores, it can lead to an acne breakout. Neem oil is an excellent skin detoxifier. It removes harmful ama toxins from the blood and calms the vitiated rakta, kapha and pitta doshas which are considered possible causes for ‘Yuvana Pidakas’ or acne. Neem oil’s antibacterial properties prevent further bacterial proliferation on your skin and accelerate healing.
5. Anti-Aging Benefits
Neem oil has powerful antioxidant properties that neutralize free radicals and prevent premature skin aging caused by oxidative stress. It is believed to aid collagen production and may reduce the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines.
6. Aids Wound Healing
Neem oil is ‘vranahara’ in nature, meaning it cleanses and heals wounds. According to a study, the application of neem oil on various pediatric burns  showed quick wound healing and reduction of pain without any side effects.
7. Prevents Photodamage
Topical application of neem oil can fortify your skin against sun damage. Its powerful healing and antioxidant  properties help repair skin and its anti-inflammatory abilities reduce skin redness.
8. Anti-Cancer Properties
Changes in certain genetic pathways can lead to cancerous growth in the body. Neem oil is known to exhibit anti-cancer  properties due to its high flavonoid content. It prevents the growth of malignant cells by regulating various cancer signaling pathways. This anti-proliferative effect can be due to nimbolide, a triterpene present in neem.
9. Reduces Skin Inflammation
Neem oil acts as an anti-inflammatory  agent by regulating certain inflammatory enzymes in the body. Hence, it is used to treat chronic inflammatory skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis. It may also heal minor skin allergies and insect bites.
10. Reduces Hyperpigmentation
Neem oil is used in various skin care and cosmetic products for its ‘varnya’  or skin tone enhancing properties. Due to the presence of phenolic compounds and its natural tyrosinase inhibiting properties, neem oil reduces the appearance of scars, blemishes, dark circles and improves your overall skin complexion.
According to a clinical trial, scalp wounds with exposed bone in patients showed quick recovery within 4 weeks of regular application of neem oil without any further complications.
How To Use Neem Oil On Your Skin?
For first-time users of neem oil, remember to purchase it from an Ayurvedic store. Make sure it is cold-pressed and purified. Though neem oil is generally safe for skin, it is advisable to do a patch test to check for skin sensitivity.
1. How To Use Neem Oil For Skin Pigmentation
Take neem oil and coconut oil in equal parts. Blend sandalwood, kesar and yastimadhu in equal parts and add the oils. Mix well and apply on your face and skin which has an uneven tone. Wash off after half an hour.
2. How To Use Neem Oil For Acne-Prone Skin
Neem oil is a potent therapy for acne. You can use pure, undiluted neem oil as a spot treatment on your pimples. Alternatively, prepare an anti-acne lepa by blending raw turmeric and yastimadhu together. Add neem oil and coconut oil in equal parts to it. Mix well and apply on the acne-affected areas. Wash off with lukewarm water after 30 minutes.
3. How To Use Neem Oil For Skin Fungus
For skin fungus, you can use diluted neem oil. Clean the area and apply the oil on the affected skin. Leave it on for 20 to 30 minutes. Wash off with lukewarm water.
4. How To Use Neem Oil For Skin Infection
Skin infections can be treated by adding a few drops of neem oil to a mix of triphala, haridra, chitrakmool and guggulu. Apply this paste on the infected area and wash off after 20 minutes.
Consult your Ayurvedic doctor immediately if your skin infection does not improve or if the condition gets further aggravated.
Do’s And Don’ts Of Using Neem Oil On Skin
- Mix neem oil with a carrier oil or with aloe vera gel before applying on skin.
- Do a patch test before applying for the first time.
- Do clean your face before applying the oil for best results.
- Don’t use undiluted neem oil directly on skin for normal skincare.
- Don’t leave neem oil overnight. Wash off after 30 minutes of application.
- Don’t consume neem oil without consulting your doctor.
Vedix Tip: Add a few drops of neem oil to water and use it to cleanse your face as part of your daily skincare routine. This will help regulate production and keep acne issues at bay.
What Are The Possible Side Effects Of Neem Leaves?
Though neem oil is a safe natural ingredient, its highly potent nature may cause skin irritations in sensitive skin. Redness or rashes can be a sign of an allergic reaction to the oil. Stop using and wash the area with water if you notice such reactions. Neem oil is quite strong and not suitable for children.
Frequently Asked Questions On Neem Oil
1. What Does Neem Oil Do For Your Skin?
Neem oil is rich in flavonoids, essential fatty acids, antioxidants and antimicrobial compounds. All of this makes neem oil a potent remedy for various skin diseases. It also protects your skin against environmental damages, slows down skin aging and improves your skin tone.
2. Can I Apply Neem Oil Directly On Skin?
Neem oil must be diluted with a carrier oil/ water/ aloe vera gel and applied on skin. This prevents unwanted skin sensitivity.
3. Can You Leave Neem Oil On Overnight?
Pure neem oil is a strong natural skin care ingredient with potential medicinal values. Applying it for a maximum period of 30 minutes is usually safe for regular use. Overnight applications are generally not advised.
The Last Word
Amongst the various medicinal herbs used in Ayurvedic treatments, neem oil has gained popularity for its ease of availability and plethora of skin benefits. Every other beauty product lists this ingredient for its holistic approach to skin improvement. So consult your Ayurvedic doctor to know your skin type and the best way to use this miracle oil in your daily beauty regime for problem-free, youthful, glowing skin.Know Your Dosha Now
1. Neem: A Tree For Solving Global Problems
2. An Experience With Paediatric Burn Wounds Treated With A Plant-Derived Wound Therapeutic, 2013 Dec
3. Therapeutics Role Of Azadirachta Indica (Neem) And Their Active Constituents In Diseases Prevention And Treatment, 2016 Mar
4. Neem Components As Potential Agents For Cancer Prevention And Treatment, 2014 Jul
5. Anti-Inflammatory, Pro-Apoptotic, And Anti-Proliferative Effects Of A Methanolic Neem (Azadirachta Indica) Leaf Extract Are Mediated Via Modulation Of The Nuclear Factor-KB Pathway, 2011 May
6. Critical Review Of Ayurvedic Varnya Herbs And Their Tyrosinase Inhibition Effect, 2015 Jul-Sep
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