The Benefits Of Neem For Your Skin
A true “wonderleaf” we should be including in our beauty routines. - Neem (Azadirachta Indica). Not many people have heard of neem, let alone of the incredible benefits it can provide for our health and our skin! It is a tree, native to India and the Indian subcontinent, used by locals for thousands of years for both its medicinal and environmental uses. It has been known help heal and rejuvenate skin, strengthen gums and teeth, and fight off insects… So why are most of Western world, and of course, skincare experts not yet shining the spotlight on this miraculous nature-derived skincare solution?
Years of use and modern studies have proven its virtues time and time again, and its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties put various other known “natural skin solutions” to shame!
Here Are 5 Reasons You Should Add Neem to Your Skincare Routine
1. It Can Help Prevent Skin Infections and Reduce Skin Inflammations.
Thanks to its highly anti-inflammatory, antifungal and anti-parasitic, properties, neem has been proven to prevent and help alleviate certain skin infections. Applying a neem paste or oil to a cut can help prevent an infection as well as speed-up the healing process. This thanks to its contents of nimbidin, nimbin and quercetin, all found in this amazing plant.
2. It Provides Support for Dry Skin As Well As Skins Prone To Eczema.
Neem, in its oil form, is a highly effective skin moisturizer. Dry and flaky skin is usually a result of the dermis unable to retain enough moisture. What often happens is, the pores, and small capillaries in the skin, can sometimes become clogged thereby depriving the skin of much needed oxygen and nutrients. Neem acts in restoring the skin’s natural elasticity, thanks to its rich content of Vitamin E, natural emollients and essential fatty acids.
3. It Helps Prevent and Clear Acne Prone Skin
Traditionally, its most common use was for a myriad of skin ailments, and still today it is highly recommended to help relieve symptoms of eczema due to skin dryness and inflammation. It is also an excellent solution for skins prone to acne, for the very same reasons it restores moisture to the skin and helps prevent and tame inflammations. Its antibacterial virtues will do the rest! Thanks to its analgesic properties, applying a neem product to the skin during outbreaks can also help minimize pain associated with more severe outbreaks. Acne can however be quite serious and is often not only considered a skin ailment, but can also be due to hormonal imbalances. This being said, neem can certainly help symptoms of acne but may not cure it all together.
4. It Can Help Prevent and Reduce the Appearance of Blackheads, As Well As Minimize Large Pores.
Neem has the "miraculous" ability of balancing sebum, and in doing so can prevent the formation of blackheads, usually associated with excessive sebum in the skin. Thanks to this, and its astringent qualities, neem will also help reduce the appearance of larger pores in the skin
5. It Helps Prevent and Minimize Signs of Aging
Thanks to its highly moisturizing and antioxidant properties. neem has the ability to help fight free radicals responsible for signs of premature aging. The cells in our skin begin to age as they accumulate free radical damage over time, which is usually associated with oxidative damage. The antioxidants contained in the neem plant limit oxidative damage to the cells by protecting them from free radicals responsible for premature aging of the cells. Thanks to its essential fatty acids and vitamin E content neem oil has been shown to penetrate quite deeply into the skin, and “heal’ tiny cracks caused by skin dryness.
In addition, as we age, the collagen in our skin begins to diminish, and we can see signs of this as our skin becomes more “droopy”, less elastic, and rougher to the touch. Neem can also stimulate the production of collagen in the skin and thereby improve elasticity and help reduce signs of aging.
6. An Extra Benefit!
Yes, this is an article about skincare, but I just have to share this additional benefit with you!
As with our skincare needs, our scalps and hair also need great care in order to remain healthy. The antibacterial, antiseptic, and moisturizing benefits of neem (particularly in its soap or oil form) are an excellent solution for individuals suffering from scalp and hair conditions. Not only will neem help in the fight against stubborn dandruff, but its natural contents of vitamin E and essential fatty acids will supply your scalp with the nutrients it needs to remain healthy through time. Neem can also be found in powdered form, which is most likely an optimal option to create a hair and scalp mask with.
Where to Find Neem
You will find several products with neem as an ingredient, and just as you would do with any product you are applying on our skin, do your homework and read labels. You will want to make sure you are using a premium quality unadulterated product on your skin, with an effective concentration of neem. Many products on the market today indicate neem as an ingredient but in truth, contain such a low percentage in their formulations that they end up being ineffective. Recommended use in skincare is anywhere between 0.5-5% concentration, but you will almost never find the percentage indicated on the labels. Neem powder or dried neem leaves can be found online, as well as in most stores selling natural products. Neem in both these forms can be used to make homemade recipes to apply to skin and hair.
Neem oil can be quite strong in its purest form so it is not recommended to use on skin undiluted. Also, due to its nimbidin contents, it will have a slightly “sulfuric” scent, so combining it with other vegetable oils, or perhaps a moisturizing cream you are already using can be a good option.
Perhaps, after reading this article, you can better understand why neem is also known as “the wonderleaf”. Its virtues can be overwhelming because, truly, it is an extremely versatile plant. Traditionally used in a variety of ways to benefit health and the environment, this nature-derived gift has been resurfacing in the past years. Whether you are searching for a solution to help relieve a specific skin ailment, or wanting an alternative, natural method to anti-aging and wrinkles, the neem plant certainly holds the answers for your unique needs.
Barbara Colacci is co-founder of Ingenium Naturals, a Canadian based wellness and skincare company. She is a mother of 2 adolescents, a student of aromatherapy and yoga, as well as an entrepreneur at heart! She is continuously searching for innovative skincare and wellness solutions to share with others, and inspire the people around her to make better health choices in their daily lives. Barbara also shares her passions, and her trials and errors, on her personal blog. Reach out, she would love to hear from you.